Some people volunteer at social service programs, while some write fat checks to NGOs for a good cause. No matter the method, we all try to help the world in our puny ways. There is no right or wrong way to help the human race progress. The question is not what we should do but what we can do. And we must do what we can do.
All this must sound like a load of baloney considering how the newspapers and media citations have done everything to buttress the parade of horribles. However, humanity is not yet a lost cause. Whether famous, infamous or just simply not famous, people from all over the world have made and continue to make significant contributions to the cause of the underprivileged. It is time we honour them for adroit efforts and perhaps take a leaf out of their books.
- Karl Rabeder
Chances are you have no idea who he is. How many of us believe that we don’t need money to be happy? Probably many of us. But how many of us actually practise what we preach? Karl Rabeder is the greatest example in this regard. This famous millionaire from Australia truly found no comfort or happiness in his wealth. He blissfully gave away all his worldly possessions to charities in parts of America and he plans on moving into a cozy and comfortable wooden hut. His wealth included all luxuries one can dream of – luxury cars, luxury villas, gliders, farmhouses and so much more. He is now happier than ever.
- Kristine Pearson
If you are reading this from the comforts of your home on an expensive laptop, you probably do not own a radio. You probably listen to music using a rather expensive and sleek iPod. On the other hand, the poverty-stricken and needy people in parts of Africa would probably consider a radio to be a luxury item. With the knowledge of the desperate need of education and basic amenities in some African countries, Pearson, the executive director of the FreePlay Foundation came up with a radio that enabled educational programs to be played in such developing countries without the requirement of any power. Today, there are about 100,00 Lifeline radios devoted solely to the cause of humanitarian efforts in developing countries all across the globe and 2 million happy listeners.
- Wayne Newton
This pop singer holds the fame and ability to absolutely sell out Vegas stadiums but his true humanitarian side is reflected in his performances for troops. His service at the USO is marked by brilliant performances for 25,000 members in 1983 following the Beirut attacks; his servitude as the Chairman of the USO Celebrity Circle; and the first ever USO celebrity performance in Afghanistan.
- Muhammad Yunus
The efforts of Dr. Muhammad Yunus brought micro financing to the centre stage and gave it global recognition. Yes, it does sound like a harsh and corporate word. However, the cause is noble. Micro financing is the practice of improving the lives of the poor by giving them small loans. Dr. Yunus is the founder of the Grameen Bank and he has made valuable use of his position and stature to provide these smalls loans to numerous people in need. His benevolent efforts have won his the prestigious Nobel Prize and also a spot in the well-known sitcom “The Simpsons”.
- Gary Sinise
Watched “Forrest Gump” or “CSI: New York”? You probably have. Besides being an actor in these famous productions and a lot more, Gary Sinise is a brilliant humanitarian personality. He is a powerful and outspoken advocate of military efforts overseas. This fearless man has visited the troops in extremely dangerous areas and risked his life for worthy causes. His monetary donations in this regard also cannot be undermined. Providing school supplies to children and prosthetics to wounded soldiers constitute some of his contributions.
- Al Gore
The former Vice President of the United States, Al Gore has been celebrated with a large number of awards for his humanitarian contributions to the world. His work is mostly for environmental causes. The highly appreciated documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth” celebrates Gore. He is known to travel all over the globe spreading awareness and making monumental efforts to help the cause of climate change as well as poverty.
- Angelina Jolie
Oscar-winning actress, Angelina Jolie needs no introduction as a humanitarian spokesperson. Jolie has been on a number of field missions globally since the year 2001. During this time, she has met with several refugees across 20 countries such as Cambodia, Tanzania, Thailand, Egypt, Sri Lanka, India, Jordan, Syria, Iraq and many more. The Jolie-Pitt foundation, joint efforts of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, is dedicated to eviction of extreme rural poverty, conservation of wildlife and preservation of natural resources. This foundation has donated over $1 million dollars to medical humanitarian causes and also provides aid to survivors of violence and war or catastrophe in nearly 60 countries worldwide.
- Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey is the first African American woman to become a billionaire in the year 2003. One of the biggest accomplishments of this famous talk show host is the founding of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa. Her foundation also donates millions of dollars to fight poverty and improve the lives of the needy.
- Paul Newman
All-time Hollywood hero, Paul Newman is widely celebrated for his great humanitarian efforts. Apart from his successful career in acting, he was the cofounder of Newman’s Own food products which mostly makes salad dressing. The profits from this company are donated to charities helping children with severe diseases.
- Johns Hopkins
His wealth comes mostly from the world of banking and investments. He donated $7 million of his $8 million wealth to a hospital, a university and a medical school. His will was carried out after his death in the year 1873. The institutions stand proud till date.
- Oskar Schindler
You must have watched or at least heard of the famous movie “Schindler’s List”. Oskar Schindler was much more than the inspiration for the movie. He saved several lives at a great risk. A member of the Nazi party, he was probably not an expected candidate in the humanitarian field. Schindler used his factory to help the Jews and protect them from getting sent away to the dreaded Auschwitz camp by employing them. Although at the time, his contribution was not recognised at all, till date, thousands of Jew families sing his praises.
- Andrew Carnegie
Andrew Carnegie was the wealthiest man in the world in the 19th century. He made much of his fortune at the onset of the industrial age. At this period of time, millions of dollars was not something the common man could even begin to imagine. And he donated millions of dollars to help the less fortunate. He was perhaps the only man during this time who considered dying rich to be criminal.
- Per Anger
During the World War II, Anger saved the lives of hundreds of Jews. He fabricated Swedish passports to help Jews escape and seek shelter in the safety of Sweden. He was awarded for his valiant efforts by the United States, Hungary and Israel.
You must be a fan of U2. Who doesn’t love “With or Without You” or “Pride”? The singer of these wonderful songs and lots more is quite wonderful himself. Bono has made good use of his fame and fortune to fight war and disease. Well, he might not be a billionaire but his humanitarian efforts to stamp out famine from the poverty-stricken Ethiopia and AIDS from Africa are remarkable. His campaigns to spread environmental awareness are also rather commendable.
- Gordon Moore
The founder of Intel, Mr. Gordon Moore and his wife Betty has donated $1 billion and uncountable hours to help provide a better standard of living to future generations. Besides this, millions of dollars have been contributed by him for the progress of science and environmental awareness. In 2007, he won the Jame C. Morgan Global Humanitarian Award.
- Warren Buffet
Who doesn’t know this living legend? At 75, Warren Buffet is one of the strongest personalities in the world known for his adeptness at investments, superb advice and of course, his wealth. This man has pledged most of his wealth to charity. All you need to do is show him your humanitarian cause is worth it and he will pour his wealth to help you. Even his children, Susan, Howard and Peter run foundations trying to help the cause of world poverty.
- Bill Gates
Closely following Warren Buffet in this list is none other than the Microsoft founder, Bill Gates. Although an exact sum is hard to calculate, Mr. Gates has donated over $24 billion to humanitarian causes. One of his most celebrated donations is for the cure of malaria. He has received numerous awards for his humanitarian works.
- Martin Luther King
“I have a dream.” His dream was to help mankind to the best of his abilities. And that is precisely what he did. To raise his voice against injustice, he preached the value of non-violence. His significant role in the American Civil Right Movement is applauded till date. The Nobel Prize of course recognized his work and celebrated him gracefully.
- Mahatma Gandhi
Money is not all you need to help mankind. Mahatma Gandhi, lovingly called Bapu proved just that. He played a mammoth role in the independence of India against British rule and he did so, all the while preaching and practising non-violence. He is globally celebrated for his Non-Cooperation Movement, Civil Disobedience Movement and several other non-violent efforts to overthrow British rule and help India gain freedom.
- Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa is the greatest humanitarian of all time. She became a nun and was given the permission to serve food to those in need. The Missionaries of Charity began in India and grew exponentially. It had branches in 50 different cities in India and across 30 countries. Her tirelessly and unconditionally helping the poor in any way possible won her the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. Her struggles to alleviate the human race of sorrow and distress will forever be remembered by each and every human being in the world.