“Far from the limelight and away from the headlines, humanists work around the clock to make our world a better place,” he said.
“Despite incredible odds, often at great personal risk, they alleviate the suffering of some of the most dangerous situations imaginable.”
‘It takes a village’
World Humanitarian Day is observed annually on August 19th. It was designated by the UN General Assembly in 2008 to commemorate the anniversary of the 2003 bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq, which killed 22 aid workers.
This year’s theme – It takes a village – underscores the fact that there are always people around to help you when you are in a crisis.
“In this village live those affected, who are always the first to react in the event of a disaster – neighbors help neighbors. It contains a global community that sticks together to support them while they recover and rebuild,” the UN chief said.
“And it includes hundreds of thousands of individual humanitarian workers – volunteers and professionals alike. Provision of health care and education. food and water. refuge and protection. help and hope”.
The number of people in need of humanitarian assistance has never been higher due to conflict, climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic, poverty, hunger and unprecedented displacement.
World Humanitarian Day is an opportunity for people everywhere to celebrate, Mr Guterres said.
“We recognize their dedication and courage, and remember those who lost their lives in pursuit of this noble cause. They represent the best of humanity.”
© UNOCHA/Matteo Minasi
solidarity and appreciation
As part of the commemorations, the UN Humanitarian Affairs Office, OCHA, launched a week-long social media campaign #It takes a villagefor the public show solidarity with people who need help, and recognition for those working to deliver it.
Humanitarian workers include teachers who act as a lifeline to children in crisis situations. They help boys and girls to keep learning so they don’t lose their future.
Teachers also provide psychosocial support, particularly for girls, children with disabilities and youth who have been displaced, such as migrants and refugees, or uprooted in their own countries.
OCHA reported that nearly 110 million children in need had access to formal or non-formal education, including early childhood education, last year.
women and girls first
Meanwhile, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is working to ensure emergency response prioritizes the needs, rights and dignity of women and girls.
This year the agency wants to achieve 54.5 million women, girls and youth people affected by the crisis with life-saving sexual and reproductive health care, information and supplies and other services.
People like Shakila Parvin, a UNFPA-trained midwife who serves Rohingya refugees in camps in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, are the backbone of her humanitarian work.
She has provided midwifery services so mothers can deliver their babies safely, even amid major flooding from monsoon rains.
“By providing these services, I can help reduce maternal and infant mortality, which is one of the most fulfilling parts of my job,” Ms. Parvin said recently. “Seeing a mother’s happiness over her healthy baby makes my life feel meaningful.”