The International Day of Charity is an international day observed annually on 05 September. It was declared by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in 2012.
The prime purpose of the International Day of Charity is to raise awareness and provide a common platform for charity related activities all over the world for individuals, charitable, philanthropic and volunteer organisations for their own purposes on the local, national, regional and international level.
The International Day of Charity was conceived as a Hungarian civil society initiative supported by the Hungarian Parliament and Government in 2011, to enhance visibility, organise special events, and in this way to increase solidarity, social responsibility and public support for charity.
05 September was chosen in order to commemorate the anniversary of the passing away of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 “for work undertaken in the struggle to overcome poverty and distress, which also constitute a threat to peace.”
On 17 December 2012, in response to a proposal by Hungary, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution by consensus to designate 05 September as the International Day of Charity. The resolution was co-sponsored by 44 UN Member States (Albania, Angola, Australia, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Chile, Croatia, Dominican Republic, Eritrea, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malta, Montenegro, Pakistan, Poland, Republic of Cyprus, Republic of Korea, Romania, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine) representing all five Regional Groups of the UN.
In its resolution, the General Assembly invited Member States, organisations of the UN system and other international and regional organisations, stakeholders, as well as NGOs of the civil society, to commemorate the International Day of Charity in an appropriate manner, by encouraging charity, including through education and public awareness-raising activities.
First Commemoration by the UN
On 5 September 2013, the Permanent Mission of Hungary to the UN, in cooperation with the UN Development Programme, the UN Foundation and with the support of the UN Department of Information, marked the first commemoration of the International Day of Charity at the UN Headquarters in New York.
The commemoration started with keynote speeches by Assistant Secretary-General Robert C. Orr, Kathy Calvin, President and CEO of the UN Foundation and Hugh Evans, CEO of the Global Poverty Project. Two panel discussions moderated by Matthew Bishop from The Economist and Ruma Bose, author of Mother Teresa CEO, explored the role of charity in poverty alleviation and in promoting access to clean water and sanitation.
Speakers represented leading organizations in the field of philanthropy, including charity: water, WaterAid, The Resource Alliance, the Foundation Centre and The Coca-Cola Foundation. Discussions focused on lessons learned and the role of the non-profit sector in the implementation of the Post-2015 Development Agenda. The Secretary-General sent a written message on the occasion of the International Day of Charity.
Other Events around the World on 05 September 2013
In the capital of Hungary the Apostolic Nunciature and the Embassy of the Republic of Albania organised a special event including a mass, a photo exhibition and a donation on the occasion of the first International Day of Charity.
Qatar Red Crescent and The Ritz-Carlton Doha celebrated the International Day of Charity and dedicated to Syrian children under the slogan “Bringing Back Their Joy”. Devotees and volunteers of the Hungarian Society for Krishna Consciousness held a special free food distribution program in the heart of Hungary’s capital Budapest, serving 500 plates of hot delicious vegetarian meal, yoghurt, fruits and sweets hourly. The Holy See issued a press release on the International Day of Charity.
International Day of Charity in 2014
In 2014, International Day of Charity events and fund raisers have begun to take place around the world, ranging from restaurants donating profits from sales of the day, to Ice Bucket Challenge events, to blanket distributions.
Mother Teresa Statue Unveiled in Budapest to Mark International Charity Day (Mother Teresa Statue is a donation from Ambassador of Republic of Albania H. E Mira Hoxha and Municipality of Budapest). Charity Concert organised by Albanian Embassy in Budapest and the Municipality of Budapest, in MOM Cultural Centre for the International Day of Charity.