Right now, conflicts around the world – Syria, South Sudan, Gaza, Central African Republic, and more – have put more pressure than ever on humanitarian aid groups and the United Nations.

While the news can be overwhelming, what gives me hope are the stories of individuals, both those who manage to persevere in some of the world’s more dire situations and those who run toward these situations to help. On World Humanitarian Day today, we honor the brave humanitarian workers from the United Nations and other organizations who risk their lives, and in some cases give their lives, to help people in need.

World Humanitarian Day was started in honor of Sérgio Vieira de Mello, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General to Iraq, and 21 other brave UN staff members who were killed when the UN headquarters in Iraq was destroyed by a car bomb on August 19, 2003. I had the honor of knowing Sergio, who was a dynamic UN leader rumored to be a candidate for Secretary-General one day, and I will always think of him and his colleagues on this special day.

All of these humanitarian heroes deserve our gratitude, and they also need our help. That’s why the United Nations Foundation is supporting the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs as it works to get aid to those in need. We hope you will join us at and become a “Messenger of Humanity” to support the life-saving work of the humanitarian aid community.