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Five Famous Humanitarians Who Are an Inspiration to Us All

Through the years, there have been multiple revolutionary individuals who defined themselves as initiators of humanitarian movements, a new field of work or goals.

Five of the most inspiring and famous humanitarians

Humanitarian is described as having concern for or helping to improve the welfare and happiness of people. For example, trying to save human lives after a large-scale natural disaster like a severe earthquake or drought. Or going to third-world countries to help improve the living conditions and human rights situations. Compassionate humanitarians have been doing this for decades. Mentioned below are five of the most famous humanitarians. Most of you are well familiar with these compassionate and inspiring individuals, but since they can’t get enough praise, we decided to highlight their humanitarian careers.

  • Nelson Mandela
    One of the most famous humanitarians who ever lived. Mandela was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary and firm believer in non-violent protest. He served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999 and was the country's first black head of state and the first president elected in a fully democratic election. During his youth, he studied law at the University of Fort Hare and the University of the Witwatersrand before working as a lawyer in Johannesburg. He was arrested in 1962 for conspiring to overthrow the state, and sentenced to life imprisonment. He eventually served 27 years in prison before he was released by President F.W. De Klerk who conceded after growing international pressure and fear of a racial civil war. He and Mandela negotiated an end to apartheid and together organized the 1994 multiracial general election in which Mandela led the ANC to victory and became President. He received more than 250 honors, including the Nobel Peace Prize and the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom.
  • Mother Theresa
    She was an Albanian-Indian Roman Catholic nun and missionary. She’s known in the Catholic Church as Saint Teresa of Calcutta. Mother Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity in 1950. This is a Roman Catholic religious' congregation, which in 2012 consisted of over 4,500 sisters and was active in 133 countries. They run homes for people dying of HIV/AIDS, leprosy, and tuberculosis. Teresa was the recipient of numerous honors, including the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize. On 4 September 2016, she was recognized by the Catholic Church as a saint which underlined her status as one of the most famous humanitarians.
  • Harriet Tubman
    Tubman was beaten and whipped by her various masters as a child. She was born a slave. After escaping from slavery, she grew to become the best-known underground railroad "conductor." Slowly, one group at a time, she guided hundreds of other slaves to freedom. Traveling by night and in extreme secrecy, Tubman reportedly never lost a passenger. She also worked for the United States Army during the American Civil War. First as a cook and nurse, and then as an armed scout and spy. She guided the raid at Combahee Ferry during the Civil War, which liberated more than 700 slaves. After she died in 1913, she quickly became an icon of American courage and freedom and one of the most famous humanitarians.
  • Mahatma Gandhi
    Probably one the most famous humanitarians who ever lived. Gandhi was a frontrunner in advocating for civil rights in South Africa and independence for the British-ruled India. At that time, in South Africa, prejudice and injustice prevailed. However, in the course of his lifetime, he improved the living conditions. He has been a great inspiration for an immense number of non-violent movements that advocate for social change across the world. He dedicated his entire life fighting for noble goals in a non-violent manner, even under seemingly inhuman and oppressive conditions. On 15 June 2007, the United Nations General Assembly voted to establish 2 October, the birthdate of Mahatma Gandhi, as the International Day of Non-Violence.
  • Martin Luther King
    An American Baptist minister and activist who was a leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. He is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights based on his Christian beliefs. King became a civil rights activist early in his career by leading the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott and helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in 1957. He was also one of the primary initiators of the 1963 March on Washington. That was the moment which made him one of the most famous humanitarians who ever lived. After he delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. Quickly after, on October 14, 1964, King received the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through nonviolent resistance.

At Raptim, we devote our energies to serving the people who help those who need it most. Compassionate people are needed at various places around the world to help mitigate the effects of natural calamities, deadly diseases, and other stressful situations through humanitarian acts. Next to humanitarian individuals, we also regularly highlight humanitarian organizations and projects. Take a look at the News & Community section on our website to learn more about our inspirations.