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Women Humanitarians

World Humanitarian Day (WHD) is held every year on 19th August to pay tribute to Aid Workers who risk their lives in humanitarian service, and to rally support for people affected by crises around the world. The theme of the 2019 WHD is ‘Women Humanitarians’.

We honour the work of women in crises throughout the world. We focus on the unsung heroes, who have long been working on the front lines in their own communities in some of the most difficult terrains, from the war-wounded in Afghanistan, to the food insecure in the Sahel, to those who have lost their homes and livelihoods in places such as Central African Republic, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

And we salute the efforts of women aid workers from across the world, who rally to people in need.

Women make up a large number of those who risk their own lives to save others. They are often the first to respond and the last to leave. These women deserve to be celebrated. They are needed today as much as ever to strengthen the global humanitarian response. And world leaders as well as non-state actors must ensure that they – and all humanitarians – are guaranteed the protection afforded to them under international law.

Women humanitarians dedicate their lives to helping people affected by crises. #WomenHumanitarians

Continuing Nano’s work

Nano Nagle was both an activist and an aid worker of her time.  A woman of faith, discerning and eminently practical and keenly aware of the desperate suffering and challenges around her,and the need to respond.  She continues to inspire to action Presentation People ‘working at the coal face’ ,  many located in ‘hot-spots’ through the world, who have been gifted in differing ways with sharing in that ‘original shaft of spiritual energy which Nano received’. 

Nano was a person known for her natural timidity, therefore, she treasured the spiritual gift given to her, and quite literally spared no effort to ensure that it was shared with others in her lifetime, and bequeathed as a living energy to others after her death.  […]  Inspired by the gospel, her compassionate vision and outreach were not confined to any one category of person or to any one ministry, from this came her passion for justice, for healing,  for liberation.

“If I could be of any service … in any part of the globe I would willingly do all in my power”.

A Prayer for Aid Workers

God of Heaven,
Who hears the cry of the fallen,
Who hears the cry of the poor,
Who hears even the cry of the wounded sparrow,
In your mercy, you have sent your only son among us,
As a holy model of charity
Delivering the great commandment to love one another.

Call us to reach out to the most vulnerable among us.

Be with all who work with those who suffer
Who, in times of danger, step forward to love
When the human impulse says to flee,
Who seek out the fallen,
Who listen for the cry of the lost,
Who reach out to the broken,
And rescue them in their distress.

Be strength for them when they tire.
Be hope for them when they despair.
Be life for them when they mourn.
Help us support these, your bravest sons and daughters.

Inspire us with their courageous spirits.
That we may build a safer, more just and peaceful world.

May your angels protect
And keep them safe under your care.


See: About UN Humanitarian Day 2019

Note:  The italic text about Nano Nagle is taken from a piece written by Mary T. O’Brien, pbvm in the book ‘Nano Nagle and An Evolving Charism’   (The Song Must not Stop with Us).   The prayer is adapted from crs.org resources.



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