Each year, World Humanitarian Day is held on August 19 to honor aid workers who put their lives at risk to better the lives of others. The day also rallies support for people around the world affected by crises. Around the world, the United Nations, along with International organizations and Non-governmental organizations, come together to observe World Humanitarian Day. The day is commemorated with fundraisers for relief organizations, lectures, and a variety of events to increase awareness for those living in crisis.


Since the inception of the day, each year focuses on a particular theme. For instance, in 2010 the emphasis concentrated on the work and achievements of humanitarian workers in the field. To learn about the theme for each year, visit un.org.

Humanitarians are credited for providing life-saving assistance to millions of people in need around the world. Oftentimes, they give aid in the middle of a war, conflict, famine, and natural disasters. While trying to help those in need, over 700 humanitarian workers have lost their lives or experienced dangerous situations.

Despite the difficult job, humanitarians serve selflessly to meet the basic needs of some of the most helpless people in the world. These needs include food, clothing, shelter, and a safe place to stay. An estimated 130 million people throughout the world live in crisis and are in need of humanitarian aid. As natural disasters, economic crises, and conflicts increase, so will the need for humanitarian workers.


Some of the most famous humanitarians include Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, Princess Diana, Martin Luther King, Jr., Oprah Winfrey, Angelina Jolie, and Desmond Tutu. Some of these famous humanitarians help those living in crisis situations by the wealth they have amassed. For others, being a humanitarian has cost them their lives.

You don’t have to be a celebrity, have lots of money, or travel to a third-world country to be a humanitarian. All you need to do is have the desire to lend a helping hand to those less fortunate.


●Volunteer at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen.

●Donate some of your personal belongings to someone in need.

●Make a contribution to a relief organization.

●Do a random act of kindness for a complete stranger.

●Use #WorldHumanitarianDay to share on social media.


The General Assembly of the United Nations established World Humanitarian Day in 2008. It was first observed on August 19, 2009. The observance occurred exactly six years after the 2002 Canal Hotel Bombing in Baghdad, where 22 people died. Among those killed was the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights.



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