Each year on 19 August, World Humanitarian Day (WHD) honours those who provide humanitarian relief throughout the world. This day, which the UN established in 2009, commemorates the bomb attack on the UN offices in Iraq in August 2003. There were 22 fatalities, including the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights. 

Today, WHD focuses on a particular theme each year, and aims to bring together partners from the many sectors of the humanitarian system to promote the survival, well-being, and dignity of those affected by disaster as well as the security and safety of assistance workers.

“It takes a village” is the theme for this year. As the saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child”, and the same is true of offering help in a humanitarian crisis. WHD 2022 draws on this metaphor of communal endeavour to increase worldwide understanding of humanitarian efforts in light of the record-high needs of people helping people around the world today. 

In 2010, the Board of the FW de Klerk Foundation established the FW de Klerk Goodwill Award in recognition of the humanitarian efforts of individuals and organisations that have made exceptional contributions to the promotion of goodwill between South Africans. Previous recipients include Pieter-Dirk Uys (2012), Studietrust (2013), Patrice Motsepe (2014), Afrika Tikkun (2015), Prof Thuli Madonsela and the Office of the Public Protector (2016), the coach and athlete team of Mrs Anna (Ans) Botha and Mr Wayde van Niekerk (2017), Gift of the Givers (2018), and Mr. Moeletsi Mbeki (2019).

On 18 March this year, the FW de Klerk Foundation celebrated the anniversary of former President FW de Klerk’s birthday with the announcement that the 2022 Goodwill Award would be presented to the prolific South African food relief organisation, Ladles of Love

Eight years ago, founder Danny Diliberto was introduced to the ancient Sanskrit word sevā – selfless service performed without any expectation of recognition, reciprocation, or reward. After serving a single homeless person a bowl of soup and seeing the potential of the seemingly simple act to restore a human being’s dignity, Diliberto decided to call on the support of his ‘village’ to create a soup kitchen in Cape Town. 

One soup kitchen soon became four, and in 2015, Ladles of Love started connecting with other NPOs and schools, offering feeding schemes throughout the city and providing all the food supplies they needed to do so.

But it was during the humanitarian emergency of the first lockdown of 2020 that the organisation really experienced a powerful pivot. After the first shockwaves of COVID started reverberating throughout the world, they decided to make it their mission to “get as much food out to as many people as possible.” And South Africa was behind them. After a single Facebook live post, the funding started flooding in – and Ladles of Love suddenly became a supporter of no fewer than 138 soup kitchens around the Cape Peninsula. Working from the Cape Town International Convention Centre and Grand West, they were pumping out 250 000 meals/50 tons of food a week, doing more than their part to help carry South Africa through the crisis. 

Today, Ladles of Love continues to offer an invaluable service to hungry Capetonians, sending out approximately 200 000 meals/40 tons of food a week (including vegetables, maize meal, samp, oats, sugar, salt, rice, and other staples).  What’s more, they have also opened a warehouse in Johannesburg, and are extending their support to 16 beneficiaries throughout Gauteng.

Diliberto attributes the ongoing success of the organisation to the village that  has come together to support his efforts. “By working together, we can do more, reach further, and uplift communities to support themselves,” he shares. 

It is an honour for us to be able to bestow this year’s Goodwill Award on such an outstanding organisation, and to play our part in helping South Africans from all walks of life to join forces in making a real difference in our community. 

Visit the Ladles of Love website to find out how you, too, can help to restore health and dignity through food this World Humanitarian Day.