“What do you call a person who runs towards danger to save others? Who is undaunted by disease, famine, drought, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, locusts, conflict zones—and now the COVID-19 pandemic?” World Humanitarian Day 2020, The origins.
Since 2008 the world humanitarian day has been celebrated on the 19 of August. This day was designated after the 2003 bomb attack on the Canal Hotel in the city of Baghdad which left 21 humanitarian aid workers and the UN special representative for Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello dead.
The World Humanitarian Day celebration choses every year a different theme. The idea is to bring people from the humanitarian system together. To promote support and awareness for their physical and psychological issues caused during their humanitarian work. By doing this they show their commitment for caring about their well-being, safety, security and showing appreciation for their dignity.
A person who voluntarily confronts themselves with catastrophes is called a humanitarian worker. They reach places where social conditions are precarious due to floods, tsunamis, hunger, war, epidemics, pandemics and other calamities. The work of humanitarians is based on enhancing the living conditions and providing the affected people hope for the coming future.
do we need to travel to another country to be a humanitarian?
Being a humanitarian is a way of living, meaning that you work to improve human welfare, wherever you are. Also, it means to have your heart in the right place. To have human values. And more importantly, it means to respect and value human life regardless of race, ethnicity, religion and social status.
Being a humanitarian does not necessarily mean going on the next plane to the catastrophe that is happening at the moment.
Everyday and everywhere there are people struggling and sometimes very close to us. There are several ways that you can be a humanitarian in your local community. Different ways of supporting people and helping to solve social problems.
There are emergency problems that need solutions right away, as for example, giving a warm meal to a homeless person or having time to have a conversation with them. This would bring them some comfort and maybe even some joy.
One of the challenges of being a humanitarian is the fact that despite the help provided by many people sometimes change doesn’t seem to happen straight away.
People should be aware that you need to have a thick skin to be a humanitarian. You will see a lot of misery and many people suffering.
As I am writing this post I hear the sad news about Afghanistan. US-led coalition threw the Taliban out of power almost 20 years ago and now they have regained power.
In the past 20 years, life for many people in Afghanistan has improved. The fall of the Taliban regime allowed some significant change and progress in terms of women’s rights and education. According to BBC in 2017, 39% of girls were attending secondary school in comparison with only 6% in 2003.
There are many uncertainties about the future of the country and how to face the humanitarian crisis it brings. Many people are trying to flee the country, putting their lives in danger, others have migrated to other cities leaving everything behind. This will definitely bring more refugee camps, illnesses and hunger. In short, Afghans fear for their future and they also fear that the west is turning their back.
We all can bring hope and show solidarity with them in this moment of despair. Check below how you can help.
You can check out our post about Humanitarianism and the sea here if you have an interest in Humanitarian work.