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September 5 marks the international day of charity

Charity is a monumental part of our global society – whether on an individual level or indeed a national one – charities, NGOs and non-profit-organisations have an immense impact on uplifting from poverty and aiding during and after crises such a war, famine or natural disasters.

According to the UN, "Charity can alleviate the worst effects of humanitarian crises, supplement public services in health care, education, housing and child protection. It assists the advancement of culture, science, sports, and the protection of cultural and natural heritage. It also promotes the rights of the marginalized and underprivileged and spreads the message of humanity in conflict situations."

The international day, which sets out to celebrate charitable organisations and aid the world over, was selected on September 5 to mark the date of the passing of Mother Teresa, a missionary nun who dedicated her life to uplifting poverty in India. In 1979 she was given a Nobel Peace Prize for her "work undertaken in the struggle to overcome poverty and distress, which also constitute a threat to peace."

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The good

SDGs and charity

Alleviating poverty the world over has been a global concern since the introduction of the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015, which means no country, community or individual should be left behind.

The immense positive impact that this grouping together of the world's nations in order to eradicate poverty on a global scale is that the stigma of charity was put aside for the important goal to be reached and to encourage each and every country to do its best to meet the SDGs by 2030.

The premise of the SDG agenda carries a spirit of strengthened global solidarity, with a particular focus those who are most vulnerable and their basic human needs. Crucially, "It also acknowledges the role of the diverse private sector, ranging from micro-enterprises to cooperatives to multinationals, and that of civil society organizations and philanthropic organizations in the implementation of the new Agenda."

The bad

Charity is not a substitute for real, legislative justice

But charity is not all good, on a non-for-profit level as we've learnt from scandals time and time again, but largely international aid, which makes up huge sums of money that is transferred to developing nations on a yearly basis must be taken with a pinch of salt.

Often times, as is so poignantly explained in the video below, foreign aid is really a trade for policy with the benefit of appearing more like charity. And in many other times, government aid within its own borders has its own issues – as is the case with the current Afghanistan situation, where many are criticising new government food aid initiatives as a means to perpetuate its citizens' dependency on aid instead of empowering them to uplift themselves out of poverty.

When it comes to global and national aid and charity, and just like any other complex systems within our global society, the good also comes with the bad. This only means that we must understand our power as individuals and what we can do to make an impact even more.

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FairPlanet's coverage

Afghanistan: Time to relinquish the dependency syndrome

by Shadi Khan Saif

Promoting charity in otherwise feasible environments of some sort for dignified earning of livelihood would only deepen dependency syndrome in any society.

Berlin is taking charitable status away from charities

by Gurmeet Singh

"This is an attack on civil society", says
uk poverty

Does Universal Credit contribute to poverty in the UK?

by Federica Tedeschi

Over a fifth of the UK population (14 million people) live in poverty, according to a report published at the end of 2018 by the United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner (OHCHR). Further data highlighted that 4 million people are over 50% below the poverty line, while 1.5 million are ‘unable to afford basic essentials’.
Gamble on the future of Africa

Charity and aid work need to be reexamined

by Shira Jeczmien

As the United Nations marks the International Day of Charity, it's time we reconsider what this concept means and how the West can change its approach to it
Country focus

Afghanistan has been battling with domestic wars over the recent decades, leaving the country in ruins, with its infrastructure crumbling. The landlocked nation of over 31 million citizens has experienced a militant and bloody ruling of the Taliban for most of its modern history. Afghanistan is currently the 3rd highest receiving nations of global aid, at $2.95 billion, most of which is coming from the U.S.

Following the 2001 US invasion, when the Taliban was expelled by US troops, Afghans have experienced severe damage to their economy and basic foundations. Nato-led troops have been in charge of maintaining peace in the country since. However, over the past 5 years, since 2014, the Taliban has returned to the country, inflicting strict Islamic rule. The media does not operate freely in the country, with journalists facing threat to their lives for free speech and freedom of reporting.