International day of solidarity

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Hello! I am back to present you another important date! The 20th December is International day of solidarity, and on this occasion, I would like to talk to you about why this day exists, what actions are taking place, also explain what solidarity means for me, and tell you about how we can connect solidarity with the mission of our NGO, Amazonas.

Why this day?

To begin with, the International human solidarity day that takes place on the 20th of December is an international annual Unity Day of the United Nations and its member states introduced by the general assembly during the 2005 World Summit. The main goal is to make countries aware of reducing poverty. IHSD is a part of the World Solidarity Fund and United Nations Development Program focused on achieving goals set for worldwide poverty eradication.

The goal is to promote the importance of sharing and the culture of solidarity to combat poverty and to encourage governments, NGOs, and almost every individual to organize programs and debates either on a national or international level so that poverty can be reduced by spreading awareness. An individual can participate or celebrate the day either by contributing to education or helping the poor. This day is also celebrated by helping socially or mentally challenged people. However, governments are expected to respond to poverty and other barriers in society through Sustainable Development Goals, designed to facilitate a good future for all.

It’s also a day to remind governments to respect their commitments to international agreements; a day to raise public awareness of the importance of solidarity; a day to encourage debate on the ways to promote solidarity for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals including poverty eradication (read my first article about the eradication of poverty); a day of action to encourage new initiatives for poverty eradication.

What actions are taking place

These events include presentations, seminars, conferences, and roundtable discussions. I couldn’t find an example of actions, but NGOs or organizations are often organizing events, video to share this value on the 20th of December. For example, in Amazonas, to celebrate this day, we are going to give flyers on the street to make people know about this day and our solidarity actions that I am going to present to you at the end of this article. We are also going to share a video that we made on our social media about solidarity.

But in my opinion, it’s obviously important to communicate about this topic and raise awareness about it, but concrete actions are still more useful. And we all can do little actions to encourage and be solidary. It can be in our family, around our friends but also towards poor people, who are the most vulnerable people that need real help. You can give things that you are not using anymore: kids games, books, clothes, blankets… or sure we all have something that we are not touched since few months or even more.

But solidarity is also thinking smart and giving your stuff to the right people. On the contrary of what we think, giving clothes in dumpsters is not helping as you wish: clothes are mostly sent to foreign countries, and then used by private organizations that sell the clothes to poor people instead of giving it to them. So, the solution, if you want to make a good action for your local community, is to give it directly to local associations or an association that you can trust that can collect clothes, and then give it for free to people that need it. It is always important to question the things or habits that appear too obvious in our society today.

What solidarity means for me

There is no one definition of solidarity. It’s a big word that can take place in every context and can also mean a lot of things. Actually, for me, solidarity is not just giving something, or volunteering, it can also share this value around you, spread awareness and push people to just be more kind, smile to people, because just a smile or a nice word to someone can make a day. It rarely happens to me that someone that I don’t know is telling me “You are beautiful” or “I love your style”, and this is the kind of thing that gives you hope and energy for the whole day. I think our role when this happened is to give back this kindness to another random person.  If you are too shy like me to do it, then you can also try to give more compliments to your friends and family, people around you.

Now let me tell you a story that happened to me and made me understand that spontaneous solidarity also exists and how much this is important in our society today.

Solidarity is also helping someone when you see that this person is handling a hard situation: solidarity is not letting bad things happen to people in front of your eyes without taking any actions. We always think that someone will take this role of reacting, but sometimes, no one will move. It’s easier to ignore the problem, and if everybody does that, the person who needs help right now will stay in danger; I will explain this reflection with an example, a situation that happened to me very recently and that is a good example of solidarity.

I was in the street walking with my friends, and suddenly I saw a woman very afraid, of a man who was arguing with her, I knew that something was wrong, but as everybody, I was like: someone will do something, it’s a man who is attacking her so I am not strong enough to stop him anyway. But then she was running back towards me, panicking, and I thought I could not ignore her calling, and I just took her and brought her inside a bar. My friends, who also saw this scene reacted at the same time as me and put themselves between the woman and the man to stop him. But he was starting to be violent and following us inside the bar. I screamed to the waiters “Please help, you need to stop this man” I couldn’t communicate with the woman since she was not speaking English and I was in a foreign country. The waiter directly reacts and pushes the guy out of the bar. My friends helped him. But the man was still waiting for the woman outside. I found Hungarian girls who could translate to me what the woman was saying. She was crying, and I saw her earlier giving money to the man, who was in reality her husband. I was in shock, but I had to react fast and find a solution, because it was out of the question that she would come back with him, husband or not. I found out that she was abused by him for a long time and today was the day she told him she wanted to leave him. So, in the end, my friends were trying to make the man go home while me, and 4 girls that joined me to help this poor woman were trying to find a cab for her. Fortunately, she had a friend, a safe place where she could go and her husband would not find her. It was a stressful situation but the solidarity that we had between women was so powerful, and if my guy friends, or these girls that took so much of their time to help us were not here, we couldn’t have saved this woman. We gave her money for the cab, we found a cab thanks to other Hungarian people and then she could go to her friend safely.  I don’t have news, but I am glad to have realized how much solidarity is everything and can save a life, when we all contribute to a cause to help someone. This story is a reminder that if you are witness of this kind of situation of violence, you shouldn’t try to fix the situation alone because the purpose is not to put yourself in danger, but to ask around you for more help, because you will always find people with a big heart and that will not be scared to make a good action.

Small actions can save or change a life.

How solidarity takes place in Amazonas

Solidarity is at the heart of every action, events, training, project that takes place in Amazonas.  First of all, as an international volunteer in Amazonas through the program “European Solidarity Corps”, my project is to work on social inclusion. Accepting everyone is already a solidarity action. We are also working with kids with autistic and behavior problems. Through the program tribo moderna aim is to welcome everyone to participate but it’s mostly a prevention program aimed at encouraging the development of a culture of peace and non-violence through the dance martial art of capoeira, through activities aimed at children at risk, their families and the local community. It’s the case also for the project Uključi s (v) e! (eng. join!; include everyone!) is focused on the active participation of young people in society through involvement in volunteer activities, with special emphasis on the inclusion of young people from marginalized groups in society. The project arose from the need to increase community services for socially excluded young people. It groups all the language classes  that Amazonas provide, the intercultural evenings, the workshops and other events. Giving free education and offering the opportunity to learn new skills for free is also solidarity because it allows people from every context to have access to tools that will help them to grow and learn.

To finish, Capoeira which is the main sport Amazonas is known for, is carrying itself the values of solidarity and support between each other. It’s not a sport of competition, on the contrary, it is a sport of cooperation and kindness. It’s a sport where everybody is included within the community, and it also gives you the opportunity to meet with people from everywhere that will welcome you warmly.

To conclude, solidarity day is a good opportunity to remind us of all the values that we should always carry with us, everywhere we go. Helping the poorest people of our community, even through small actions, should be something normal nowadays in our society. It is a quality that is based on equality, inclusion and social justice and that entails a mutual commitment and obligation among the various members of society and the global community. Therefore, in a context of globalization and the challenge of growing inequality, the strengthening of international solidarity in terms of assistance, development support and cooperation is essential.

Solidarity became the symbol of this fight and a worldwide symbol of freedom” Horst Koehler.

See you soon for another topic!

Valentine