World Humanitarian Day 2023: Celebrate Real Heroes

6 minute read
World Humanitarian Day

Love, humanity and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. A kind word, a helpful hand and a shoulder to rely on is all one needs in tough times. Dedicating your entire life to the welfare of those in tough situations takes courage and genuine altruism, that is why humanitarians are called true heroes! They risk their lives for the betterment of suffering men, women and children across the globe. Aid workers and social workers’ relentless efforts and humanitarian gestures are honoured every year by the United Nations General Assembly on 19th August. These workers are an inspiration and hope to thousands of people who suffer due to man-made conflicts. Join us to honour these heroes and learn from these leaders on World Humanitarian Day!

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YouTube: United Nations

What is World Humanitarian Day?

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”

World Humanitarian Day

World Humanitarian Day is celebrated every year on 19 August to pay tribute to the fearless humanitarian workers that were killed and injured in the course of their work. The day honours all aid and health workers who continue to provide life-saving support and protection to people most in need. The day was established in 2009, years after the bombing of Sergio Vieira de Mello, a humanitarian worker in Iraq in 2003 to honor his tireless efforts to help the Iraqi people in crisis. 

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History of World Humanitarian Day

Source: Pinterest

“To say that on a daily basis, you can make a difference, well, you can. One act of kindness a day can do it.”

Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty. This day was designated in memory of the 19 August 2003 bomb attack on the Canal Hotel in Baghdad, Iraq, that killed 22 people, including the chief humanitarian in Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello. In 2009, the UN General Assembly formalized the day as World Humanitarian Day.

World Humanitarian Day on the 19th of August came as the result of great efforts by the Sérgio Vieira de Mello Foundation and his family, who worked closely with the Ambassadors of France, Switzerland, Japan and Brazil to steer the draft Resolution through the General Assembly. 

The Foundation showcased its gratitude to the United Nations General Assembly and all the Member States for the kind gesture of recognizing the tragic loss of Vieira de Mello and his colleagues, along with all the humanitarian personnel who made great sacrifices in helping the victims during the humanitarian crises.

Significance of World Humanitarian Day

World Humanitarian Day was established by the United Nations in 2008 to commemorate the tragic loss of 22 aid workers in a bombing at the UN headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq, in 2003. The day not only honours those who lost their lives but also recognizes the countless individuals who continue to put their lives on the line to help others, often in the face of danger and adversity.

About Sérgio Vieira de Mello- Chief Humanitarian

“We are afraid to care too much, for fear that the other person does not care at all.”

Sérgio Vieira de Mello was a Brazilian national, who spent his entire life serving humanity and working towards some of the most problematic humanitarian situations in the world to help the victims of armed conflict. He was a catalyst of change as he highlighted the plight of the suffering and sought justice for the people. His death with the other 21 colleagues on 19 August 2003 in Baghdad shook the entire world. Sergio’s relentless efforts, incredible courage and empathy and fearlessness gave thousands of people hope for a bright future. 

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Past Themes

“If you can’t feed a hundred people, feed just one.”

In 2010, the focus was on the work and achievements of humanitarian workers in the field, with the theme, “We are Humanitarian Workers.” 

The 2011 campaign, “People Helping People” was about inspiring the spirit of aid work in everyone. 

The 2012 campaign for World Humanitarian Day was led by Beyonce and the theme for the campaign was “I Was Here”. It was about making your mark by doing something good, somewhere, for someone else. The campaign had a social reach of more than 1 billion people around the world. 

Source: United Nations

In 2019, the world humanitarian day campaign focused on women humanitarians and used the hashtag #WomenHumanitarians. People were encouraged to share stories, photos, videos of 24 women social and aid workers who have impacted the world and continue to do so!

YoUTube: UN Humanitarian

This year World Humanitarian Day comes as the world continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic over recent months. Aid workers are overcoming unprecedented access hurdles to assist people in humanitarian crises in 54 countries, as well as in a further nine countries which have been catapulted into humanitarian need by the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 has been a great problem for humanitarian aid all around the world.  The restrictions placed by Governments around the world have caused a major response by the communities, civil society and local NGOs.

“There is no existence except in service. There is no rest except in sacrificial restlessness.

Thus the campaign presents the inspiring stories of the humanitarians who are helping to treat and prevent COVID-19. They are providing food to vulnerable people, safe spaces for women and girls, delivering babies, and running refugee camps, all amid the COVID-19 pandemic with great determination and zeal.

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Source: Pinterest

How to Celebrate World Humanitarian Day?

“Don’t look for big things, just do small things with great love. The smaller the thing, the greater must be our love.”

To have courage and be kind- is what humanity comprises. We can always do our bit for better humanitarian purposes. Be it donating to charity or helping the Covid 19 victims through fieldwork- our share is essential like any other. Even sharing about it on social media helps to create awareness, which is a very necessary task. 

  • World Humanitarian Day is an opportunity for individuals around the globe to get involved and make a difference.
  • Whether through donations to reputable humanitarian organizations, volunteering your time and skills, or simply spreading awareness about the importance of humanitarian efforts, everyone can contribute to creating a more compassionate world.

World Humanitarian Day serves as a reminder that, in a world often filled with turmoil and adversity, there are individuals and organizations working tirelessly to bring hope, relief, and support to those in need. Their resilience, courage, and compassion stories inspire us to stand together and take action to build a better future for all. On this day, let’s celebrate the remarkable contributions of humanitarian workers and reaffirm our commitment to making the world a more compassionate and just place for everyone.

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1 Why is World Humanitarian Day celebrated?

World Humanitarian Day is observed every year on 19 August in a bid to save and protect lives around the world. 

2 What is the theme for World Humanitarian Day 2023?

The theme for World Humanitarian Day 2023 is “No matter What”.

3 Who started World Humanitarian Day?

The holiday was founded by the United Nations General Assembly in remembrance of the deaths of 22 U.N. aid workers, including Sérgio Vieira de Mello, in a bombing of the United Nations Baghdad headquarters in 2003.

Show some kindness this World Humanitarian Day and make someone’s dreams come true! For more educational updates and world news, make sure to follow Leverage Edu on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn!

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