International Day of Charity

When I was in school, I had no idea what Caritas meant, except that we had a Caritas Box on the windowsill.

For us, it was a box we put all our spare change into, as well as any coins we found in the playground, or on our way to school.  Miss Miller would always top it up to “make a nice round number” at the end of each term and then it would return a lot lighter and often in a completely different form - as a jam jar or shoe box at the start of the next. 

I have no idea where the money went, but I have since discovered that Caritas is Latin for love/compassion which means that the words read at our wedding - “but the greatest of these is love”- would, a hundred years earlier, have been translated “the greatest of these is charity.”  This means that our charity box could actually have been translated as “love box”, which I really like!

Act Now written on a box

When I lived in Africa, our church used to put together “Love buckets” every Christmas. A large bucket with a lid, packed with a blanket, matches, salt, soap, oil, rice, and candles to give out to the poor on Christmas day. Then, after a particularly large flood, which literally washed away everything that some people owned (clothing, houses, the lot) - we made them again, and after a few years, love buckets became just a “thing” that was understood to be available to those in great need.

Our local supermarket even sold them ready-packed so you could buy them with your weekly shopping!

I am very privileged to have worked for charities (both the noun and the verb!) for several decades and I hope that compassionate love and loving compassion are things we spread with joyful abandon!

In September 2015, the United Nations recognized that eradicating poverty in all its forms was the greatest global challenge of all and so it established the International Day of Charity on the 5th of September (the day Mother Theresa died) to mobilise all people to help others - through volunteering and philanthropic activity. 

Whilst we may blame “other people” for ruining our lives or the world - it is actually us who have the potential to transform both, by contributing to the betterment of our world through time or money. Or both!

Imagine a drug that reduced the risk of Alzheimer’s by 2.4-fold, cut the number of macroscopic strokes in the brain by 50%, lowered the risk of different forms of sleep disturbances by 16%, decreased levels of inflammatory markers, and lessen the risk of mortality by 57%! Imagine that you could raise your self-esteem, boost your confidence and decrease the number of times you felt lonely or isolated. Wouldn’t you want to try it?

Volunteering/spending philanthropically and having a purpose in life do all of these and more(1)! If you’d like to make new friends or improve your local environment or improve your health- both mentally and physically - then charity is for you!

Person with arms crossed wearing a volunteer tshirt

You are so welcome to contact us to see how you can get involved.

And, if you don’t have the time, because you are too busy working hard, then why not turn some of your hard-earned cash into sewing machines for women to earn their own income, or lessons to teach young people about gender-based violence and how they can reduce it, or indeed to run after-school clubs teaching girls and boys that they have exactly the same value?  

That will give you a great purpose to stay late in the office!

We work here in the UK as well as in Africa, Eastern Europe, and Asia. If you enjoy talking with young people, or indeed you are a teacher or youth worker, then why not get trained to do it even better here? Or perhaps you’d like to join our board or become an ambassador for us?

Whatever you do, do something and be the change you want to see in the world!


Written by our fab CEO, Catherine



1. The Science Behind the Powerful Benefits of Having a Purpose