What is the International Day of Charity?

2 September 2020 - Last Updated: 4 September 2020 By: Jorge Martins 3 min read

Summary

The International Day of Charity was created to raise awareness to need the importance of charity to society
This date – September 5th – was chosen to remember the death of Mother Teresa, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of her dedication to fighting poverty.
Beyond a donation, you can contribute to this date, helping your local charity organizations by volunteering your time in any way.

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The International Day of charity was officially launched by the United Nations in 2012 and is celebrated annually on September 5th. The Hungarian government, on December 17th, 2011, in the UN General Assembly proposed the concept of this celebration.

The main objective of the event is, through a common platform, to bring together philanthropic and volunteer people and organizations to give more exposure to the theme and raise awareness of the importance of the concept of charity at all levels. Local and global.

Charity is much more than offering someone a plate of food; it is synonymous with love and kindness and constitutes an essential strategic tool for sustaining human life. We can do beautiful things if people understand this concept.

Charity is an instrument of social justice, through which we can reduce inequality – unfortunately, common in the contemporary world –  and promote greater understanding among people.

In setting that date, the United Nations intends to promote dialogue and solidarity through charity. Also, to complement public health, education, housing, and child protection services through civil society’s assistance.

The concept of charity is vast, and its consequences are even more remarkable. It is incredible the reach of actions like this, supported by the entity.

Charitable actions reflect positive effects in all areas important to human development: health, education, culture, sports and science.

Winning public support around the world for causes involving the theme of charity is primordial for us to achieve a better and supportive world.

Why was September 5th the chosen date?

The exact day on September 5th was influenced by Mother Teresa’s death anniversary, and there could be no one besides her to represent such an important date. 

Daughter of Albanians, Mother Teresa was a nun, born in 1910, in Skopje, Macedonia’s capital. Her birth name is Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, and her religious name, Teresa, is a tribute to Saint Teresa of Lisieux. She started using that name in 1931, in India, when she began her humanitarian missions around the world. Mother Teresa dedicated her entire life to fighting poverty and misery and received a Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.

Religious missions have always fascinated her since she was 12 years old. She left home at 18 and went to Ireland to study and learn English.

Her first job in India was to be a teacher, but 11 years after her arrival, together with her students from the beginning of the mission, she founded the congregation of the Missionaries of Charity.   

At that time, she lived with the poor in Indian slums and worked to build schools, hospitals and shelters for homeless people.

The Order of Missionaries of Charity is present in more than 130 countries and has 4500 active members, participating daily in actions that help people in need.

Mother Teresa died on September 5th, 1997, at 87, of a heart attack. His body was buried in India. In 2016, she was declared a saint by the Catholic Church.

How is it celebrated?

The UN promotes various activities, calling on all member states to raise awareness among their citizens and institutions in some way so that they can participate in some local charity action.

The local aspect is essential because the small waves of each action taken become, together, a giant wave of goodness.

How can I get involved?

It’s simple! There are so many ways to help someone. 

The number of people who need help is proportional to the number of ways in which the other people can help them, but unfortunately, the number of people willing to do charity does not follow this logic.

Surely, there are people close to you who are involved in some charity action, or some institution in your neighbourhood or city in need of help, even if it is not financial. Volunteering by donating your time to do something useful for those in need also counts, and a lot. Your time is worth as much as your money. There are millions of ways to do this.

The eradication of poverty in the world is the greatest challenge imposed on our current society due to the size of the inequality generated by mechanisms that we are still trying to understand. Moreover, special days like this are essential steps for this to become a reality, involving all civil society around the planet. Surely, Mother Teresa would be proud to see her legacy spread around the world.

 

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