World Humanitarian Day: Everything you need to know

On the 19th August we celebrate World Humanitarian Day. We honour those who have helped people involved in serious and dangerous conflicts. On this day we also remember the ones who lost their lives on the road, trying to assist millions and millions of people when disasters hit the World.


We still keep waiting for the days when no wars, terrorism attacks or any other forms of violence feed newspapers’ front pages. We keep waiting for the time that we won´t have to man’s ugliest face, the day when there is no longer a need for a World Humanitarian Day.

World Humanitarian Day 2013

World Humanitarian Day was designated by the General Assembly to coincide with the anniversary of the 2003 bomb attack on the United Nations headquarters in Bagdad (Iraq). 22 humanitarian staff tragically lost their lives, including the UN envoy, Sergio Vieira de Mello. Today, World Humanitarian Day aims to increase public awareness of humanitarian assistance activities all over the world.

Natural disasters affect about 211 million people each year, so unfortunately humanitarian aid is needed more and more in countries where poverty, hunger and poor health constantly endangers millions of people’s lives. Because of this, this date on the calendar is a chance to get closer to those who that left their warm and comfortable homes and travelled to the other side of the world, where the air is filled with fear and saddened eyes.

Helping in the WWI: Courageous women in sad days

History is full of conflicts where too many people had to deal with fear and the atrocity.  Next year will mark 100 years since the start of the First World War and today we ask ourselves what happened with those who contributed to the humanitarian cause?

Some of them left their homes and became ambulance drivers when the World War One was declared. Others travelled from their countries to the battlefield, where they assisted soldiers no matter what their origin and nationality was. Some stood at their posts whilst enemy fire was thrown at them, and others were killed when the enemy discovered they were helping Allied soldiers… The Great War hides many stories: Inspirational women that put their lives in danger to saving human lives.

When the Great World War began, the number of military nurses  rapidly expanded in Britain. Today, all these records are available at The National Archives for those who want to find out about the real past of the women who helped the world 100 years ago.


British nurses in the Great War

These are some of the greatest British nurses that history will never forget.

Originally from Wakefield (Yorkshire), nurse Nellie Spindler joined the Queen’s Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service Reserve in 1916. Less than one year later, she was posted to the 44th Casualty Clearing Station in Belgium where she soon died after the station was shell bombed during the battle.

Edith Cavell was a British nurse that helped Allied soldiers escape from German-occupied Belgium during World War One. In 1915, German soldiers arrested her for treason and finally she was sentenced to death by execution. Her body was brought back to Britain after the war and was sent off with a memorial service at Westminster Abbey.

Dorothie Feilding belonged to an aristocratic family in Warwickshire. When the war was declared, she became an ambulance driver with a volunteer unit stationed in Belgium.

Florence Farmborough moved from Britain to Russia in 1908 where she had different jobs. When war began, she joined the Imperial Russian army as a Red Cross nurse. But Farmborough not only assisted soldiers as a nurse, she also worked as a reporter for The Times and BBC Radio. 

Next 19th August is time to remember once again the heroines of the Great War.