A call for humanitarian heroes

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By Rose Jessica Octaviano

A Sound Mind

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


Every August 19, today, the United Nations (UN) celebrates the World Humanitarian Day.

World Humanitarian Day is a time to recognize those who face danger and adversity in order to help others. The day was designated by the UN General Assembly to coincide with the anniversary of the 2003 bombing of the UN Headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq which killed 22 people.

World Humanitarian Day is also an opportunity to celebrate the spirit that inspires humanitarian work around the globe.

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The purpose of this celebration is to honor the people who lost their lives to humanitarian work and to those who continue to help people in need. It may be in a war zone, in a battlefield, in a school or a church.

This year’s theme is “The World Needs More Humanitarian Heroes.”

Anyone can be a hero. You may not know it, but you may be a hero. Weren’t you there sharing your time to other people in need after the wrath of super typhoon Yolanda? Did you help build a GK house? You may also have given your life to be of service to God and the people. You’re also a hero. Have you met another hero?

If yes, please post your humanitarian heroes with hash tags: #WHD2014 #HumanitarianHeroes and share their qualities which made them your hero/heroes.

Personally, I have seen many heroes in my life - my family and many of my friends. My first and forever heroes are my parents and my siblings. They have been there all the time, loving and caring. It was even proven when I experienced a crisis. They supported me all the way. They were the only ones I trusted whole-heartedly.

I also have seen and worked with people who will not hesitate to help a person. They are willing to travel to far places, just to work with the people. They will give an extra arm and work an extra mile for the people.

These people can also be called volunteers. Lt. Col. James H. Doolittle, a character in the movie Pearl Harbor said, “Nothing is stronger than the heart of a volunteer.” He is correct.

Speaking of volunteerism, when I was in college, I, too, was a volunteer for the Community Outreach Program or Balayan of the University of St. La Salle.

We worked with the out-of-school youth, street children and the children in situations of armed conflict. I didn’t feel like a hero. I just felt that much has been given to me and I have the capacity to share my blessings. After I graduated from college, I still continue doing volunteer work. I believe in the saying, “Once a volunteer, always a volunteer.”

This was our theme song during our days as volunteers—and until now. We were inspired by St. Ignatius Loyola.

PRAYER FOR GENEROSITY (Sang by the Bukas Palad Ministry)

Dearest Lord, teach me to be generous
Teach me to serve You as I should
To give and not to count the cost
To fight and not to heed the wounds
To toil and not to seek for rest
To labor and ask not for reward
Save that of knowing that I do Your most holy will.

I call on everyone to answer the call of the United Nations to be a hero and join this campaign by visiting their website: www.worldhumanitarianday.org

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on August 19, 2014.

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