What is a Humanitarian?

Are you passionate about making a difference in this world? Are you interested in improving human welfare and social reform? You may want to consider a career as a humanitarian!

A humanitarian actively engages in promoting human welfare and social reforms, and has no prejudice with human suffering on grounds of gender, sexual orientation, religious, or national divisions. A humanitarian's goal is to save lives, relieve suffering, and maintain human dignity. This can be done in the form of rescuing and providing safety for refugees, providing shelter and food for the homeless, or helping people in the aftermath of natural disasters or civil unrest.

What does a Humanitarian do?

A bowl of food being passed from one hand to another.

Humanitarians promote human welfare and ideas of people; they bring about change in the normal behavioural patterns of a society and help to aid by giving money or necessities for those in need. Necessities could be in the form of food, water, clothing, shelter, equipment, or medical supplies which give relief to people in unfortunate and desperate situations.

Doing and participating in something that results in an act of kindness goes a long way in someone's eyes. The simple act of donating money to a charity or a cause that one believes in is also considered a humanitarian act, and should not be measured by how much time or money is spent. It takes a lot for a person to care about someone they don't personally know. It is a wonderful human ability to be able to understand struggle, loss, pain and fear and to turn that understanding into a humanitarian act. In turn, this brings happiness, not only to the one(s) in need, but to the person giving a helping hand.

At the end of the day, a humanitarian does not look for glory or praise. Their main goal is to make a difference in the world they live in, to make someone's life better than what it is, and to ease the plight of people that have little hope.

If you are not able to be a full-time humanitarian, there are many ways to be of service to others on a lesser scale:

Small Acts of Humanitarianism
It is easy for people to think that there is nothing they can do on an individual basis to help others in an effective manner, so therefore they lapse into apathy. However, small actions can make a difference, be it sponsoring a child or signing a petition.

If you don't have a lot of time, but want to get involved in something, try volunteering at a nonprofit or service organization and giving a few hours of your time every week or month.

Follow Someone's Actions
If you're not too sure how to get started in your humanitarian work, google examples of men and women that have changed the world by going above and beyond the call of duty to help their fellow humans.

Take a Leave of Absence
If your workplace and your finances allow you to do so, take a leave of absence for a couple of months or even up to a year. Sign up for a full-time volunteering position abroad in countries that need your help the most. This may lead to a lifetime of humanitarian work.

Find Like-Minded Individuals
Getting started on the path to becoming a humanitarian can seem daunting. You don't have to do it alone — teamwork helps make change happen and also helps to get things going, resulting in more effective and quicker solutions for those in need. Get your best friend involved, or join a local social service club to get yourself started.

Are you suited to be a humanitarian?

Humanitarians have distinct personalities. They tend to be social individuals, which means they’re kind, generous, cooperative, patient, caring, helpful, empathetic, tactful, and friendly. They excel at socializing, helping others, and teaching. Some of them are also conventional, meaning they’re conscientious and conservative.

Does this sound like you? Take our free career test to find out if humanitarian is one of your top career matches.

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What is the workplace of a Humanitarian like?

The workplace of a humanitarian is not subject to one particular place. It can be anywhere in the world that is in need of help. Whether it is working from a desk in your local community or digging a well in Africa, a humanitarian acknowledges the importance of forming strong working bonds with their community and other communities. People from all over the world, from different walks of life and different faiths, can make a difference by their humanitarian acts.

Humanitarians battle disease, hunger, and violence in some of the most inhospitable situations, locations, and climates and they persevere despite the risk of kidnappings, death threats, murder, and other deadly and abusive behaviour from the communities they work within.

Humanitarians are also known as:
Philanthropist Ethical Humanitarian