Solidarity without borders
The youth section of the Swiss Red Cross's Geneva branch decided to
launch 'Operation Balkans' to assist the victims of the conflict in Kosovo.
They collected clothes, non-perishable foods and hygiene products. Surprised
by the generosity of the response - more than 450 tonnes of items donated -
and even more so by the number of volunteers - more than 800 - they
chartered a 38-carriage train to transport the assistance to Albania. Upon
arrival, members of the Albanian and Belgian Red Cross Societies and the
Federation facilitated the transit and distribution of the goods. Heartened
by their success, the young organizers of the project are planning new
humanitarian initiatives in the Balkans - the next one for Bulgaria.
The ideas bank
When National Societies were asked to think of how to promote the Red Cross
Red Crescent during the millennium year, 8 May 1999 to 8 May
2000, event organizers knew if each National Society had one
good idea, that could mean 176 ideas … just like that. And
if those ideas were shared, each society would have 176 ideas
to choose from, to adapt or improve and to make a reality.
This was the concept behind asking each National Society to
name a millennium year coordinator.
During the period 8 May to the present, more than 160 National
Societies have organized thousands of events worldwide, issued
publications and sold merchandise under the slogan 'the power
of humanity'. Its success was confirmed at the Council of
Delegates in October 1999 when the whole Movement agreed to
make consistent use of this slogan for the next five-year
The millennium coordinators are still hard at work. Why not
let these motivated people continue to be 'the power of humanity'
coordinators and encourage them to work together to promote
a stronger global image for the International Red Cross and
Red Crescent Movement.
The Azerbaijan Red Crescent remains busy on its 80th birthday assisting
elderly and internally displaced people (IDPs). With the support of the
Federation, 200 nurses from the Azerbaijan Red Crescent visit 7,000 elderly
throughout the country. In addition, it has just opened a training centre in
Baku for IDPs. Thirty women are being taught computer skills, English and
business marketing knowledge. The hope is that through this training, they
will be able to find employment.
Volunteers to the forefront
Thousands of refugees arrived in Armenia ten years ago fleeing the conflict
in Nagorno-Karbach. Still today their lives are filled with
hardship. To reverse this trend, the Armenian Red Cross Society
offers psychosocial services for elderly refugees in communal
centres in Yerevan. Every day, volunteers from the youth division
visit their 'grandmothers' or 'grand-fathers'. They assist
with simple daily chores. The National Society aims to ease
the integration of the refugees and end their isolation. In
other words, offer a light in darkness.
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