Every year on August 19th the world celebrates those who give their time, risk their lives, so that others can feel comforted. World Humanitarian Day (WHD) was officially established to recognize Sergio Vieira de Mello and thousands like him who work every day to make the world a better place for the less fortunate, the underprivileged, and those living in places of war and starvation.
Beyonce and her song “I was here” further galvanized the World Humanitarian Day. You know how it goes:
“I just want them to know
That I gave my all, did my best
Brought someone to happiness
Left this world a little better just because
I was here …”
For WHD 2017 the world community is coming together to reconfirm that civilians caught in conflict are #NotATarget.
Famous humanitarians like Mother Teresa, Mahatama Gandhi are an inspiration to all of us; because humanity is in all of us. We all have a share.
Some of the world’s humanitarians
Born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, Mother Teresa was an Albanian-Indian Roman Catholic nun and missionary. Leaving home at the age of 18 for Ireland she spent 45 years serving others, spending most of this time amongst the poorest of the poor in Calcutta, India. Mother Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity which works for orphans, people suffering from HIV/AIDs, tuberculosis and leprosy, manages soup kitchens, mobile clinics and more. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 and in 2016 she was canonised by the church. She is known in the Catholic Church as Saint Teresa of Calcutta.
Mahatma Gandhi, loving called ‘Bapu’ was born Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi in India. A prominent Indian political leader who led the movement for India’s independence from British rule, he organised the common people to protest against excessive tax and discrimination. As leader of the Indian National Congress, Gandhi led nationwide campaigns for various social causes and for self-rule. Followed by a nation and respected by all for his beliefs and practices, Gandhi used nonviolent civil disobedience in his fight for justice. Over the years, he has inspired civil rights movements and the call for freedom across the world.
Martin Luther King
King was an American Baptist minister and leader of the African-American Civil Rights Movement. He is remembered for his opposition of racial inequality using nonviolent civil disobedience and his famous speech, “I Have A Dream” which has inspired millions. One of the first to defend Rosa Parks, he fought tirelessly to raise awareness about racial inequalities which lead to significant political change. His non-violent protests and fight for justice led the Civil Rights Movement from the mid-1950s until his assassination in 1968. In 1964, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, but gave away the prize money to the movement he championed.
A Scottish-American industrialist, Carnegie moved to the United States from Scotland at the age of 13. He worked a series of small jobs including some on the railroad, and in due course built the Carnegie Steel Corporation, the largest steel manufacturing company in the world. Often identified as one of the wealthiest people in the world, he eventually sold his business and dedicated himself to philanthropic work. Since then, his wealth has supported almost every cause – from education to the dismantling of nuclear weapons, from the discovery of insulin to the creation of Sesame Street.
William Henry Gates III is the principal founder of Microsoft, the world’s richest man and a philanthropist. Rising from modest beginnings, Gates dropped out of Harvard and went on to create the world’s foremost software development company. In 2014, he retired from Microsoft and now chairs the world’s largest private charitable foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, with his wife Melinda. The foundation focuses on solving global problems in the area of health, development, advocacy and more.
Called the ‘Oracle of Omaha’ for his ability to recognise undervalued assets, Warren Buffet is one of the most successful investors of all time. A student of Economics, he formed a number of partnerships during his early working years. Soon, he acquired a textile firm called Berkshire Hathaway and built it into one of the world’s largest and most successful holding companies. Today, his net worth is evaluated at over 70 billion, 99.9% of which, he has pledged to give away.
Together, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett founded The Giving Pledge, which asks billionaires to donate at least half of their wealth to philanthropy.