The International Day of Charity, September 5th, honors the important work charitable organizations do around the world. We not only have the opportunity to celebrate who we are, but stand in solidarity with our partners and friends around the globe to save and improve people’s lives.
The United Nations created this day in honor of one of the most well-known humanitarians in history, Mother Teresa. Countless people around the world have been inspired by her acts, but one of the things she said resonated with me personally in the early stages of my humanitarian journey. Before I share which quote that was, let me give you some background.
We all experience those “pivotal moments” – the ones that are imprinted into our memories, the moments in time we can still recount what we were doing and where in detail. My pivotal moment came in the fall of 2015, when I was stunned, like most of the world, by the small lifeless body of a little refugee boy that washed up onto a sandy shore. Except, it wasn’t just a lifeless boy. It was Alan Kurdi. His parents were fleeing an ISIS attack when their boat (designed for eight people but carrying 15) capsized in the Mediterranean Sea. Some of you may remember seeing his picture on the news. I saw it, and knew I had seen enough. I had to act.
I knew I wanted to get involved in the refugee crisis, but I had no idea how to help. For nearly a year I tried applying to humanitarian job listings in my field but felt the frustration of getting nowhere.
Then the powerful quote from Mother Teresa came to my mind:
Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person.
Every one of us can help one person. That moment in my living room, I decided not to wait for leaders; I decided to take action. I called a friend. We booked a trip to Jordan, the country with the largest number of refugees per capita in the world. That was not my first “Day of Charity,” but it was by far my most significant.
And it’s true. Simple acts of kindness make a difference no matter where you are in the world. So take that small step; give a hug, make a meal, help someone in need. Amazing achievements often look a lot like small steps of faith instead of single, large, astonishing accomplishments. This month we celebrate the milestone of impacting more than 100,000 lives; that’s a hundred thousand small steps in five years.
On this special day, we are calling on every individual to take one small step to make the world a better place. Charity is vital. This day allows us to raise awareness and assist those who need our help the most. I am a reluctant leader but I’m holding out my hands with a real opportunity for you to help.
Here are three concrete ways you can get involved today:
Regardless of how you decide to get involved on International Day of Charity, I simply hope that you get involved. Consider these words spoken by the one who inspired this day:
“Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.”