The World Humanitarian Day celebrated on August 19 honours humanitarians and workers all over the world. The day was established by the United Nations in 2009, this day commemorates the anniversary of the bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Iraq. Twenty-two people lost their lives, including the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Humanitarian aid workers provide life-saving assistance to suffering people all over the world. Those workers who live in conflict zones or in areas devastated by natural disasters are especially vulnerable. Anyone and everyone can be a humanitarian. World Humanitarian Day recognizes the efforts of aid workers who put their lives on the line to help affected people during times of global crisis.
In 2009, the United Nations General Assembly officially initiated the first World Humanitarian Day. It honors the brave relief workers who selflessly serve every day to make the world a better place for the underprivileged and those whose homes and livelihoods are threatened by war.
What does a humanitarian do?
A humanitarian engages actively in promoting social reforms and human welfare and holds no prejudice with human suffering on grounds of religion, sexual orientation, gender, or territory.
How to observe World Humanitarian Day
Donate to a humanitarian organization: There are humanitarian organizations all over the world in need of resources. If you are able to donate your time to one of these organizations, that’s great.
If you can’t, a monetary donation would go a long way in supplementing workers’ resources to help suffering communities. Search online for organizations doing humanitarian work, or go directly to the UN’s World Humanitarian Day website for resources to get you started.
Do some humanitarian work in your community: The point of humanitarian aid is to alleviate people’s suffering and maintain human dignity. Try volunteering at a homeless shelter, a nursing home, a hospital, or a place that serves underprivileged children.
Contact your elected leaders: Call, email, or send a tweet to let your elected leaders know how important humanitarian crises are to you. Ask them to commit to any number of actions to help bolster humanitarian causes in the area that are near and dear to your heart.
Why Humanitarian Day is important?
It celebrates unsung heroes: Humanitarian aid workers are some of the most heroic and honorable people alive, putting themselves in harm’s way by traveling to conflict zones and disaster areas to help alleviate the suffering of strangers.
Despite this great work, these workers are rarely acknowledged publicly, sometimes for their own safety. World Humanitarian Day is a sobering reminder of how many lives have been lost in the name of this valiant cause, as well as a celebration of the workers currently doing this necessary but often, dangerous work.
It highlights the need for humanitarian work: As an occupation, “humanitarian aid worker” isn’t an extremely popular profession. Simply put, there can never be enough humanitarian aid workers out there.
Every year, millions of people need humanitarian assistance as a result of disasters both natural and man-made. World Humanitarian Day reminds us of the increasing need for humanitarian workers who can give selflessly of their time.
International cooperation is essential to maintaining the safety of humanitarian aid workers while enabling them to help those who suffer.