INTERNATIONAL DAY OF CHARITY

Did you know that Harvard University organized the first American fundraising drive, which raised 500 pounds? This was in 1643, before America was an official country. We were still a colony of Great Britain.

There is even written documentation that in 2500BC, a mandatory tax (or ‘tithe’) to benefit the poor was first instituted by the Ancient Hebrews. Charity has been part of our lives for centuries.

Every September 5th, each year this day has been recognized as International Day of Charity, by the United Nations since 2012.

International Day of Charity marks the anniversary of Mother Teresa’s death. According to Days of the Year, the holiday “commemorates the tireless work that Mother Teresa did by devoting her whole life to charity work.

Originally a Hungarian civil society proposal to honor Mother Teresa’s death, International Day of Charity on September 5 took off worldwide in 2012 when the UN declared it an international holiday. Besides honoring Mother Teresa’s tireless work to help others overcome poverty and suffering, this special day provides a platform for charitable opportunities to take place.

Mother Mary Teresa Bojaxhiu was born on August 26, 1910, in the Ottoman Empire, and by the age of 12 had decided to devote herself to religious life. At the age of 18, she started her journey by leaving home. She learned English and left for missionary work in Ireland. Eventually she moved to India and became a nun.

In 1948, she started her charity path by helping impoverished individuals in the country. Soon she opened several hospices, an orphanage, and established a congregation. Her congregation drew in many volunteers and donors that went on to establish many branches of her charitable organization around the world.

Mother Teresa died in 1997. Her legacy was so fantastic, that the Hungarian Parliament and Government established International Day of Charity in her honor in 2011. They chose September 5, the anniversary of her death, to commemorate her life with their civil service initiative.

The United Nations quickly picked up on this holiday, and by 2012 it was spread worldwide. The UN established it to recognize the charitable works of all organizations and their volunteers. It highlights the strength of what charity means around worldwide.

If you can’t make a financial donation on September 5, there are still many ways to get involved. 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.