Today, on the International Day of Charity, we celebrate our generous donors and volunteers who are helping to end poverty. The United Nations hopes through this day to mobilise people around the world to help others through volunteer and philanthropic activities.
September 5th was chosen for International Day of Charity to commemorate the anniversary of the passing of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, a renowned Catholic nun and missionary who devoted her life to helping families living in poverty and sickness.
According to the United Nations, “Charity, like the notions of volunteerism and philanthropy, provides real social bonding and contributes to the creation of inclusive and more resilient societies. Charity can alleviate the worst effects of humanitarian crises and supplement public services in health care, education, housing and child protection. It also promotes the rights of the marginalised and underprivileged and spreads the message of humanity in conflict situations.”
The generosity of Opportunity International Australia’s supporters enables us to address poor health, which is one of the key challenges keeping families trapped in poverty generation after generation. If a woman is chronically unwell, chances are she won’t be able to work in her business—and she will lose the income she depends on to support her family. And if children are constantly sick, they miss a lot of school, which reduces their learning outcomes and later employment prospects. Medical costs are often prohibitive and for many families, just one hospitalisation can push them into poverty.
To end poverty, we must address the issue of poor health. This is why Opportunity International Australia, through your generosity, supports a program in India and Indonesia that trains women to be health leaders who educate local families about basic health and hygiene.
Jessica Carter, Opportunity’s Asia Health Program Director, says: “Women who train to be health leaders are taught about basic health care and nutrition. We are talking about the knowledge to wash hands, use a toilet, or drink clean water, and these simple changes have life-saving impacts. The health leaders are also able to sell health-related products and services like sanitary napkins or refer people to health care providers.”
Radhika, a health leader in India and her daughter Priti
"Opportunity’s health leader program is led by local women who know their communities intimately and can speak to families in ways that resonate with them.”
“We have evidence this program is working,” Jessica Carter adds. “Over five years, we have been able to prove that what we are doing is making a difference and that these women are improving health outcomes in their communities. They are also able to increase their income and lessen gender inequalities in their communities.”
“Over five years, thanks to the generosity of Opportunity supporters, we’ve been able to improve the health of over five million people at a cost of less than $5 per family. That’s the power of health and microfinance working together,” she explains.
Addressing the problem of poor health is essential if we are to end poverty. When families and communities are healthy, they are able to unlock their full potential.
This International Day of Charity, we pay tribute to Opportunity’s generous supporters as well as all people who are investing their time and resources to end poverty.
If you’d like to help end poverty this International Day of Charity click here.