Today we commemorate the International Day of Charity. The dictionary defines charity as the voluntary giving of help, typically in the form of money, to those in need. Charity can alleviate the worst effects of humanitarian crises and suffering, and assist in health care, education, housing, and child protection. It also promotes the rights of the marginalized and underprivileged and spreads the message of humanity in conflict situations.
But the fight against poverty isn’t only about charity, as the founding father of the Chis Oyakhilome Foundation International (COFI), Chris Oyakhilome points out, it is about lending your voice to the plight of the indigent in our world. A world free of poverty, where every child has equal opportunities to thrive and fulfill their God-given potentials.
One of the biggest contributors to ending poverty is ensuring children have an education. For any child, education can open doors to the future that would otherwise be locked tight.
Chris Oyakhilome made a profound statement, saying: “Every Child is your Child”. He went on to say: “They are our extension, they are our future. No matter how dirty or untouchable they are, think again, one day you were just that small, but you were fortunate to have someone help you, many of these are fortunate to have us if we would only open our hearts, our minds, our eyes and ignore them no more. We need to help give them a home, we need to help give them an education, we need to help cloth them. As small as they are, as needy as they are, as frustrated as they are, they have dreams, we can help make those dreams come true.”
Ending poverty starts with children. They need to be given the chance to put an end to the generational poverty that has burdened those before them, and truly break the cycle of poverty for themselves and their communities. Every child has a dream, even children in the most forgotten places.
In 2015, the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development, which recognizes that eradicating poverty is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development.
The primary goal of The InnerCity Mission (ICM) is to create an environment where every child can live above the poverty line, to rise above it, and become an active participant in the socio-economic development of their community. Through humanitarian aid programs, ICM strives to ensure that every child succeeds in life according to numerous Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set forth in the Agenda can be grouped into six critical areas: people, planet, prosperity, peace, and partnership. They have the potential to transform our lives and our planet.
The International Day of Charity was established with the objective of sensitizing and mobilizing people, NGOs, and stakeholders all around the world to help others through volunteer and philanthropic activities.
The date of 5 September was chosen by the United Nations as the International Day of Charity, in order to commemorate the anniversary of the passing away of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, in recognition of her role in alleviating suffering, and for her work in the struggle to overcome poverty, for which she received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.
Mother Teresa, the renowned nun, and missionary devoted herself to helping the destitute. For over 45 years she ministered to the poor, sick, orphaned, and dying while guiding the Missionaries of Charity’s expansion including hospices and homes for the poorest and homeless.