On September 5, we celebrate the International Day of Charity. Charity plays a significant role in social bonding and the creation of inclusive and resilient societies (SDG 17). It alleviates humanitarian crises, improves public services in health care, education, and housing, while advancing culture, science, and even sports. This day also commemorates the passing away of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for her work in alleviating and overcoming poverty. She founded the order of Missionaries of Charity in Kolkota, India, where it became known for its work in supporting the poor, orphaned, and sick. In fact, she is regarded as one of the 20th Century’s greatest humanitarians.
The UN suggested these following ways to achieve peace and charity:
- Raise awareness about how difficult challenges are, and push for collective action in global issues.
- Enhance trust among diverse groups & build social capital.
- Eliminate societal & cultural barriers and create cohesion.
- Build resilience through community action, and enhance the sense of responsibility for one’s community.
This day is closely tied with Sustainable Development Goal 1 on no poverty. Princess Nisreen, the executive director of RASIT, had a meaningful encounter with this when she was at a Lebanese restaurant with friends. At the restaurant, they ordered so much food that a lot of it was untouched. The Princess decided to package the untouched food and give it to the homeless. She provided them with food they cannot afford or even dream of having for a few days. As seen, the actions for charity can be big and small.
There are so many charities around the world, including Rotary Foundation, Natural Resources Defense Council, United Nations Foundation, Operation Smile, Caring Voice Coalition, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, AmeriCares, Samaritan’s Purse, and Direct Relief. Look into the charities near you and think about how you can contribute to their efforts. This can be through fundraising, supporting a refugee, volunteering at a food bank and donating foods, or holding a clothing and book drive.
What are some ways you can play a part in this movement? Set a few monthly and yearly goals and play your part in charity volunteerism or philanthropic work!
Always remember, as Mother Teresa said,