Ending unkind attitudes among mankind

Mother Teresa holds a press conference at the Peace Committee in Moscow on December 21, 1988 after her return from Armenia. / AFP PHOTO / Vitaly ARMAND

Mother Teresa holds a press conference at the Peace Committee in Moscow on December 21, 1988 after her return from Armenia. / AFP PHOTO / Vitaly ARMAND

Today Monday, September 5, the global community is commemorating the 2016 International Day of Charity. In recognition of charity’s key role in alleviating humanitarian crises and human suffering, in 2012, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly designated September 5 of every year as the International Day of Charity.

Suffice it to say that this year’s commemoration marks the fourth edition of the remarkable and laudable event. The date was chosen in respect to the anniversary of the death of Mother Teresa whose life and good works for some of the poorest of the poor and the downtrodden while on earth inspired several people across the world.

The idea of the day was proposed by the Hungarian Civil Society Initiative supported by Hungarian Parliament and Government with the aim of creating a universal platform to raise awareness on the importance of benevolent giving. Upon the initiative of Hungary, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution by consensus to designate 5th of September – the anniversary of the passing away of Mother Teresa, as the International Day of Charity. The resolution was co-sponsored by the 44 Member States representing all the five regions of the United Nations. The cross-regional support of the initiative reflects the universal recognition of charity and the apparent relevance of selfless giving or services in today’s world.

It is widely acknowledged that ‘God loves a cheerful giver’. This significantly implies that one who gives freely and cheerfully would definitely receive his/her reward from God, in abundance. In other words, the wellbeing of a freewill donor remains God’s concern.

Charity, in a concise term, is a kind or generous attitude towards other people. In the same vein, it can be defined as money, gift, or time given to poor or less-privileged people. Some typical examples of charity include:
• Raising funds for the benefit of a certain person or cause;
• Contributing manual labour to help build a house for a low-income family;
• Setting aside half of your coffee money per month and granting that money to an organisation that helps the needy;
• Donating food, clothes, and other basic requirements to the motherless-babies homes, from time to time;
• Asking friends and family to donate money to a specific charity organisation rather than getting you gifts for birthdays and other anniversaries;

No doubt, charity contributes to the promotion of dialogue, solidarity and mutual understanding among people regardless of their respective affiliations. Hence, it is the duty of all and sundry to live toward its uplift since it helps to foster a society filled with peace and harmony. And, it is worth noting that no meaningful development can take place in a society that lacks peace and mutual understanding.

In his introductory speech, the Permanent Representative of Hungary to the UN – Mr. Csaba Korosi, highlighted that charity as a way of thinking, provides real social bonding and contributes immensely to the creation of inclusive and more resilient societies. According to him, ‘Charity can alleviate the worst effects of humanitarian crises, supplement public services in health care delivery, education, housing, and child protection. It assists the advancement of culture, science, sports and natural heritage. It also promotes the rights of the marginalised and the underprivileged, as well as spreads the message of humanity in conflict situations.’

Indeed, the day is a day to remember those who are less advantaged, and to take appropriate actions to help them. The UN set aside September 5 each year as that day, so that, we all would act collectively or individually in order to alleviate the suffering and pains of the less-privileged around us in our various jurisdictions. Bear in mind that many people are doing charitable work on a daily basis; needless to state that every day is a golden opportunity to assist those in needs.

Devoting our time or money, as the case may be, would help to end these lingering unkind attitudes found among mankind. No amount of charity is too small; what matters most is the state of your heart while giving. In view of this assertion, we are encouraged not to discard any household material in haste, with a view that, that which you tagged as waste could be very helpful to that your closest neighbour. So, we are urged to continually reach out to our colleagues, associates, relatives and what have you, towards bringing succour to any of them that yearns for it.

However, it’s noteworthy that charity isn’t only deserved by less-advantaged individuals, thus anyone irrespective of status could be in need of charity at a given circumstance. To this end, we must always be conscious of the fact that that person whom we see as our boss might be deeply in need of a kind gesture from his/her teeming subjects. Therefore, charity ought to be seen as an interwoven gesture at all times.

So, as Nigeria joins the rest of the world to mark the fourth commemoration of the annual International Day of Charity as well as the anniversary of Late Mother Teresa, I candidly enjoin every individual and organisation in the country at large to use this opportunity to promote their own projects and encourage charitable activities in their respective communities or societies, bearing in mind that this is the only way we can boast of a meaningful development in our various societies. Think about it!
• Nwaozor is a public affairs analyst and civil rights activist.

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