The International Day of Charity is celebrated every year on 5 September as a tribute to the life and contributions of Mother Teresa who breathed her last on the same date in 1997. She, a nun and missionary, devoted her whole life to the mission of alleviating pain, poverty and sickness in the world.
It was in 2012 that the UN General Assembly decided to observe 5 September as the International Day of Charity. Originally It was a Hungarian civil society initiative to observe Mother Teresa's death anniversary as the Day of Charity. Later it was taken up by the UN.
International Day of Charity: Objective
The International Day of Charity was instituted to sensitize and mobilize people, NGOs, and all stakeholders around the world to help the needy through volunteer and philanthropic activities.
International Day of Charity: History
About Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa was born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in Skopje (North Macedonia) in 1910. She moved to India in 1928, dedicating her time to aiding the sick, needy, and downtrodden. She acquired Indian citizenship in 1948, and in 1950 she established the Missionaries of Charity order in Kolkata (Calcutta), which rose to prominence for its work with the city's impoverished and terminally ill.
For over 45 years she tended to the poor, sick, orphaned and dying by building homes and medical care clinics for them. As her work gained fame, money and momentum, she expanded the Missionaries of Charity first across India and then to other countries. Mother Teresa received several awards and distinctions, including the Nobel Peace Prize, Bharat Ratna, and Order of the Smile among many more. She left this world on September 5th 1997 at the age of 87 years.
Important awards given to Mother Teresa
- Nobel Peace Prize (1979): She received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for her significant contribution to alleviating humanitarian crises and human suffering.
- Bharat Ratna (1980)
- Order of the Smile
- Golden Honour of the Nation (1994)
- Pope John XXIII Peace Prize (1971)
- Ramon Magsaysay Award for Peace and International Understanding (1962)
- Albert Schweitzer International Prize (1975)
- Balzan Prize for Humanity, Peace and Fraternity Among Peoples (1978)
- Templeton Prize (1973)
- Presidential Medal of Freedom (1985)
- Padma Shri (1962)
- Order of Merit (1983)
- Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding (1969)
- Grand Order of Queen Jelena (1995)
- Pacem in Terris Award (1976)
- Patronal Medal (1979)
International Day of Charity: Significance
Significance of Charity
- Charity can alleviate the worst of humanitarian crises and sufferings.
- It promotes, and helps the government in providing, public services like health care, education, child protection and housing to the ones who need it the most.
- It also promotes the rights of the marginalized and underprivileged in peacetime while spreading the message of humanity in war times.
How it is celebrated?
- Various Fund Raising events take place around the world, ranging from businesses donating their profits of the day to celebrities auctioning their prized possessions.
- The day provides a platform for charitable opportunities to take place.
- Overall, this day reminds us that simple acts of charity can alleviate the worst effects of humanitarian crises and create more inclusive and resilient societies.
How to celebrate the International Day of Charity
- You can donate to the needy around you OR to some credible organization that works for them.
- If you don't have enough to donate directly, you can buy kinds of stuff that give parts of the profit to charity.
- Money is not the only thing you can give. You can even donate your time, skills and energy through volunteering. Like cooking for orphans or teaching them how to read and write. Maybe you can impart some professional skills to them that will help them earn in future.
International Day of Charity: Fun Fact
- December is considered to be the best and most prolific month for philanthropic activities. The reason is Xmas and the spirit of donation associated with it. Most of the world, the developed world especially, celebrate it and donate generously.
- Australia is the most charitable country on Earth as more than ⅓ of Australians volunteer and ⅔ donate money in December.
- Most cricket lovers must have heard of Boxing Day (December 26 - a day right after Xmas) as so many test matches begin on this day in Australia. Do you know what we mean by Boxing Day? It's a day to present gift boxes to your friends, family and the needy as a Xmas gift.