This year I wanted to volunteer for the Red Cross and I decided to become a volunteer in my local Red Cross department. I’m happy to announce that I had my first exam a while back and I passed! That’s why today I wanted to talk more about the Red Cross.
The red crescent was founded by Henri Dunant in 1919. He witnessed the battle of Solferino during a business trip and because of the suffering he saw, he founded the organization. After seeing the wounded, he plead for a health institute that didn’t have borders and he founded the international Red Cross. The goal of the Red Cross was to help during battles and stay as neutral as possible. To give an example: during world war 1 and 2 members of the Red Cross helped on the sides of the Germans as well as the allies.
The main goal was to be a completely neutral humanitarian organization that provided aid to soldiers however as the Red Cross grew, there were a lot more things to take into consideration. One of them being their logo. Some of you might not have even noticed that there are actually different symbols representing their organisation: the cross and the crescent moon both used in different settings. The cross is used in Europe and the crescent moon is used in Eastern countries. The difference between these two can be explained by religion. They’re changing these symbols into a more neutral one which is the red crystal.
Role and rules
The Red Cross helps anyone and everyone. They are neutral, impartial and voluntary. These core values are important because they make the Red Cross the organization that it is. These imply that as a volunteer you need to be neutral, impartial and voluntary in any situation, under any circumstance, whether the person needing help is right or wrong.
There is a code of conduct which you can find online should you be interested.
How you can help
Every Red Cross department has its own functions. In Belgium your tasks differ based on the place where you join the Red Cross, you’re joining your local/regional department and helping out with their interventions/tasks. Overall you’re able to choose between the following: administrative and psychosocial help for disasters, supporting your local Red Cross department, help organize blood withdrawals, offering first aid at events or disasters, helping at a shelter, teaching first aid to kids and younger people, support children with their schoolwork, guide a children’s camp in a shelter, offer medical supplies in your area, help with the youth work, help with the library in healthcare, teach adults first aid, give a cool vacation to people with a disability, promote international projects and organize a vacation camp for children.
Depending on your own Red Cross department you might be able to find different tasks you can do or you might even be able to propose some ideas for future projects. So if you’re thinking about joining the Red Cross, definitely go to your local department and try to get some more information about their projects.
This blogpost is mainly about the local Red Cross departments and their functions. Should you want to get involved in international humanitarian aid I’d suggest looking at the international red crescent side by clicking here.