Who Are the Real Life Heroes of Today?

By: Cheryl

By: Ashley Tulio, Communication Specialist 

World Humanitarian Day (WHD)

WHD pays tribute to those who have sacrificed their time and risked their lives to support and deliver aid to people undergoing humanitarian crises. This day was established to honour the 19 August 2003 bomb attack on the Canal Hotel in Baghdad, Iraq, which claimed the lives of 22 individuals, including the chief humanitarian in Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello. The UN General Assembly formalized World Humanitarian Day (WHD) five years later, dedicated to recognizing humanitarian people worldwide.


World Humanitarian Day has a different theme each year, and to celebrate the 11th World Humanitarian Day this year, it is #RealLifeHeroes. This year’s campaign is to inspire people by sharing personal stories of the humanitarians that have been heroes during the COVID-19 pandemic! Throughout the pandemic, there has been a significant number of acts of bravery to ensure support was being delivered to people worldwide going through various humanitarian crises. So today, we celebrate those individuals who have been courageous and strong individuals throughout the pandemic!

MCIS’COVID Stories: The Impact on Language Professionals

During the pandemic, language professionals have been at the frontlines alongside healthcare professionals, settlement workers, social services workers, educators, and others, providing language services to Non-English or Limited-English Speakers (NES/LES). Language professionals, often seen as having a behind-the-scenes profession, have also had to pivot drastically in how they work. And while their work may have shifted online, some language professionals continue to work in person, choosing to risk their health so others can access critical information. As a result, language professionals are also one of our prominent real-life heroes. #RealLifeHeroes

This series of COVID stories is a collaboration between MCIS staff and the kind language professionals who generously allowed us to interview them. To read more about their experiences, please see the following blogs below:

COVID Stories: The Impact on Language Professionals – Julie’s Story

COVID Stories: The Impact on Language Professionals – Paloma’s Story

COVID Stories: The Impact on Language Professionals – Ana’s Story 

COVID Stories: The Impact on Language Professionals – Ted’s Story 

MCIS Humanitarian Activities Over the Years

MCIS’ social purpose statement: “We strive to uphold the human right to be informed, heard, and understood.”

Humanitarian Support Line: MCIS developed a free helpline that was established specifically to assist Afghan immigrants.

In response to humanitarian crises such as the ones in Afghanistan and Ukraine, we are dedicating a part of our Social Benefit Initiative fund to humanitarian support. One part of this is an over-the-phone interpretation line, a toll-free line to access free immediate interpretation services. With this line, organizations serving people in need can provide critical information and services in languages their clients are most comfortable with. There is also an option to receive “humanitarian support” for other services such as interpretation and translation. Through this initiative, MCIS ensures that refugees and newcomers from Afghanistan and Ukraine have access to the support they need.

Homelessness Connect: The purpose of this event is to provide human services, such as dental care, eye care, foot care, and haircuts, amongst over 30 other types of services, free of charge to those experiencing or at risk of homelessness. MCIS’s role over the past few years at this event is to connect native speakers of other languages with English-speaking service providers and eliminate language barriers.

Pop-up Translation Clinic: MCIS hosted a free Translation Pop-Up Clinic in February 2020 at the 519, a city organization located in the heart of Toronto’s gay village that serves the LGBTQ+ communities. The pop-up translation clinic was an opportunity for people who couldn’t afford to translate official documents using a professional translator.

Let us honour all humanitarian workers, our #RealLifeHeroes, who have dedicated their lives to providing life-saving protection and support during humanitarian world crises!

MCIS Language Solutions has been devoted to advocating for improved access to critical information around health, employment, civic and political rights, and legal services, to name a few, to make it possible for people with language barriers to have a better quality of life and higher levels of participation in civic processes.