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What is Humanitarianism?

One aspect that sets humans apart from other species is compassion. For many, it’s a trait of character. However, for humanitarians, it’s a way of life. So what is humanitarianism exactly? Humanitarianism goes hand in hand with compassion. Those who work or volunteer in the humanitarian sector value human life above all. That’s why humanitarians make saving lives their vocation and provide aid to those most in need.

Humanitarianism is a way of life

There are many things that define a person. These include your job, relationships, religion, style, hobbies, interests, personality, and more. Similarly, humanitarianism is one of these aspects. Whether you deliver aid as a volunteer or as a paid position, there is a lifestyle and purpose that go along with it. Most humanitarians do not enter the field because they want to make money. In fact, many people who participate in the humanitarian sector are volunteers. Supporting yourself financially is, of course, important, and should not be ignored. But the motivation to save lives and provide aid is not financial. Rather, it is the compassion that humanitarians feel for others in difficult situations. It is also the drive to lend a helping hand.

The aid sector

Many trace the aid sector back to Henri Dunant, who founded the Red Cross in 1859. This was one of the first organizations to serve those in need and save lives without taking sides. The Red Cross—today the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement—was also the first to create humanitarian principles. Today, these are widely used by the industry and include Humanity, Independence, Neutrality, and Impartiality. Some of the leading humanitarian organizations include:

United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)

Part of the United Nations offices, OCHA is one of the principle agencies within the humanitarian sector. They work as a platform for other organizations to liaise and set out basic standards for humanitarian aid. Additionally, OCHA responds during emergencies and deploys their teams when necessary.

International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)

Present in 192 countries, the IFRC is one of the largest and oldest humanitarian organizations in the world. National Societies in each country comprise the Federation. They actively respond to disasters when they happen. Additionally, the organization works to build resilience in communities prior to when disaster strikes.

Did you know that in recognition of 100 years since Henri Dunant founded the Red Cross, both the International Committee of Red Cross and what is today known as the International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent Societies were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

International Committee of Red Cross Red Crescent (ICRC)

Part of the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement, the ICRC is a sister organization of the IFRC. Rather than responding to disaster emergencies, however, ICRC works in conflict-affected areas. This includes protecting victims of conflict, as well as working in prisons and with victims of torture.

Oxfam International

Working in more than 90 countries, Oxfam is a confederation with 20 organizations. One of their lines of work focuses on poverty and development. At the same time, they respond when disaster strikes. Currently, they are providing support in 30 different conflict or natural disaster situations.

Doctors Without Borders (MSF)

Doctors Without Borders originated in France, which is why their acronym stands for Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). The organization delivers medical aid in case of emergencies. MSF is also known for their strong focus on advocacy and condemning crimes against humanity publicly. Read more about our long-time client Doctors Without Borders when the earth shook Nepal.

Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere (CARE)

Working in 94 countries, CARE focuses on international development and delivering aid during emergencies. Currently, they have more than 1000 projects in operation. Their focus is on women and girls when it comes to development projects. In humanitarian aid, CARE works closely with local partners to ensure effective aid delivery.

At the forefront of each of these organizations, you will find humanitarians. These are the people on the ground who serve others either through their work or by volunteering to help.

What is Humanitarianism spirit and travel?

Why is travel such an important part of humanitarianism? This is because humanitarian aid has no borders, and must not have any. We should help those most in need. In fact, this is one of the main principles of humanitarian organizations: neutrality. The moral compass of those practicing in the sector steers this way, as well – taking aid where it is required. So when disaster strikes or conflict looms, travel becomes an essential part of delivering aid.

Of course, humanitarians do not choose the destination. For example, thousands of aid workers and volunteers have travelled to Syria and bordering countries over the past years, which is due to the outbreak of war there and many refugees fleeing the violence. Similarly, hundreds of humanitarians from all over the world are working at the refugee camps established in Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh. During disasters, workers and volunteers must also travel to the affected areas. For instance, hundreds of missions deployed during the hurricane season in the Caribbean last year.

Duty of care at all levels

The basis of all humanitarian work is duty of care. Each individual in the sector feels the duty to care for others in their times of hardship. This is where humanitarianism begins. Similarly, the organizations that deploy humanitarian workers and volunteers have the duty of care for their collaborators. They are responsible for each person they send in the field. This means providing them with the best possible care before, during, and after their mission.

At Raptim, we feel a strong commitment to duty of care as well. We want to help those who help the world. Duty of care is at the core of our organization. It’s more than a service, it’s a philosophy. Our duty of care solutions include support for both the individual and their organization. We ensure that they are connected, communicated with, and informed at all times. This way, we aid in mitigating risks, preventing negative situations that may arise, and providing support in case of emergencies.

We Help You to Travel Where it is Needed Most

We believe our world is a better place when compassion can travel where it is needed most. As a global humanitarian travel organization, we devote ourselves to serving those who serve the world. Our experienced staff can be reached at any given time. Please use our quick address locator to contact your nearest Raptim office should you have any questions. You can also follow our blog for more stories and travel information.

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