International Day of Charity: Nourishing Human Spirit

International Day of Charity, as it is known and celebrated annually on 5 September, was originally a Hungarian civil society initiative to honor and commemorate the death of the renowned nun and missionary, Mother Teresa (1910-1997) (originally born as Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu), a Nobel Peace Prize winner (1979). In this piece, we brief Youth Time readers on the background of this day. We also see through ways you can celebrate this day by contributing and this does not necessarily mean that you will have to spend money.

In 2012, the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) declared the 5th of September, as the International Day of Charity. Since then, this event stands for the purpose of promoting the crucial role of charity in improving the lives of people globally. Ending poverty is the number one goal among Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) but it should also accompany us as one the key human traits lying in the power of lending a helping hand for those in (desperate) need. In this piece, we brief Youth Time readers on the background of this day. We also see through ways you can celebrate this day by contributing and this does not necessarily mean that you will have to spend money.

Moreover, Cleodie Rickard, Policy and Public Affairs Executive, at Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), a registered UK charity adds value to this article, by sharing the practice of working in this field. She also shares some of the key findings from some recent CAF research reports. Once you check out their webpage, you realize that CAF exists to make giving go further, and together transform more lives and communities around the world. Rickard will expand on their institution’s 90 years long expertise to help donors, companies and charities make a bigger and stronger impact.


The cultivation of International Day of Charity

The concept of charity in itself highlights the humanity in difficult or conflictual situations. According to UN, charity provides real social bonding and contributes to the creation of inclusive and more resilient societies. It is further believed that it “can alleviate the worst effects of humanitarian crises, supplement public services in health care, education, housing and child protection.”

Charity creates more resilient societies
Charity creates more resilient societies

The mission of this day is to raise awareness and provide a joint platform for charity-related activities and maintain an encouraging culture for solidarity, inclusion, social responsibility as well as institutional and civic support for charity. In addition, it advocates for the rights of the vulnerable and marginalized groups by spreading the message of humanity in conflict situations.


The human spirit of giving to one another

Cleodie Rickard, Policy and Public Affairs Executive, Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) gives a basic explanation for our readers regarding the importance of charity in today’s world.

Cleodie Rickard
Cleodie Rickard

“During the global Covid-19 pandemic, charity has been at the heart of the response to the crisis whether that is individuals helping each other in their communities or organizations coming to the aid of those in need.  Charities offer an opportunity for people to unite behind causes they care about and work together to deliver vital services or perhaps campaign for change.”

Taking into account that CAF works in a major commitment, such as supporting charities and increasing the understanding of charitable giving and philanthropy, Rickard shares ways they ensure this.

Youth Time contributor was curious to hear Rickard’s opinion regarding what’s more important; an environment that constantly promotes the culture of charity and giving, or it all lies simply on the human spirit of giving for the other.

Rickard shares the following argument while adding an explanation on the role of governments in mobilizing charity.

“The human spirit of giving to one another forms the backbone of charity and the desire and ability to give can be nurtured in many ways. Charitable giving and philanthropy has a long and vibrant history and occurs in many forms, from the very formal and strategic to day-to-day acts of kindness.”

“Governments can have a crucial role in mobilizing generosity by taking action such as granting tax relief on donations made to charities, exploring match funding, or supporting place-based giving schemes, and ensuring there are not undue regulatory pressures on charities that restrict their ability to engage in advocacy and campaigning.”


The increased trust in charities

According to her, CAF ongoing research uncovers some very interesting findings.

“Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic we’ve found that trust in charities has increased and charities have reported a significant increase in demand for their services.”

“One of our surveys also asked people about their employers’ attitude towards supporting good causes and found that 57% of respondents agreed that this helps improve morale in the workplace. The polling found that 50% of respondents thought that all businesses had a responsibility to support charities, while 49% thought that employers should give staff time off each year to volunteer for a good cause.”

Overall, according to Rickard it may be said charities are a great vehicle for creating the change we want to see in the world.

She shares a message for youth regarding the International Day of Charity 2020.

“Volunteering with or supporting a charity can help young people channel their passions and interests into real impact.”


Ways to celebrate

Regardless of the good deed, we may do; the truth is that not all of us can dedicate our lives to charity or different humanitarian missions. Nevertheless, the marking of this day should not go unnoticed.

Small action makes a difference
Small action makes a difference

Below you may find some ideas to mark International Day of Charity:

  • Volunteer in your community,
  • Donate unused/old stuff to your local charities,
  • Give your expertise free of charge- utilize what you’re good at.

Let this day serve as a reminder to ourselves for the importance of a single good deed, how it can lessen the suffering of the other and create more resilient and inclusive communities we all wish we live in.

Photos: Shutterstock, personal archive of Cleodie Rickard.

Check opportunities for volunteering here:

Environmental Volunteering: Seven Funded Opportunities

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