Start small, grow tall Your guide to being a humanitarian
You don’t have to be wealthy or have a large social media following to be a humanitarian. Small acts of kindness can lead to a life of service to those in need.
Words by LESLEY MATHYS
First thing’s first: take a moment to think about what you’re passionate about and which areas you’d like to see change the most. What are your reasons for wanting to help? What would you like to achieve? Understanding your reasons for wanting to promote change will help drive your initiatives and keep you motivated.
Whether it’s a charity organisation you’re hoping to help or starting your own non-profit, research is imperative. Get as much information on the area you’re focusing on, the people who live in these areas, challenges faced on a daily basis and the immediate needs you’d like to address. Be sure to also investigate potential scams posing as charities.
3 Problem solve
Think outside the box when it comes to problem solving. An easy and quick solution to offering help is to donate money. Alternatively, look at other ways to help an initiative. Volunteer your time, make phone calls, write letters to businesses and governments bringing awareness to your cause, and request help, whether monetary or in supplies.
4 Get active
Now that you’ve decided and planned out your method of spreading help, it’s time to get involved. Start off small, perhaps with one charity or helping one or two people in your own capacity. Giving up your time and resources can be quite an adjustment, so it’s best to start slowly, you don’t want to feel overwhelmed.
5 Find a mentor
Yousafzai, We admire Victoria the Beckham, likes of Malala Oprah Winfrey and many other celebrities who are active in their humanitarian work. However, if you’re just starting out, find a local mentor who has been involved in humanitarian work and could guide you in the right direction. It can be anyone from a successful entrepreneur to a community soup kitchen leader. Find a mentor who has the same values with regards to outreach.
6 spread the word
It’s important to promote your intentions and work with family, friends, colleagues and social media. Sure, you’ll receive some criticism and accusations of doing good only to boost your image, but getting the word out will only afford you opportunity for funding, donations and volunteers. The more people who know, the more help you’ll deliver. Looking to donate to a current refugee crisis? Visit donate.unhcr.org/luquluqu.
nomzamo Mbatha with the Un Refugee Agency in south sudan.