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Question: What do an ex-soldier, an Albanian nun, and an 11-year-old boy camping in his back garden in Devon have in common?

Answer: They have all done some amazing things for other people, and for charity.

September 5th is the United Nation’s International Day of Charity which was established in 2012 to raise awareness of charities around the world and to give a platform for them to talk about their work and the contribution made by individuals, groups, and volunteers at local, national and international levels. The date of September 5th was chosen to commemorate the death of Mother Teresa, who was known for her dedication to charitable work, helping others living in poverty and suffering.

The day is also part of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development, which recognises the “barriers that poverty places on international development”. One of the aims of the day is to enhance social responsibility and increase the support for charities across the world. In short, if we can become more charitable and more socially responsible for each other, then we will better understand the needs of the most vulnerable living in our societies, and it will be easier to create a better and more sustainable world for everyone.

Why is charity important?

Charity is important for many reasons. Zakat (a kind of tax benefitting charities) is one of the five pillars of the Muslim religion. Christians are taught to help others less fortunate than themselves, and many other religions advocate charitable acts as a means to finding a path to the divine. Charity helps remind us that we do not live alone in the world and the world is still far from being a just and equal place where all lives are valued and have equal opportunities. Many people are still living in poverty, distress or under repressive regimes, with few human rights, poor environmental conditions and unequal access to education, healthcare and basic resources.

It’s easy in the UK to forget sometimes about these issues and to focus only on our own problems. That’s why charity awareness days, weeks and the International Day of Charity are important – because they remind us of our duty as human beings towards other human beings. But it doesn’t just have to be about humans; there are charities out there that work to improve the lives of animals, bees, birds, historic buildings that help us understand our history and new technologies that could unlock our future. Being charitable offers us all a way to give something back, redress the imbalances and pay-it-forward for future generations. It allows us to and do something to help, however small, and in whatever way we can.

What can you do to get involved?

There are many ways to get involved in charity, be that as a fund-raiser, volunteer or advocate for the charity you are passionate about. The first step is to find a charity that you are passionate about and want to support and there are literally thousands of charities to choose from. You can browse for charities at Charity Choice, search by categories or location and find out more information and watch videos from the charities too.

If you want to help, there are a number of ways you can get involved either as an individual or as a setting:

  • Raising awareness of an issue
  • Holding events or supporting their campaigns
  • Raising money
  • Volunteering your time
  • Donating goods for sale through charity shops Joining an action group
  • Leaving money in a will
  • Buying goods and services the charity offers

Making a regular or one-off donationMost charities have websites where you can download supporter packs and get ideas for official events and challenges that you can get involved with if you don’t want to organise your own, or you’d like to work with other people.

Update from the Parenta Trust

The past year or so has, understandably, been a quiet time for fundraising – not only for Parenta Trust but for all charities; and as we head into the second half of 2021 and out of lockdown, fundraising for the remainder of the year is also likely to be very low key. We are very much hoping that 2022 will be an exciting year for the Trust with events like the Maidstone to Monaco Rally, the Parenta Ball, quiz nights and baking competition taking place, allowing us to raise vital funds for our sponsored children.

Some inspirational people

And if you need any more motivation to get involved this year, think about the work of these 3 amazing and inspiring people mentioned at the top of the article:

Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa was a Roman Catholic nun of Albanian-Indian descent, born in 1910. She travelled to India to become a missionary, and worked with the “poorest of the poor”. In 1950, she founded the Missionaries of Charity which had grown to a worldwide network of nuns working in over 133 countries by 2012. Although her life and beliefs were not without controversy, in 1979, she won the Nobel Peace Prize for her many years of charity work which inspired others, such as the late Princess Diana. She was made a saint in 1916, 19 years after her death in 1997. Read more here.

Captain Sir Tom Moore

Born Thomas Moore in 1920, ‘Captain Tom’ as he became known, served in India and Burma during the Second World War and managed a concrete company after retiring from the army. An unassuming man, he is now one of the best-known names in Britain and has been an inspiration to millions. In April 2020, at the age of 99, he began doing laps of his garden to raise an initial £1,000 for local NHS charities. He not only completed his 100 laps but raised over £30 million in the process, was knighted and had a no.1 record with “You’ll Never Walk Alone”. He died from coronavirus shortly after his 100th birthday. Read more here.

Max Woosey

In 2020, Max, (then aged 10) was inspired to start camping in his back garden after his friend and elderly neighbour gave him the tent “to have an adventure in”. Max set himself the goal of raising £100 for the North Devon Hospice where his friend was a patient. After his friend died, he continued his camping adventure, and has recently spent his 500th night under canvas, raising more than £640,000 so far. Read more here.

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