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International Day of Charity: Fostering Compassion, Embracing Generosity

Written by Danika Amandari Djuanda, Content Writer Intern at Project Child Indonesia

The Individual and the Community

We all have distinctive identities, beliefs, and aspirations as independent individuals. Regardless, we are inherently social beings, and our lives are deeply intertwined with those around us. The notion of the individual and the community is fascinating, complex, and is important to realize as we navigate the delicate balance between our needs and those of the larger group. However, a force exists, embodying our shared humanity and the capacity to achieve positive change. That force is charity.

The Heartbeat of Charity and The Life It Brings

Charity, in its essence, is the act of giving without expecting—under one’s own free will. Specifically, it is a language of empathy manifested through selfless actions of many forms, ranging from tangible donations to intangible contributions, all relying on generosity. According to the University of Notre Dame’s Science of Generosity Project, generosity is “giving good things to others freely and abundantly.” That is to say, it is the unselfish act of providing others with time, effort, money, or goods.

Compassion is a primary factor linked to generosity. The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley defines it as the “feeling that arises when you are confronted with another’s suffering and feel motivated to relieve that suffering.” The concern that comes with compassion leads to the quality of generosity. In other words, compassion is the heartbeat of charity, giving life to generosity. Unquestionably, they share an intricate bond, as one cannot sustain without another.

A Global Reminder

Amidst a society where many appear to be consumed by individual pursuits, a day stands as a gentle reminder of the power of altruism. Likewise, within a world that often thrives on material gain, a day prompts us to pause, reflect, and reconnect with the essence of philanthropy. The International Day of Charity is a powerful reminder of the significance of generosity and compassion in our world.

Designated by the United Nations, this day is celebrated once a year on September 5th. It was established to sensitize and mobilize people and organizations to become active changemakers through volunteer and philanthropic endeavors. With this in mind, the day coincides with the anniversary of the passing of Mother Teresa, a worldwide symbol of selfless devotion to others. It is a day that transcends cultural, social, and geographical barriers, urging us all to embrace our collective responsibility toward one another.

Uniting For Collective Action

The notions of ‘I’ (representing the individual) and ‘us’ (signifying the community) are inextricably linked, like compassion and generosity; one cannot persist without the other. Henceforth, As we celebrate the International Day of Charity, embracing the spirit of unity is a clarion call. It must be remembered that change cannot precipitate in the hands of one, but it can in the hands of many.

The challenges we face, environmental, socio-economic, or humanitarian, concern us all. Thus, let us be inspired by the legacy of those who dedicated their lives to the service of others, and let us extend a helping hand. For in charitable gestures lies a power that has the potential to reshape the world—one act of kindness at a time.


Allen, S. (2018). The Science of Generosity. https://ggsc.berkeley.edu/images/uploads/GGSC-JTF_White_Paper-Generosity-FINAL.pdf

Compassion Definition | What Is Compassion? (n.d.). Greater Good; The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley. https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/topic/compassion/definition#what-is-compassion

Nations, U. (n.d.). International Day of Charity. United Nations. https://www.un.org/en/observances/charity-daySmith, C. (2014, May 27). What Makes Us Generous? Generosityresearch.nd.edu. https://generosityresearch.nd.edu/news/what-makes-us-generous/