OF HUMAN BONDING

human-spirit

Let’s return one more time to the natural disasters that occurred almost all over, this past month. Typhoon Hato hit Hong Kong, hurricane Harvey struck Houston and about the same time flood havoc created calamity in Mumbai. Days prior to these events at least five Indian states experienced severe flooding heaping misery on hapless people. Large areas of Bangladesh underwent flooding brought on by heavy downpours. Nepal suffered landslides in the wake of dense rains when homes were destroyed and people swept away.

The UN reckons nearly 41 million people in Bangladesh, India and Nepal alone directly suffered ill effects of the disastrous monsoons.  Even as these catastrophes unfolded in different regions, the one symbiotic feature that was visible in them was the tendency of the human nature to bond and band together, offering care, kindness and support to help people survive.  Ordinary life as they knew it came to a grinding halt, but it was the sympathy of strangers that helped in bringing equanimity to situations that were beyond immediate control.

It was this sense of togetherness in the face of misfortune that remains a measure of  our humaneness. This shining aspect turned out to be a singular attribute offering hope, strength and fortitude. The inherent spiritedness of humans came to the fore when people in cities, towns and communities suffered. With commuting systems at a standstill and people stranded with nothing at hand, it was the kindness of complete strangers that helped assuage the difficult situations.

Social media was ablaze with images of victims caught up in different kinds of predicaments. And we also saw images of people queuing up to volunteer to help victims get out of their plight. This makes us believe in the fact that there are more good people in this world than bad people. Complete outsiders came forward to assist people to cope with the crisis in a spirit of altruism. We saw accounts of people checking on neighbors and friends, sharing food and sharing information, and offering shelter to absolute strangers.

Kindness is definitely contagious! Not only ordinary folks but corporate offices, religious centers and government agencies too opened doors for one and all. It is this concern and support of people who are not kith and kin that really warms the cockles of the heart. Just imagine someone wet, shivering, stranded with no place to go, is suddenly made welcome, and offered a towel, tea and a dry spot! Mumbai in particular is fortunate to have enjoyed such people-centric cooperation in the face of on-going catastrophes.

It is this nameless-faceless mass of people offering speedy resourcefulness, is what is so significant. Their altruism went beyond themselves even at the cost to their own selves. Yet they continued to dole it all – kindness in adversity, unmatched improvisations and support for survival. How does one even begin to understand this language of kindness! More so when emotions are distraught and people pulled willy-nilly into a mindless chaos. Yet they continued reaching out with compassion and concern to assist fellow brethren.

Positive social response brings so many people to come forward to help total strangers. It is this human connection cutting across races and countries that needs to be fueled to facilitate a collective survival spirit. With global economy and global environment so intricately intertwined so as to generate forces that spark off natural disasters to go amuck, we need to enlarge this sphere of humanitarian resilience to ward off potential threats and to learn to survive bigger odds. A case in point is the man-created aggression provoked by nuclear warhead tests that are currently on. It’s a time to remain calm and sane fellow humans!

World Humanitarian Day

 

August 19 is designated as World Humanitarian Day by the United Nations General Assembly as part of a Swedish-sponsored GA Resolution on the Strengthening of the Coordination of Emergency Assistance of the United Nations. The day commemorates the tragic loss of Vieira de Mello and his 21 colleagues along with all humanitarian personnel who made the ultimate sacrifice while relieving the suffering of victims of humanitarian crises.

The day keeps the spirit of humanitarian efforts alive while offering the rationalist outlook for adopting the notion of an ethical stance to emphasize the value of human beings, individually and collectively. Humanitarianism reflects a democratic and ethical affirmation that human beings have the right and responsibility to give meaning and shape to their own lives. Humanitarian vision stands for the building of a more humane society.

World Humanitarian Day 2017 campaigns with the theme ‘Not A Target’ and dedicates the day to recognize humanitarian personnel and others who have lost their lives working for humanitarian causes. It marks the day on which the then Special Representative of the Secretary-General to Iraq, Sérgio Vieira de Mello and 21 of his colleagues were killed in the bombing of the UN Headquarters in Baghdad.

Around the world, conflict is exacting a massive toll on people’s lives. Trapped in wars that are not of their making, millions of civilians are forced to hide or run for their lives. Children are taken out of school, families are displaced from their homes, and communities are torn apart, while the world is not doing enough to stop their suffering. At the same time, health and aid workers – who risk their lives to care for people affected by violence – are increasingly being targeted.

For WHD 2017, humanitarian partners are coming together to reaffirm that civilians caught in conflict are #NotATarget. Through a global online campaign featuring an innovative partnership with Facebook Live, together with events held around the world, voices are being raised to advocate for those most vulnerable in war zones, and demand that world leaders do everything their power to protect civilians in conflict.

This campaign follows on the UN Secretary-General’s report on protection of civilians, which was launched earlier this year. Laying out his ‘path to protection’, the Secretary-General calls for enhanced respect for international humanitarian and human rights law, and protection of civilians, including humanitarian and medical workers as well as civilian infrastructure. World Humanitarian Day 19 August, 2017 pays tribute to aid workers who risk their lives in humanitarian service, and to rally support for people affected by crises around the world.

Thus Far And More…

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Dr Amol Deshmukh – Founder HERD Foundation

HERD Foundation began operations in 2006 as a registered non-governmental organization delivering medical care, educational awareness and rural development initiatives. Concurrently it has been undertaking innovative programmes that highlight women’s issues and humanism. The vision is to undertake short term and long term projects that help change societal perceptions for a more balanced public and civic life.

Never since the launch of HERD Foundation have we felt so comfortable than in our position this past year in delivering planned and unplanned programmes for outreach of causes that are dear to us. The Foundation continues working on issues we consider essential for reaching out with our planned objectives. The most important of these is to ensure medical care and health benefits to the poorest communities.

Herein three main areas of intervention that stand out are – regular medical camps, organizing basic life support skill-trainings and ensuring smooth run of the Pauni Tribal Clinic. These were instrumental in upholding the cause of healthcare delivery wherever needed. The committed group of team-members steps up compassionately to give more of themselves, their time – often beyond regular office hours, to continue to make the world a better place for the less fortunate.

With a common desire to invest in life-changing work HERD Foundation works with missionary zeal to reach out to people in the project areas. The organization continues with its tradition of being in the fore front with considered responses to emergent situations. As such we undertake diverse initiatives to undertake activities that range from joining in for the International March Against Monsanto, distribute woolens to the needy, undertake career counseling for students and oversee international pediatric surgery camp.

Aside from direct medical humanitarian aid we also act as change makers in these communities for awareness creation through empowerment efforts across the rural landscape. We address issues like unemployment, gender discrimination, quality education, as also initiating rural sports. We are particularly grateful for the leadership and contributions of Dr Amol Deshmukh in offering a tremendous legacy and a strong base to take the intentions of HERD Foundation forward.

Dr Suchika Gupta Deshmukh as the key figure, who builds upon the founding vision, is adept at translating dreams into reality and to this end guides the in-house team of talented and dedicated staff to deliver key result areas for the organization. HERD Foundation has over this period of time invested in areas that have greatly amplified the organization’s impact. We continue with well-founded plans to reach more people with each passing year.

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Dr Suchika Gupta Deshmukh – Co-founder HERD Foundation

Celebrating Mighty Hearts – World Humanitarian Day

Holding Hands

Offering Aid and Assistance

August 19 celebrated as World Humanitarian Day is dedicated to aid workers who have lost their lives in the line of duty. This year the spotlight of this special day is to look to the people who work in this gray area. 2014 celebrates August 19 by looking at humanitarian heroes, people from different backgrounds who work at the same goal – saving lives and providing the basics of life to the most vulnerable caught in disasters and conflict.

These humanitarians working namelessly and selflessly are your everyday heroes. The world over there is no difference in such people in term of ages, races, genders, religions, beliefs. And although they come from all parts of the world they share a common belief – that people affected by disaster and conflict are entitled to the basics of life – food, water, shelter, protection, and a life of dignity that’s been snatched away by disaster or conflict.

Little attention is paid to volunteers who offer time, sentiments and helping hands. They do work in dangerous situations. The UN has marks this day to honor people who dedicate their lives in making a difference to the lives of victims of disasters. The EU too assists as the world´s largest humanitarian aid donor to support such work that involves helping on-the-spot, organizing logistics, reconstructing infrastructure or training locals.

In the wake of frequent disasters the world recognizes the role of these mighty hearts that extend helping hands at recovery and relief. Be it Haiyan in the Philippines or Sandy in the US, aid and assistance is offered overwhelmingly. Humanitarian heroes came in hundreds from all over to do what they can to bring about assistance and normalcy.  They emit the loud message that no one is alone and stand up to support the crestfallen.

Humanitarians are welcomed and thanked everywhere. But a humanitarian’s life is not easy. These heroes make their own sacrifices as they devote themselves to humanitarian work. They may have left family behind, live uncomfortably and even meagerly for months on end. They survive on their own inner strength to stay in charge. On this World Humanitarian Day HERD Foundation salutes all humanitarians safeguarding the less fortunate and joins in celebrating the spirit of humanitarian work around the world.

 

Support and Relief

World Needs More Humanists