Volunteer

Today is the International Volunteer Day!

The day aims to thank all volunteers for their efforts, and to highlight the importance of volunteer work in promoting peace and sustainable development across the globe.

International Volunteer Day holds a special importance for me. My first experience of real volunteer work happened, not so long ago, in 2009. I was on my last year in high school and decided to join the school’s Habitat for Humanity club. Habitat for Humanity is an organization that aims to help “families escape the nightmare of housing poverty.” Our high school club arranged various fundraising events throughout the school year, and in May ten of us travelled to Krabi, Thailand to help rebuild a home to one of the families who lost their house in a tsunami a couple of years before. For me the experience was both fun and exciting, but I now feel that I didn’t understand the full meaning of our work until much later.

Today is the International Day for Persons with Disabilities.

According to World Health Organization (WHO), 15% of the world’s population has a disability. That means one billion people worldwide, out of which 11 million reside in the UK.

The UN first established the International Day for Persons with Disabilities in 1992, and originally the day was called International Day of Disabled Persons. The UN day aims to promote understanding of disabilities worldwide, “and mobilise support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities.” In addition, the day  “seeks to increase awareness of gains to be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.”

Each year focuses on a different issue around disabilities. The theme for 2012 is “Removing barriers to create an inclusive and accessible society for all.”

Read more about disability and health, as well as the International Day for Persons with Disabilities, here.

Or, browse the BBC disability blog, Ouch! here.

Today is Universal Children’s Day, a day to remind people across the globe of the rights and welfare of children.

Children's Day highlights the importance of welfare.

The day was first established in 1954 by the General Assembly of the UN as a response to child labour. The day highlights the inhumane aspects of child labour: the long hours, dangerous work conditions, and denial of education.

In most countries, the situation of child labourers has improved drastically since 1954, but there are still over 215 million child labourers around the world today. The UN is worried about the current trends because it seems that the number of child labourers is on the rise in poorer countries.  The UN has therefore declared to eliminate child labour by 2020. This declaration fits into the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which all have a target date in 2015. Although the MDGs are for all human kind, they are primarily about children.

“We were all children once,” is the message from the secretary general on Universal Children’s Day.  “We all share the desire for the well-being of our children, which has always been and will continue to be the most universally cherished aspiration of humankind.”

Happy Universal Children’s Day everyone!

Read more:

World Day Against Child Labour – June 12th

Yes! There is even a World Toilet Day. So, how precious are our loos?World Toilet Day

It’s hard to imagine life without something we take for granted, but this is the daily reality for 2.6 billion people. 40 % of the world’s population does not have access to adequate sanitation. Lack of sanitation is the world’s biggest cause of infection. World Toilet Day aims to highlight the plight of those without access to sanitation. However, to bring a note of lavatory humour to this subject…

I recall a client of mine who made an inglorious cross-cultural marketing blunder and then asked me why. The client, a well-known pharmaceutical company, launched an advertising campaign in Japan, for  a medicine to settle a bad stomach. In Japan their advert ran along the following lines… showing someone feeling ill, taking medicine and feeling better.

World Toilet Day

But it failed miserably… Any idea why?  Click the link for the cross-cultural marketing blunder answer. Just for fun on World Toilet Day here are a few toilet signs that will make you smile:

This past week the world has been witnessing Global Entrepreneurship Week. The week ends today, and is the world’s largest campaign to promote entrepreneurship, taking place in 115 countries.

Bill Drayton is said to have coined the phrase "social entrepreneur."

The aim of the week is to introduce entrepreneurship to young people, improve people’s entrepreneurial skills, and help people access practical support both locally and globally.

The week emerged in 2008 in the United States, and since its creation, more than 10 million people from 102 countries on six different continents have participated in entrepreneurial-related activities. Workshops, conferences, exhibitions, socializing and networking events are only some examples of events that have been going on in the past seven days around the world. In the UK alone some 3000 events are taking place over this 7-day period.

This year’s theme, “Pass it on,” aims to encourage young entrepreneurs to share practical information about starting up and getting into business.

Here’s a quote from a famous social entrepreneur, Bill Drayton, to celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week:

“Social entrepreneurs are not content just to give a fish or teach how to fish. They will not rest until they have revolutionized the fishing industry.”

There has never been a greater international need to stop and think about tolerance and understanding.International Day of Tolerance Today is the International Day of Tolerance. The Day of Tolerance was created in 1996 after the 1995 United Nations Year of Tolerance.

The day is all about promoting tolerance between all people across the globe. It is vital for the sake of the environment, the economy, and our society that we create a tolerant world, where we can cooperate without prejudice or hatred.

In 2005, The World Summit Outcome document was updated. The document outlines a commitment by heads of state and government to advance human welfare, freedom and progress. It also encourages tolerance, respect,dialogue and cooperation among different cultures, civilisations and peoples.

Diwali is the Hindu Festival of Lights Diwali

Diwali is a five-day long celebration and means as much to Hindus as Christmas does to Christians. Diwali signifies the renewal of life and heralds the beginning of winter – when sowing crops can start.

Diwali is also a Sikh festival, especially celebrating the release from prison of the sixth guru, Hargobind, in 1619. However, Sikhs had celebrated Diwali for many years before that. The foundation stone of the Golden Temple at Amritsar, the holiest place in the Sikh world, was laid on Diwali in 1577. For Jains, Diwali marks the attainment of Moksha (Nirvana, or eternal bliss) by the founder of Jainism, Lord Mahavira.

Find out more about Diwali.

“We should never denigrate any other culture but rather help people to culture
understand the relationship between their own culture and the dominant culture. When you understand another culture or language, it does not mean that you have to lose your own culture.”

Edward T. Hall

11th Hour, of the 11th Day , of the 11th Month.poppy wreath

Armistice & Veterans Day is commemorated, especially in Europe and North America, in rememberance of the ending of the First World War. 11am on November 11th was the date chosen to end formal hostilities. The day is now used to remember all those who have lost their lives during war times. Although not a public holiday in Europe, a one-minute silence is observed at 11am. The nearest Sunday to the 11th traditionally is Remembrance Sunday when town officials place wreaths of poppies on their town’s memorials.

In Poland, 11th November is a national holiday and, besides Remembrance Day, it celebrates Polish Independence Day. In the USA, if Veterans’ Day happens to fall on a Sunday, then the following Monday is declared a public holiday. This is considered to be one of the most important holidays in America. Comemorated in Italy on 4th November.

The World Science Day for Peace and Development is an annual event world science day
celebrated all over the world to recall the commitment made at the UNESCO conference on science in 1999.  Its purpose is to renew international commitment to science for peace and development and to stress the responsible use of science, for the benefit of us all. It also aims to raise awareness of sciences importance.