From the Heart - #fromtheheart
May 08, 2023
On the birthday on Henri Dunant , born in 1828, we celebrate World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day. Dunant was the founder of this great international organization.
When I was just 16 years old, I became a Red Cross Volunteer and was elected by my school chapter to represent them on the citywide Youth Disaster Team. I took the leadership course led by the city youth director, who would become a dear friend, Miss Ann Wood and by the time I was 17, I was vice chair and then chair when a disaster struck my town.
It was my first major leadership assignment outside my church and I found myself working around the clock and directing the activities of 300 volunteers.
Red Cross along with the Baptist Training Union made me a leader.
I will always be grateful to them.
Henri Dunant, was a Swiss humanitarian. He was also a businessman, social activist and the co-founder of Red Cross movement.
Because of a business scandal that tarnished his reputation, he was forgotten, ostracized, and impoverished for decades. A journalist became interested in his story and revived interest in the legacy he had created.
For his lifetime of service he received the first Nobel Peace Prize in 1901.
Rather than allow his life to be defined by one of his worst moments, the Nobel committee wrote:
"There is no man who more deserves this honour, for it was you, forty years ago, who set on foot the international organization for the relief of the wounded on the battlefield. Without you, the Red Cross, the supreme humanitarian achievement of the nineteenth century would probably have never been undertaken."
For years, the Red Cross has brought together thousands of volunteers determined to not allow some disaster or atrocity forever define any person or people.
Fundamental Principles of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement
Humanity - The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, born of a desire to bring assistance without discrimination to the wounded on the battlefield, endeavours, in its international and national capacity, to prevent and alleviate human suffering wherever it may be found. Its purpose is to protect life and health and to ensure respect for the human being. It promotes mutual understanding, friendship, cooperation and lasting peace amongst all peoples.
Impartiality-It makes no discrimination as to nationality, race, religious beliefs, class or political opinions. It endeavours to relieve the suffering of individuals, being guided solely by their needs, and to give priority to the most urgent cases of distress.
Neutrality-In order to continue to enjoy the confidence of all, the Movement may not take sides in hostilities or engage at any time in controversies of a political, racial, religious or ideological nature.
Independence-The Movement is independent. The National Societies, while auxiliaries in the humanitarian services of their governments and subject to the laws of their respective countries, must always maintain their autonomy so that they may be able at all times to act in accordance with the principles of the Movement.
Voluntary Service-It is a voluntary relief movement not prompted in any manner by desire for gain.
Unity-There can be only one Red Cross or one Red Crescent Society in any one country. It must be open to all. It must carry on its humanitarian work throughout its territory.
Universality The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, in which all Societies have equal status and share equal responsibilities and duties in helping each other, is worldwide