8 May is Red Cross Red Crescent Day. Tadateru Konoé, President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross, talk about the common story that links the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement.
Someone once said that dreaming is like planning. Who knew that one person’s dream to help people would become so universal that it would touch almost every one of us in our modern-day world?
Almost everyone – or someone they know – has donated blood or received a first-aid tip or been visited by a volunteer, perhaps not realizing it was the Red Cross or Red Crescent in action. Almost everyone has a Red Cross or Red Crescent story.
Long before the International Red Cross and Red Cross Movement came into existence, people have been drawn to help each other: out of compassion, kindness and hope. Today the Movement provides a space where people can mobilize, share their aspirations, and act on them together – for greater impact.
In our world where disorder seems constant and suffering never stops, we believe hope will not diminish but instead grow stronger. Looking far into the future we believe people will still want to help other people. The desire to be connected to each other will increase, not decline. It’s simply human nature.
In our societies, increasingly characterised by virtual interactions, the proximity of our 17 million Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers to vulnerable people in their local communities is ever more vital. The importance of real, human connections when responding to crises and empowering development cannot be overstated.
In 1859, Henry Dunant dreamed of helping wounded people on a battlefield. This was the impetus for our worldwide Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement whose sole mission was to bring relief to vulnerable people, now also to build stronger communities.
Our 17 million volunteers reach many more millions of people each year. In fact, there is a Red Cross or Red Crescent presence in almost every community in the world, from rural villages to urban metropolises.
In recent history, volunteers together with Movement partners have responded to the triple disaster in Japan, earthquake in Haiti, conflict in Syria and more, connecting the affected communities to the world through social media and other channels in our interconnected globe. Their numbers and impact will only continue to grow.
The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is committed to providing relevant and timely humanitarian services to vulnerable communities now and in the future. Today almost everyone has a Red Cross or Red Crescent story. Years from now, they still will.