Every year World Humanitarian Day is commemorated on August 19 to pay tribute to all the humanitarians who get injured and killed during the course of their work and to honor all the health workers who work for human aid despite the odds.
August 19 was designated in the memory of 2003 bomb attack in Iraq where 22 people were killed. The UN General Assembly later formalized the day as World Humanitarian Day. The humanitarians are those who contributes in promoting social reforms. Along with social reforms, those who holds no prejudice with human suffering in the name of gender, sexual orientation, religion or territory is a humanitarian. Humanitarian aid workers are the most heroic and honorable people out there who puts themselves in harm to help mitigate the suffering of strangers selflessly. Despite their great work, they are not recognized, thus, this day reminds of those humanitarians who are the true hero.
The theme of this year is the Human Race which is a global challenge for climate action to work for those who are in need at the most. World Humanitarian Day showcase the need of humanitarian workers who can selflessly give their time to support people in need. Every year millions of humanitarian assistance are required to support people in disasters both manmade and natural.
In the recent time we have observed COVID-19 pandemic, earthquake, flood etc. posing major threats to populations affected in Nepal. Internationally, UNHCR, UN Refugee Agency has also warned looming humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan as the escalating conflict brings increased human suffering and civilian displacement.
Humanitarian crises are often characterized by limited access to nutritious, safe and affordable food and clean water; disruptions in essential health and nutrition services; and constraints to optimal feeding, care and hygiene practices. The greatest consequences are borne by children, adolescents and women. [UNICEF]
We all upon governments, policy makers, stakeholders, global leaders, UN agencies, national/international organizations, youth and communities to better prepare to withstand and bounce back from the humanitarian crisis. It is high time we are proactively devising appropriate policy measures, maintaining and upscaling humanitarian food security interventions, and protecting the livelihoods and food access of the most vulnerable people, particularly those in food crisis contexts. [FAO, 2020]
Here are some of the globally renowned humanitarians in the history of the world that you should know about.
1) Mahatma Gandhi
Mahatma Gandhi proved to the world that activism can also be done through a peaceful way without violence. He campaigned for civil rights, national independence and religious tolerance. Dandi Salt March; a 24 day peaceful march led to India’s independence.
2) Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for more than 2 decades. He ended apartheid; apartheid is term used for the racial segregation policies which was enforced in South Africa for decades. He was the first person of color to become president of South Africa.
3) Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa treated the sick, founded a school for the underprivileged, opened women shelters and orphanages. She ventured into the slums of Calcutta, India. She changed the perception of charity in the world.
4) Oskar Schindler
Oskar Schindler saved Jews during the Nazi Regime. He saved around 1,100 Jews people. He had a factory in Poland. He spent all his money to bribe in order to save the Jews. He was the first Nazi member who was buried in Jerusalem.
5) Elizabeth Fry
In 1812, Elizabeth Fry in visited prison where she saw that man and women used to stay together in prisons. There was no provision of sanitation in prisons. Elizabeth focused on a mission that a reform should be brought where prisoners should be provided with clean clothes and food. She believed that prison was not only a place for punishment. She was a woman who stood for the greatest legacies in criminal justice reform at such a time, when women did not have rights to exercise.