September 5, International Day of Charity

“Donate time or money, volunteer or act with kindness.” “Charity sometimes gets dismissed, as if it is ineffective, inappropriate, or even somehow demeaning to the recipient. Let us recognize charity for what it is at heart: a noble enterprise aimed at bettering the human condition.” - Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon

The UN General Assembly recognized the 5th of September as the International Day of Charity through resolution A/RES/67/105. The day marks the death anniversary of Mother Teresa, a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for work undertaken in the struggle to overcome poverty and distress, which also constitute a threat to peace.

The resolution recognizes the role of charity in alleviating humanitarian crises and human suffering within and among nations; affirms that charity may contribute to the promotion of dialogue among people from different civilizations, cultures, and religions, as well as of solidarity and mutual understanding; recognizes the efforts of charitable organizations and individuals, including the work of Mother Teresa.

In recognition of the landmark work done by Mother Teresa in the field of working for the betterment of the poor, sick, and those most in need of care, the Day has been established with an objective to mobilize people, NGOs, and other stakeholders and to bring into light the notion of volunteerism and philanthropy.

In 2015, the United Nations, through the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development, universally called upon the states to take action to end poverty, protect the planet and improve the lives and prospects of everyone in the world. It has placed “No Poverty” as its first goal, wherein it has recognized the need for inclusive growth for sustainable development. The Agenda further recognizes the need for partnership as its Goal 17, wherein it has recognized the need for a global partnership for sustainable development.

Due to the global pandemic resulting from the global spread of COVID-19, the momentum of the sustainable development goals has been heavily shaken, like unemployment, shutting down of a business, and effects on other enterprises have been heavily felt. In such a time, moreover, the spirit of volunteerism and philanthropy has served as relief for people in need. This very spirit of volunteerism and philanthropy from the part of business houses, corporations, NGOs, civil societies, among other contributing individuals, is essential in complementing the works of the governments to uplift the standard of living of people. The International Day of Charity has been recognized as an International Day by the United Nations to promote this very spirit.

The UN recognizes that civic engagement plays an important role in terms of development in creating the desired global change. Here are a few ways it can do so: 

1) raise awareness about how difficult challenges are, and push for collective action in global issues; 

2) enhance trust among diverse groups and build social capital; 

3) eliminate social & cultural barriers and create cohesion, and 

4) build resilience through community action, and enhance the sense of responsibility for one’s community.


Important Documents 

  • The United Nations Charter
  • The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  • UN General Assembly resolution A/RES/67/105
  • 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development 
  • Human Development Report

More information is available here.

Shishir Lamichhane 
Roya Institute Representative in Nepal