September 5 is the death anniversary of Mother Teresa and the United Nation observes it as the International Day of Charity. The whole world is aware of Mother Teresa’s dedicated work for poor, distress and oppressed people. She gave a different meaning to Social Work. Charity in the form of love, care, emotions and social service was very close to her heart. Charity can contribute in reducing poverty and can alleviate worst effects of humanitarian crisis. It is beneficial for the advancement of our rights and social welfare.
What do we understand by the term Charity? Does it only mean helping someone financially or does it has a wider meaning? The meaning and notion of Charity has changed with the time and now it is more about promoting the rights of marginalized and underprivileged sections of society. Charity does not only confine to providing financial aid to the vulnerable people but it‘s definition has changed with time. As Mother Teresa also said once, “Charity isn’t about pity, it is about love”. The one, who knows and learns to take care of his/her family, must have emotion, love and values for others as well. Charity begins first at home then only one can understands human sufferings both within and outside their home. From this comes the understanding of helping those in need, in order to bring about a change in someone’s world.
In today’s world, we witness violence against women around us in our daily lives. Be it within our family, at our neighbor’s home or at our work place. Women experience discrimination and subject to different forms of oppression- domestic abuse, physical abuse, marital rape, dowry violence, etc. Women usually don’t speak about sexual violence or harassment at their work place. The reason of their silence is simply that most women are not aware of their rights and the legal framework that works for their protection. What do we do about it then? We can give our time to such distress women and make them aware of their legal rights or remedy available to them. Time is also a kind of charity to bring about a social change. Our one-time intervention and efforts may have a positive impact on someone’s personal well-being. It is our moral imperative to find solutions and look after destitute and oppressed people around us.
It is sad that gender-based violence is prevalent in India and several civil society organizations, NGOs and Women’s rights activists are working to help such women through volunteer work, skill development and providing them with legal assistance. Empowering women with legal and economic protection allows them to have their voices heard in larger decisions. Gender equality will help reduce poverty and encourage growth and development. Therefore, providing equal opportunities to women can also make humanitarian aid more effective.
On this International Charity Day, we urge people to become a voice for those in need of help and speak up against injustices to ensure that these vulnerable voices are not left unheard in society. So next time will you help, if you see any kind of oppression and violence against women around you, make sure you will help the oppressed. Giving time to your community through volunteerism, charity or other means does so much to help those in needs and contribute to social change. Charity is no more about helping people with money; it is about bringing an initiative of change in our society, of helping people who don’t have a voice, taking a stand against violence and not tolerating any kind of injustices.