Zonta International honors real life heroes on World Humanitarian Day

On World Humanitarian Day, the world commemorates humanitarian workers killed and injured in the course of their work. At Zonta International, we also honor all those who continue to provide life-saving support and protection to those who need it most.

As the world continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, aid workers are facing unprecedented hurdles to assist people in humanitarian crises in 54 countries, as well as another nine countries that have been flung into humanitarian need by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Beirut, where an explosion on 4 August left at least 220 people dead and more than 100 missing, the United Nations in Lebanon and partners have mobilized to provide immediate humanitarian assistance.

While conflict and crises affect all people, women and girls face heightened risks due to displacement and the breakdown of normal protection structures and support, according to a 2016 ActionAid report. They are also responsible for more care-related tasks such as providing food and water and taking care of the sick.

"Humanitarians around the world put their lives at risk daily to protect vulnerable people—specifically women and girls," said Zonta International President Sharon Langenbeck. "We are grateful to these aid workers who have helped pave the way for us to create a better world."

This year on 19 August, the United Nations is “paying special tribute to the real-life heroes who have committed their lives to helping others in the most extreme circumstances throughout the world.” According to the UN, its campaign “focuses on what drives humanitarians to continue to save and protect lives despite conflict, insecurity, lack of access and risks linked to COVID-19.” The campaign will present the inspiring stories of humanitarians who are treating and preventing COVID-19, providing safe spaces for women and girls in lock down, delivering babies, running refugee camps, and more.

Zonta International invites its members to join the UN’s campaign by becoming part of the conversation. Use and follow the hashtag #RealLifeHeroes to share your own story, write about an inspiring humanitarian worker you know or just read others’ stories.

19 August 2020