By decision of the United Nations, 19 August marks World Humanitarian Day, the anniversary of the tragic attack that killed Sérgio Vieira de Mello, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. On this day, we pay tribute to people who risk their lives to bring help to the victims of armed conflicts and natural disasters worldwide. This year we focus on female humanitarians who rally to help people in need.
World Humanitarian Day provides an opportunity to honour humanitarian workers and volunteers. This year, the day’s theme is #WomenHumanitarians, to highlight the significant share of women in delivering humanitarian aid.
It is very often women who negotiate access to humanitarian aid and coordinate its distribution. Women negotiate ceasefires and set up humanitarian aid corridors. They lay the foundations for conflict resolution and peacebuilding, forming networks of pro-peace movements, and develop coalitions, even across opposition groups.
They are first aid responders, often putting their own lives at risk. Women provide shelter, prepare and distribute food, and set up schools. They help communities cope with displacement and new living conditions by creating livelihood opportunities.
Women involved in the humanitarian aid system worldwide include Poles, who are often supported by the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. See what their work is all about! Listen to the stories of our female heroes: Marta Titaniec, Ewa Piekarska, Małgorzata Olasińska-Chart, Paula Gierak, Joanna Wasil, Anna Kutera and Agnieszka Nosowska. In short videos, they tell about their work, the challenges they take on, and what motivates them to keep helping others.
Funded by the MFA, Polish Aid finances measures to improve the situation of Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq, also reaching the poorest citizens in the countries that receive refugees from regions affected by armed conflict. These measures are pursued in partnership with, among others, Caritas Poland, the Polish Centre for International Aid Foundation, the Club of Catholic Intelligentsia, the Polish Humanitarian Action, and the Polish Medical Mission. This year, Poland has pledged PLN 17.4m (over 4 mln euro) in humanitarian aid, which will reach over 100,000 people, while the Polish MFA will deliver an estimated total of PLN 24.3m (5,8 mln euro) in humanitarian aid.
We also invite you to visit a dedicated website of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) on events marking World Humanitarian Day: http://www.worldhumanitarianday.org/