World Humanitarian Day: 25 Ways you can help, volunteer and be a humanitarian every day
World Humanitarian Day (August 19, 2012) celebrates those brave individuals who risk their lives to help others. Designated by the United Nations General Assembly to honor UN staff members killed in 2003 in the UN headquarters bombing in Baghdad, World Humanitarian Day has evolved to include all humanitarians who help millions of people around the world live safer, happier, healthier and more prosperous lives.
This year’s theme, “I was here” inspires everyone to be a humanitarian in their own family, community and country this August 19th by providing big and small acts of kindness and service. Through these countless acts of service “everyday humanitarians” make the world safer, happier, healthier and more prosperous, both here and abroad.
What better way to celebrate World Humanitarian Day than to answer one of our most frequently asked questions: How can I help?
Inspired by our supporters’ heartfelt generosity, Every Mother Counts compiled a list of 25 ways to serve mothers, women and girls here at home and around the world. We’ll add to this list over time and hope you’ll let us know about other opportunities for “everyday humanitarians” to make mothers’ lives the best they can be.
· Humanitarians At Home: There’s no lack of need right here in the US, where we rank 50th in the world in safe birth outcomes (Amnesty Intnl). We encourage our supporters to reach out to vulnerable women here in our very own communities. There are also countless ways you can help women abroad right from your own home.
· Personal Service: No act of kindness is too small to make a big impact.
Support the girls, women and mothers in your own family, neighborhood, church, school, and community by:
- Helping with homework, childcare, dinner or carpooling,
- Teaching a friend to write a business plan or balance her checkbook.
- Mentoring a local teenager struggling with school or applying to college.
- Shoveling snow, shopping for groceries or running errands for older neighbors.
· The YWCA, one of the oldest and largest women’s organizations in the nation, serving over 2 million women, girls and families, is always seeking volunteers to provide services that meet specific community needs like:
- Mentoring teen moms,
- Fundraising for scholarships,
- Helping supply emergency housing projects for homeless women and those experiencing domestic violence
- Providing office support,
- Tutoring English as a second language
· VolunteerMatch.org matches almost 86,000 nonprofits with volunteers in nearly every city in America. Type in your zip code or town and a few words describing the kind of work you want to do. Use their Advanced Search page to filter through opportunities for groups, families, teens, or specific interest areas. Here are a few current examples with maternal health focuses:
- Help Low Birth Weight Development Center find ways to pay for programs
- Mentor teen moms through the New York Youth At Risk program
- Shop flea markets for baby clothing and infant-care items for Newbowns in Need
- Provide skilled medical services for at-risk mothers at The Baby and I Foundation
· Volunteers of America helps 2.5 million individuals and families in 400 communities and 46 states struggling with homelessness, hunger, addiction and those returning from prison, military service, the elderly, and disabled. Log on to find volunteer opportunities in your area.
World Humanitarians at Home: The organizations below and most of those listed on our Partners Page need volunteers willing to work at home and in their own communities to raise awareness, take part in advocacy campaigns and fund raise. These four focus specifically on maternal health issues:
· The Fistula Foundation raises awareness and funding for fistula treatment and educational and prevention programs worldwide. Volunteers engage in advocacy and fundraising activities to raise awareness in their communities.
· One By One contributes to eliminating fistulas worldwide by fundraising, raising awareness and through partnerships with in-country organizations that create programs and mobilize resources to treat and prevent obstetric fistulas. Volunteers are needed for fundraising, awareness and advocacy activities.
· One Heart World-Wide works to prevent deaths of mothers and infants in remote rural areas of the world by surrounding families with a “Network of Safety” to insure survival of pregnancy, childbirth and the first months of life. One Heart Worldwide provides limited travel opportunities to tour service areas. Volunteers fundraise and host events to raise awareness about maternal health issues in their own communities.
· The Afya Foundation provides an up-to-date computer-based online inventory menu for international health organizations and professionals to select warehouse-based medical supplies that match the needs of recipient health centers/patients in Africa. Volunteers are needed to sort supplies, fundraise and for hands-on projects that require specific training and skill to expand services and delivery of goods to underserved populations.
Humanitarians around the world: These organizations provide volunteer opportunities abroad. Keep in mind, in most cases volunteers are required to pay their own way. Prices vary depending on location, length and type of service and program needs, but the return on your investment is guaranteed to be priceless.
· Project HOPE volunteers are doctors, nurses and medical professionals who travel the world on a floating hospital ship, The SS HOPE. They provide medical care, health education and humanitarian assistance in response to emergencies and ongoing need. Duration of volunteer placements vary according to specific needs of a project or country.
· Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres is an international medical humanitarian group of physicians and medical professionals that provides emergency medical care to millions of people in crises in more than 60 countries around the world. Qualified candidates are needed for paid and volunteer positions lasting at least nine to twelve months. Nurse-midwives, certified midwives, obstetricians, gynecologists, operating room nurses, general and orthopedic surgeons, HIV/AIDS and TB specialists are urgently needed. Office positions for non-medical professionals are also available. Benefits may include room and board, salary and transportation.
· Midwife International offers opportunities for midwives to become preceptors, trainers and work on-site at various locations in Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Senegal, and Uganda. Volunteers work in designated sites for 1-year programs or as guest teachers for a minimum two-month rotation.
· Work the World: Health Care Initiatives Overseas offers volunteer opportunities and structured internships in a variety of medical concentrations including midwifery, physical therapy, pharmacy, radiography, dentistry, general medicine and nursing in Africa, Asia, and South America. Lengths of stay vary depending on educational focus, but average two to six weeks.
· Projects Abroad offers opportunities for volunteers ages 16 to 75 of all qualification and experience levels including “gap year” programs and medical internships with focuses in medicine, nursing, midwifery, dentistry, physical, occupational and speech therapy.
· Cross-Cultural Solutions provides volunteer and intern opportunities for people ages 14 and up. Volunteers choose placements that coincide with their interest. Health placements don’t require previous experience and include working in centers for pregnant women in South Africa, conducting HIV/AIDS information sessions, or working in women’s empowerment initiatives.
· Global Health Corps provides yearlong paid fellowships for young professionals from diverse backgrounds to work with high-impact organizations throughout the world on the frontlines of the fight for global health.
· Global Health Services Corps is a unique public-private organization partnered with the Peace Corps. Volunteers become Peace Corps volunteers to provide direct medical care, expert technical support and act as medical and nursing educators in resource-poor settings throughout the world. Duration of service is approximately one year and benefits include potential student loan repayment stipends for qualified individuals.
· Healing Hands Inc. is a faith-based non-profit organization involved in health outreach programs in schools, orphanages, rural communities and prisons in developing countries. Volunteers participate in medical-based programs, such as health education and behavioral counseling, food and nutrition, medical and services, HIV prevention programs, prison outreach programs and workforce training.
· AMREF: Better Health for Africa is an African organization headquartered in Kenya. Their main areas of intervention focus on maternal and child health, HIV and tuberculosis, safe water and sanitation, malaria and essential clinical care. They offer full time, unpaid internships and volunteer opportunities for eligible students and non-students for three to six month periods.
· Hamlin Fistula International – founded by Drs. Reginald and Catherine Hamlin, The Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital in Ethiopia is the only hospital of its kind in the world providing care exclusively for women with obstetric fistulas. While the hospital only occasionally accepts skilled volunteers, opportunities with their Partner Trusts open more frequently.
· Advance-Africa offers a variety of volunteer opportunities including its Medical Electives program, designed to meet the needs of students training to be doctors, dentists, physiotherapists, nurses and midwives. Placements are available to students at any stage of their studies and those who want to broaden their experience after graduation.
· The Mountain Fund works to eliminate poverty in rural mountain communities in developing countries including Nepal and Peru by focusing on the needs of women and girls through healthcare, education, economic opportunities and human rights. They welcome volunteers with medical and non-medical expertise to participate in a variety of programs including medical treks to provide basic healthcare in remote areas. Additional opportunities include month-long programs for medical professionals who work one week at a Kathmandu hospital and three weeks in a rural health facility.
· Global Village International offers over 100 volunteer travel opportunities ranging from one week to two years in more than 40 countries in Africa, South America, Asia, Europe and Central America. Projects are available with a wide range of focuses including education, healthcare, climate change and environment, sports, wildlife and marine conservation, construction and children’s services.
· Faith in Practice is a non-profit, ecumenical Christian organization working to improve physical, spiritual, and economic conditions in Guatemala through short-term surgical, medical and dental mission trips and health-related educational programs. Volunteers from all faiths and those with no religious affiliation are welcomed into this non-denominational program. Seven-day missions are open to medical and non-medical experts.
· The Shanti Uganda Society improves infant and maternal health, provides safe women-centered care and supports the wellbeing of birthing mothers and women living with HIV/AIDS in Uganda. The volunteer program is open to student interns, development practitioners and specialists, midwives, doulas, health and birth educators, yoga teachers, permaculture experts and anyone who is passionate about service, social justice and community-based development. While there’s a special need for midwives and women’s health professionals, everyone is welcome to apply.
· Forever Angels Baby Home in Mwanza, Tanzania provides a stable, loving home for up to 50 orphaned, abandoned and severely disadvantaged babies and children from 0 to 5 years. Staffed by trained Tanzanian caregivers Forever Angels provides support until the child is fostered, adopted or reunited with their family. Volunteers from all walks of life are needed, especially those with experience in childcare, teaching, nursing, physiotherapy, play therapy, psychology, massage and plumbers, electricians, carpenters, farmers and gardeners. Lengths of stay vary, but most volunteers invest two or more months.
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Sunil Desai, Pres. @BindiProject says there's no 1 way 2 be a mom & we need 2 better value their work http://t.co/0YrS6kdRjZ #KNOMothersDay7 hours 49 min ago
Did u kno that 10 million single #mothers have #children younger than 18 in the #US? That’s 3.4 million more than 1970. #KNOWMothersDay1 day 4 hours ago
Chck out Holly Cambruzzi's feat. in @HorizonTravMag on the story & work of #EMC & founder, @CTurlington http://t.co/VsgDihBafl1 day 5 hours ago
Did u kno 1 million #newborns die every yr? Rd what we learned from @SavetheChildren's report on "Surviving 1st Day" http://t.co/PCqb5qkR5o1 day 7 hours ago
@GHServiceCorps now @Seed_Global is sending 1 class of volunteers 2 #Malwai #Tanzania #Uganda & taking new applicants http://t.co/7fSQc4bLYq2 days 3 hours ago
Immaculate, #Uganda, delivers healthy #baby despite #mispresentation risks thnx 2 transportation. This is her story: http://t.co/l0iV7ADgpU2 days 8 hours ago