Positivity

On 17 of September, I attended the Social Good Summit 2017, which took place at 92 Street Y Club in New York. A diverse group of speakers and performers got together and vividly presented in nearly 40 panels what social good means to society. All of the panels were thought provoking and inspiring. Some put forward incredible performances for a diverse audience, which consisted of acting, singing, cooking and displaying innovative medical devices.

Social Good Summit 2017
Social Good Summit 2017

I particularly enjoyed Erika Ender’s panel called “A Conversation with Erika Ender.” Erika Ender, a famous singer and songwriter is from Panama. She performed several songs in an inspirational show. One of the strong messages of her truly moving songs was about young people growing up in modern society and needing more support and better opportunities to become productive members of society.

Madame Gandhi, a singer, activist from Los Angeles, as well as graduate from Harvard Business School, put on a video aimed at inspiring various segments of the society, especially young people, to work for social good, to which she dedicated her entire career. Madame Gandhi expressed the strong belief that social media is one of the most powerful tools to be used to motivate people to work towards achieving the U.N. sustainable development goals.

Benj Pasek, an American songwriter and composer pointed out that music can be a tremendously influential force in the society. He is a strong believer that music helps people of all ages, and the youth in particular is strongly influenced by music. Similarly, art can be very powerful in leading the young generation. Aaron Huey, National Geographic photographer stated that art is more than beauty and decoration. According to him, art can be a weapon and a shield, and it can be used as a compass for children, guiding them into the future.

The importance of the focus of the society on youth resonated throughout this incredibly moving and artistic gathering. Notably, according to the UN studies the youth group of age 15-24 was portrayed as key in terms of their potential to make a difference for the world and its future and help the world achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

It is interesting to note that the Social Good Summit in New York was echoing concerns that were expressed at the Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum organized by Horyou, the social network for social good, in Astana, Kazakhstan on 5-7 September 2017. At SIGEF 2017, Yonathan Parienti, CEO of Horyou pointed out: “we live in a world of exacerbated consumption at all levels that is seriously hindering the implementation of critical sustainable development goals. SIGEF 2017, is set to explore, define and share new ideas that advance social innovation and social good for a sustainable growth for all. It is clear that the involvement of the younger generation, that everywhere is acting for change, alongside stakeholders of all ages, is a positive indication that we are moving forward in the right direction of shaping better times to come.”

Many speakers at the Summit in New York echoed this positive message. No doubt, the youth can become truly productive members of the society if society invests in their education. Education for youth was one of the key themes in the Summit.

The statistics in relation to education worldwide demand urgent action. Statistics are one of the important indicators of progress highlighted in SDG 4, Education. According to statistics shared at Social Good Summit, half of the young people in the primary school age group regrettably are not in primary school, and nearly ¾ of youth in the secondary school age group are not in secondary school. In order to achieve the sustainable development goals by 2030, there is an acute need for urgent action. At the Summit, youth was portrayed as being key innovators to drive forward new products and designs. This age group is often receptive to and friendly with new technologies and trends. Hence, youth can influence United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 9, Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure.

Certainly, young people are significant in terms of influencing businesses. They look to companies for the latest trends, and companies, in turn, look to influence youth. Many speakers noted progress in achieving the sustainable development goals for businesses. The great majority of youth seem to care about the causes the business is supporting. Young people are also key drivers of innovation.

Youth may even be able to influence economic growth by becoming loyalty customers, long-term customers to the various brands. This will help shape the formation of businesses in terms of their demand patterns and various preferences in product selection. Customers who value the brand for the causes it stands for are likely to be both early adopters of new products, as well as loyalty customers, as they feel connection with the brand. As such, they will be a driving force behind the brands and thus contribute to both industry and economic growth, foreseen by SDG 9 and SDG 8, respectively.

Many speakers expressed strong views that to achieve the sustainable development goals youth and other sectors of society need proper housing, food, and affordable health care services. In regards to proper housing, SDG 11, it was pointed out that nearly 15 million children are currently on the move and lack permanent housing means. Being often on the move makes it difficult for them to complete school.

Poverty concerns figured highly on the agenda at the Summit. According to statistics shared at the meeting, while overall poverty levels have declined since 1990, a substantial part of the world still lives on less than 1 dollar per day. In this connection, many participants stressed substantial ongoing hunger in the world, while there is also a lot of food waste. This food could potentially be distributed among those who are in need in inexpensive and effective ways. One speaker expressed a particular view that billions of dollars can be made by alleviating hunger and providing other sustainability resources to people in acute poverty.

In regards to inadequate access to sustainable energy sources, it was stressed that twenty percent of people worldwide do not have access to electricity at all.

There is no affordable healthcare in many parts of the world. More than 400 million people still lack access to healthcare worldwide. This problem is substantial. Whoopi Goldberg eloquently stressed the particular problem of having people turned away from hospitals when they are ill. Some were in favor of universal healthcare coverage, as is the case in many countries, and argued that it would allow for more affordable healthcare.

Global warming was also stressed. Many urged to take proactive action on this important issue. While some highlighted that solutions have been constantly put off, others were alarmed that even one degree of warming is significant.

All agreed that it is important to give people a sense of worth through education, jobs, poverty reduction and access to various energy sources, pursuant to relevant Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. The Social Good Summit is an event that happens annually, and it is worthwhile attending it.

Written by Elena Tarrassenko

Horyou is the Social Network for Social Good, which connects, supports and promotes social initiatives, entrepreneurs, and citizens who help the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals to build a more harmonious and inclusive world. Horyou is also the host of SIGEF, the Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum, taking place in Astana, Kazakhstan during the EXPO 2017, from 5-7 September. We invite you to Be the Change, Be Horyou!

A Caravana Siga Bem, projeto da Companhia Brasileira de Marketing, uniu forças com a ONU para promover os Objetivos de Desenvolvimento Sustentável no Brasil. O projeto tem como público-alvo os caminhoneiros e a cadeia produtiva que envolve o setor de transportes no País. O Horyou Blog conversou com Phablo Gouvêa, sociólogo, especialista em sustentabilidade e coordenador de responsabilidade social da Caravana Siga Bem.

A Caravana Siga Bem se uniu à ONU para promover os Objetivos de Desenvolvimento Sustentável
A Caravana Siga Bem se uniu à ONU para promover os Objetivos de Desenvolvimento Sustentável

A Caravana Siga Bem já é um projeto estabelecido. Quando ele foi criado e com quais objetivos?

A Caravana Siga Bem está percorrendo as estradas do Brasil há mais de uma década. O projeto vem ao longo desses anos somando esforços com diversas empresas, governos, entidades e organizações sociais brasileiras espalhadas pelos quatro cantos do Brasil na promoção dos direitos humanos dos caminhoneiros, em uma série de ações como palestras, serviços gratuitos de saúde e apresentações de projetos sociais. Desde 2003, já acompanhávamos o nascimento do “Disque 100” a partir das discussões promovidas com a CPI que tratava da Exploração Sexual de Crianças e Adolescentes. Naquela época buscava-se uma clara definição sobre quais eram as políticas públicas necessárias ao enfrentamento de situações de violência sexual e o que precisava ser feito a partir dos relatos de abuso para oferecer um atendimento digno e eficaz para a cidadania, na prevenção e no resgate das crianças e adolescentes já vitimadas. No âmbito desse debate, o Siga Bem Criança surgia como o primeiro projeto brasileiro com foco exclusivo na comunidade estradeira para combater a exploração sexual infanto-juvenil e o turismo sexual nas rodovias. A iniciativa ganhou força com a adesão da Caravana Siga Bem, que, por sua vez, se tornou o maior projeto itinerante brasileiro, pioneiro no estabelecimento de diálogos com as comunidades em postos de combustíveis. Nesta última edição, atravessamos em nove meses, 22 estados da federação, centenas de cidades interioranas, litorâneas e a capital do País, tratando de temas extremamente complexos com um público que tem igualmente seus direitos humanos violados todos os dias.

É a primeira vez que a Caravana Siga Bem tem como foco os Objetivos de Desenvolvimento Sustentável. Quais os objetivos dessa parceria inédita?

Em 2016, a partir de um convênio firmado com a ONUBR, a Caravana Siga Bem se propôs ao desafio de divulgar Brasil a fora os 17 Objetivos do Desenvolvimento Sustentável (ODS) onde são previstas diversas ações globais nas áreas da saúde, educação, igualdade de gênero, erradicação da pobreza, redução das desigualdades, mudança do clima, entre outros. Nosso objetivo de norte a sul do País, vai ao encontro do lema desta ação: “não deixar ninguém para trás”. Com isso, colaboramos com a iniciativa da ONUBR de promover em nossas carretas os três pilares essenciais dessa estratégia mundial: a erradicação da pobreza, o combate à desigualdade social e conter as mudanças climáticas. Em comemoração a essa parceria inédita a Caravana Siga Bem apresentou a peça teatral “Ó Xente! E os Direitos da Gente?”, que tem o clássico Dom Quixote de La Mancha, de Miguel de Cervantes, como referência para mostrar a busca dos cidadãos pela conquista e exercício dos direitos humanos. Na peça, os 17 ODS são tratados como importante mecanismo de construção de uma sociedade mais justa e igualitária, trazendo à comunidade estradeira que, em boa parte, nunca assistiu a um espetáculo de teatro, a emergência da Agenda 2030 da ONU e o conhecimento de suas agências e programas. Na peça, escrita por Josemir Medeiros e com direção de Tito Teijido, a figura quixotesca é encarnada por um caminhoneiro que, durante a sua viagem, precisa combater os “monstros” com os quais se depara. Os “monstros” são inimigos que tiram da população a possibilidade de uma vida digna ao cerceá-la de direitos básicos como: educação, saúde, condições dignas de trabalho, tolerância à diversidade e o respeito ao meio ambiente. A peça é encenada pelos próprios caminhoneiros e produtores do projeto e acontecem à noite. Segundo o diretor artístico do projeto, “a missão do teatro é explicitar para esse público o discurso transformador que também é a missão da Caravana Siga Bem, tida como a Caravana dos Direitos Humanos. Como a encenação é para seus pares o resultado da mensagem é muito mais eficaz. É um discurso de igual para igual”.

Entre agosto de 2016 e março de 2017, na Caravana Siga Bem, aproximadamente 4.325 mil caminhoneiros tiveram a pressão arterial aferida, 2.884 testes de glicemia foram executados, 2.049 vacinações contra febre amarela, tétano e hepatites virais foram aplicadas, 1.952 testes rápidos de HIV/Aids e sífilis realizados, milhares de folhetos sobre os 17 objetivos de desenvolvimento sustentável bem como sobre as DST’s foram distribuídos juntamente com preservativos. Além desses serviços, também foram feitas medidas da circunferência abdominal, orientações sobre ergonomia e uso indiscriminado de álcool e drogas sintéticas, alavancando bons resultados na promoção dos ODS no Brasil. Blockquote

O teatro é uma ferramenta de debate sobre direitos sociais
O teatro é uma ferramenta de debate sobre direitos sociais

Quais são alguns dos marcos desse projeto?

A parceria firmada entre a Cobram – Companhia Brasileira de Marketing (empresa que realiza a Caravana Siga Bem) – e a ONUBR, na promoção dos 17 ODS, é uma forma de demonstrar o compromisso da empresa com a Agenda 2030 e suas metas. Isto já havia se tornado evidente quando a empresa aderiu, em 2015, ao WEPs (traduzido do inglês como Princípio de Empoderamento das Mulheres), iniciativa da ONU Mulheres para o empoderamento feminino no ambiente de negócios. Neste sentido, a Cobram se abriu à capacitação interna sobre esse assunto tendo parcerias como a Cepia e o Instituto Patrícia Galvão, fomentou o selo Siga Bem Mulher, divulgou a Lei Maria da Penha entre os caminhoneiros, promoveu o Ligue 180, articulando centenas de secretarias municipais, organizações sociais e a partiipação de gestoras públicas com mandato de implementação de políticas para as mulheres nas palestras da Caravana Siga Bem. Isso ressalta a participação das mulheres em um segmento notadamente conhecido como masculinizado, machista e misógino. Em 2017, a Cobram se tornou empresa signatária da Rede Brasileira do Pacto Global, fundado em 2003 e que representa hoje a 4ª maior rede local, com mais de 700 signatários. Atuando em parceria com o Programa das Nações Unidas para o Desenvolvimento (PNUD), está sob a gestão de um comitê com 36 organizações de referência em sustentabilidade e empresas líderes em setores estratégicos para a economia brasileira.

ACaravana Siga Bem promove discussões sobre direito das mulheres
ACaravana Siga Bem promove discussões sobre direito das mulheres

Como funciona essa parceria entre os caminhoneiros e o projeto? Porque o foco neste público em especial?

Apesar dos caminhoneiros movimentarem boa parte da nossa economia, esta categoria tem nos seus desafios diários os seus direitos humanos violados constantemente. Diante disso, nas mais de 100 paradas em postos de combustíveis espalhados pelos quatro cantos do País, a Caravana Siga Bem vem buscando impulsionar a garantia desses direitos e chamar a atenção de toda a comunidade estradeira para aderirem a Agenda 2030.

A Caravana Siga Bem tem seu foco no caminhoneiro. Mas, em geral, quando as pessoas observam um caminhão na estrada, chama mais atenção o veículo do que o sujeito que dirige a máquina. O caminhoneiro passa por invisível. Isto revela o enorme desafio que temos pela frente. Segundo o Departamento Nacional de Trânsito (Denatran), em todo o Brasil há uma frota de caminhões que ultrapassa os dois milhões. Em relação ao transporte de cargas no sistema rodoviário, de acordo com dados da Agência Nacional de Transportes Terrestres (ANTT), há mais de 600 mil registros de transportadores autônomos em circulação. No território brasileiro 58% da mercadoria que circula no sistema rodoviário é responsabilidade do transporte de cargas. Temos, portanto um enorme campo de atuação na emancipação dos direitos humanos desse grupo, na promoção do direito do caminhoneiro aos mecanismos básicos de justiça, saúde e aos tratamentos existentes indispensáveis na construção de sua cidadania e de uma sociedade mais justa e igualitária.

A Caravana oferece serviços de saúde, palestras e orientação aos caminhoneiros.
A Caravana oferece serviços de saúde, palestras e orientação aos caminhoneiros.

O Brasil é um país continental cortado por estradas, e os caminhoneiros são atores importantes nessa aproximação de diferentes culturas e estados. Conte um pouco dos objetivos da Caravana Siga Bem em 2017.

O caminhoneiro é o profissional de um segmento da nossa economia de grande relevância no abastecimento e transporte de cargas, grãos, vestuário, remédios, etc. É pela estrada, em boa parte, que chega até nossas casas tudo aquilo que precisamos para o nosso cotidiano. A emergência da Agenda 2030 busca promover o reconhecimento da insustentabilidade do consumo desenfreado, das mudanças na temperatura do planeta e a necessidade de erradicação da pobreza em todas as suas dimensões. Estes são os maiores desafios da humanidade e, portanto, um requisito indispensável para a manutenção da qualidade da vida no planeta Terra para as próximas gerações segundo a ONU. Em 2017 continuaremos a juntar esforços com a sociedade, governos, empresas signatárias, organizações da sociedade civil, articuladores de redes, movimentos sociais, caminhoneiros, estradeiros e profissionais rodoviários para levar à todos os cantos do País esta poderosa mensagem na promoção do desenvolvimento sustentável e de uma cultura de paz.

The talented Japanese singer Miou is a humanist who wants to heal people’s hearts and promote world peace through her music. Her uniqueness and originality were displayed before the SIGEF 2016 audience as a performer during the Horyou Foundation Dinner in Marrakesh, as well as a panelist discussing the power of art in promoting positive change in our society. In the interview below, Miou talks about her personal experiences, plans and dreams for the future.

Miou performing at SIGEG 2016, in Marrakesh
Miou performing at SIGEG 2016, in Marrakesh

1. Tell  us about your relationship with music: have you always wanted to become a singer?

I have always loved music. I have played piano for 20 years and alto horn and trumpet in the school brass band club and took singing lessons. But it was always a hobby to me and I never dreamt of becoming a professional musician. I wanted to set up a band but I didn’t know what to do. So I asked my friends who had a band and they suggested to me to search for my band members on the internet. There was a website for that. So I did it and I met one person, listened to his songs and we decided to make a band together. His music was fusion Japanese, very unique, and reminded me of my experience as an international beauty pageant. I sang a Japanese traditional song as a national talent at the International pageant in Malaysia (Miss Tourism Queen of the Year International). All the contestants were from different nationalities. But even if they didn’t understand the language, they loved the sound so much and the reaction was so good. And I felt “I am Japanese”. National tradition made me feel unique and original on the international stage. Since then, I have been trying to fuse traditional Japanese sound and modern western beat together, to create a “East meets West” crossover.

2.   What does music represent for you?

I was Miss Japan for various international beauty pageants and had a chance to represent my country and introduce Japanese culture to the world. Besides music, I studied education and medicine (nursery). I loved teaching and taking care of people in need. I have always liked to communicate with people. So I think my music is reflecting my personal experience and is a tool to convey my messages and communicate with people. I can teach and educate through music, I can heal people’s hearts through music as well. Music, culture and art have a strong power to convey messages and to change the world.

3.   What would you like to achieve as a singer?

I would like to heal people’s hearts through my music. I want to convey positive messages and promote world peace. Love ourselves, love our country, love our neighbours, love this planet, love our lives. The most important message is ”Love”. I like travelling as well and I want to sing around the world. Part of this dream came true in 2009, when I sang at the UNESCO’s world heritage site, the Basilica of Santa Croce in Florence, Italy. I would like to do it more often!

4.   You made a performance during the SIGEF 2016 in Marrakesh – how do you evaluate this experience?

It was a great experience for me. As a Japanese artist, I have always cared about our environment. I believe everything is alive on Earth and we have to respect life, this planet is our mother and our home. If we hurt our planet, it is going to be difficult for us to live. If we take more care of this planet, it will be a better place for us to live in. Everything we do to the earth will come back to us. Some of my songs are also reflecting my respect and feelings towards nature, and messages to rethink about the environment and take an action to protect our mother land and home. So coming to Morocco to SIGEF was a very good experience for me as I felt I shared the same feelings and messages. I was inspired by others and I want to be the one to inspire others as well. I hope SIGEF continues to bring messages of respect of nature and world peace for more years to come.

5. What does social innovation mean to you? Do you have any cause you identify yourself with?

The social innovation and technology we have been experiencing is a great thing. This new evolution is allowing more people to share their views and bring their voices and feelings to the world. This is helping everyone, no matter who they are or where they are from. It is also helping people like me, artists in general, as we now have more ways to reach out to our audience globally. As for me, I aim to bring Japan to the world with my music, and also share a message of harmony with the nature.

6. Do you have a project for 2017 that you would like to share with our community?

I am set to perform at Etna Comics 2017 in Sicily. When it comes to the Japanese culture, animes and comics are very popular and well known worldwide. However, we have not only pop culture, but also many other traditional and chic culture as well. I want to present aspects of Japanese traditional culture such as “KIREI(beautiful)” or “SHIBUI(chic)” “KAKKOII(cool)” styles at pop culture festivals as well. And I’m currently planning to write a song for an international movie about Japan.

7.   Horyou’s tagline is dream, inspire and act. What do these words mean to you?

I think ACT is very important to make our dreams come true. Pursuing our dreams would INSPIRE others to take an action. We can always DREAM how we want to be. If we ACT, DREAM will become reality, our dreams will INSPIRE others to DREAM and ACT. Everything starts from dreaming, taking one action. We can inspire others to dream and act! Nothing is impossible.

SIGEF Project Awards winner talks about her action in Latin America

El Pozo de Vida, the SIGEF Awards winner of 2016
El Pozo de Vida, the SIGEF Awards winner of 2016

This year’s edition of SIGEF focused on innovative solutions for a better future in various fields such as social entrepreneurship, technology, climate, environment and sustainability. In this perspective, SIGEF hosted exceptional speakers, innovators, entrepreneurs and philanthropists all along the conference to defend their ideas and make a positive change in the world.

As every year, a SIGEF project awards ceremony was organized to celebrate the best participating projects that contribute to advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and promote social good around the world. This year, 20 projects were presented to a jury of international experts and specialists in different fields. The winner of this year’s competition was “El Pozo de Vida A.C.”, an organization that grapples with human trafficking and sexual exploitation through innovative prevention strategies, integral support to victims, empowerment, healing and opportunities for girls and women coming out of the sex industry.

“We work against human trafficking, not just child trafficking but also adult human trafficking because we believe in freedom for everyone.” says Kathleen Gately de Delgado. Kathleen is a young passionate woman, who came all the way from Mexico to Marrakech to represent her organization and share her interest with the rest of the world. “El Pozo de Vida” is operating mainly in Mexico, Guatemala and Brazil. It started six years ago by building a safe home for underage trafficking survivors. Later, the team opened a transition home for girls over 18. Today, “El Pozo de Vida” is operating in two more employment programs. One for women who are 23 to 52 years old working in the red light district, and another for migrants in immigration centers. “In these programs we use development, education, vocational training, psychological and medical care to reach to and help them heal from human trafficking“, says Kathleen.

El Pozo de Vida’s team focuses on prevention of human trafficking on a large scale for better efficiency. First, their concept was about sharing human trafficking victim’s stories on DVDs; but they soon realized that DVDs were outdated and that people were now using smartphones. Thus the virtual reality simulators. They called this prevention program “Awake”. It’s already been launched in Mexico with five five female victims from different places in the world telling their upsetting stories. “The reason trafficking happens is because people dehumanize another person. But, when you hear their voices, when you see them face to face, you connect with them and no longer see them as a statistic, but as a real person”, explains Kathleen.

Also, through virtual reality, the viewer gets closer to the portrayed person. “Hearing and knowing that these are their words, this is what they wanted to say, and these are the questions they have for the world. There is something that touches your heart”, she adds. And these virtual reality simulators did make real change; in schools, for example, children and parents now have a better understanding of the dangers of human trafficking and sexual exploitation. “When we show the program, for example, they don’t get to go right away to the happy ending, because the idea is to talk about what trafficking is and what’s happens after. The story in the middle until the final end gets someone to say: I want to make a difference”. The idea is to screen it in schools and stimulate students to “make a difference” just with small gestures, like sharing on social media and starting to see the dangers.

Kathleen cried when receiving the SIGEF2016 award for best project. On this matter, she expressed gratitude to Horyou and enthusiasm to do more for her organization in the future.

Written by Ghada Jalal

Breast Cancer Awareness Ribbons
Breast Cancer Awareness Ribbons

October is the month of breast cancer awareness. According to the World Health Organization, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women both in the developed and less developed world. However, due to the lack of early detection or resources to treat the disease, 58% of deaths caused by breast cancer occur in poorer countries.

For this reason, many cancer organizations and national health offices join forces to spread the word about the disease. At least one third of cancer causes are preventable – it is the most cost-effective and long-term strategy for the control of cancer. Even with few resources, women can detect lumps, swelling or painful parts or rashes trough self exams. They are all attention signs that should require further exams.

Besides raising awareness and spreading the word about breast cancer prevention, you can support the Pink October Campaign by funding or volunteering in one of the many organizations that support cancer research, alleviation and treatment. Our Horyou community gathers some of them – click on the links and discover more about their work!

You can participate in social events in your city, such as bike rides and runs, which help to bring attention to the cause, or even talk to women in your entourage to be sure they will take care of their health. Act for breast cancer awareness!

Want to help?

Here are some Horyou members who support or are engaged in the cause, and join the campaign.

Fundação Laço Rosa https://www.horyou.com/org/fundacao-laco-rosa

Keep a breast https://www.horyou.com/organization/keep-a-breast

Campanha de combate ao câncer de Araçatuba https://www.horyou.com/organization/campanha-de-combate-ao-cancer-de-aracatuba

The Herts Milk Bank https://www.horyou.com/org/the-hertfordshire-milk-bank-cic

IBRAPPER https://www.horyou.com/org/instituto-brasileiro-de-apoio-e-pesquisas-a-pacientes-oncologicos-em-reflexologias

Celebrated on August 19th, the World Humanitarian Day was a date to be remembered in 2016. Following the launch of a strong digital campaign called “Would you rather” whereby internet users had to figure themselves in the skin of refugees, the UN has also organized a concert to raise awareness of humanitarian assistance worldwide.

Jan Eliasson participates of wreath-laying ceremony to mark anniversary of UN Headquarters bombing in Baghdad
Jan Eliasson participates of wreath-laying ceremony to mark anniversary of UN Headquarters bombing in Baghdad

During the event, the UN Deputy Secretary-General, Jan Eliasson, called for increased global leadership to address humanitarian crises. “Today, the scale of human suffering is greater than any time since the United Nations was founded. A record 130 million people are now dependent on the United Nations and our many partners for protection and survival because of conflict, disaster or acute vulnerability. On World Humanitarian Day, let us all recommit to humanity and ask what we can each do to make a difference,” he said.

The World Humanitarian Day reminisces the August 19th 2003 bombing of the United Nations in Baghdad. Since 2008, the date celebrates the volunteers and professionals all around the world who risk their lives to build a better tomorrow. The UN efforts answer an increased demand for humanitarian actions – in 2016 only, 130 million women, men and children in 40 countries are in need of urgent assistance and protection: the highest number since the end of World War II.

“In crises around the world, from Syria to South Sudan, people are forced to make impossible choices – risking violence for food or risking drowning in search of a safe haven – choices that most of us can barely imagine,” warned UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Stephen O’Brien. “We call on all global citizens to show solidarity, use their voice and demand that world leaders take action.”

In the New York United Nations headquarters, a commemorative event was organized with the attendance of the renowned Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, “Game of Thrones” actress Natalie Dormer, “Arab Idol” winner Mohammed Assaf, Tony Award winner and former “Hamilton” star Leslie Odom Jr., “Quantico” actress Yasmine Al Massri and Season 10 “The Voice” winner Alisan Porter.

Lebanese actress Yasmine Al Massri introduces Hala Kamil, subject of the the documentary 'Children of Syria,' at the One Humanity event
Lebanese actress Yasmine Al Massri introduces Hala Kamil, subject of the the documentary ‘Children of Syria,’ at the One Humanity event

Syrian refugee Hala Kamil, who fled Aleppo with her four children to find safety in Germany, also shared her story, which became the subject of the film “Watani, My Homeland”, and called on world leaders to uphold their responsibilities to help the people who are forced to flee their homes. The call to action follows the World Humanitarian Summit, which took place in May in Istanbul, where the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon summoned global leaders to support Agenda for Humanity. The five-point plan highlights the changes we, as a society, need to promote to alleviate suffering, reduce risk and lessen vulnerability on a global scale. Governments, humanitarian organizations and the private sector heve committed to take actions to achieve the Agenda, although a funding shortage threatens humanitarian operations – the United Nations and its partners have received less than a third of the US$21.6 billion required to meet the most urgent needs in 2016.

In a night to remember, the UN, along with artists, personalities and refugees made the call – is the world ready to listen? Find more at www.worldhumanitarianday.org

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