Guest blog by Thomas Reynolds, Mission Director of CARE International in the Caucasus. Thomas writes on current topics that impact youth, women, those affected by conflict and those located in remote villages.
Aware that an earthquake had struck moments earlier, Robin Needham rushed to the beach imploring others to get away from the shoreline on the island of Phuket, Thailand. He was still there when a massive wave inundated the coastline. Robin, Country Director of CARE Nepal, perished in the tsunami that devastated the shores of Indonesia, Thailand and other adjacent countries. It was December 26th, 2004.
On that day, a model humanitarian was lost to us. Robin had been on a much deserved annual holiday. He had devoted much of his life to helping others. Both in Africa and in Asia, Robin worked tirelessly on behalf of the less fortunate in society through the oversight of relief work and rights based approaches to development.
Celebrating the fallen with acts of kindness
Yesterday, August 19th was World Humanitarian Day, a day when the United Nations encourages us to recognize those who face danger and adversity in order to help others.
Those engaged in humanitarian work are not saints; they are not persons who should be placed in a separate category of elite people. They are men and women who have chosen to commit a part of their life to helping others. Each and every person has the capacity to promote human welfare and advance social reforms. Each person can be a humanitarian.
I was here
As tribute to yesterday’s Humanitarian Day, internationally renowned recording artist, Beyoncé, filmed a music video featuring her song “I Was Here” at the UN General Assembly Hall in New York to mark World Humanitarian Day. The video was a testimony to the idea that, no matter who you are, there are many things you can do within your means to take action; to practice humanitarianism. Watch Beyoncé’s interview about the importance of World Humanitarian Day.
“Go forth, and make the world less miserable”
For several years after his passing, I kept my last voicemail message from Robin to me on my phone. He had been confirming some meetings we were jointly planning.
I deeply admired Robin for his convictions and the actions in which he took that backed up his principles. Left on the desk in his office in Katmandu, and found after his death, was a quote handwritten on a scrap of paper stating, “Go forth and make the world less miserable.”
We can all heed this call to action.
World Humanitarian Day is over, but you can still carry on the movement to do good for others. Currently 18.7 million people in the Sahel, are suffering from severe hunger and malnturition. Donate to CARE today and help our relief efforts.