Every year in May, Sierra Leone Red Cross Society (SLRCS) joins other similar societies worldwide to observe World Red Cross Day. The SLRCS like other Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in 188 countries was established by an Act of Parliament in 1962 and this Act was revised in 2012.
According to the SLRCS Communications Department, the SLRCS acts as an auxiliary to the Government of Sierra Leone in delivering humanitarian services and other relevant social and first aid services in times of need.
The outbreak of an 11 years civil war in Sierra Leone brought the Red Cross to the fore in the eyes of many Sierra Leoneans. Disappointingly however, volunteerism seems to be dying out in our society of age. Where has that spirit of helping one another gone? Nevertheless, those Sierra Leoneans who have stood firm amidst the trying tides to save the lives of others we certainly recognise and will reward.
On the history of World Red Cross Day, the statement from the Red Cross Communication Department states that people around the world are touched everyday by the Red Cross and Red Crescent, or contribute to its work, without even realizing it. Imagine the number of people that have taken a first aid course or heard about a family being helped after disaster or had a friend donate to a local programme without even realizing that it was the Red Cross or Red Crescent in action.
Every year in May, the World Red Cross wish to bring people back to their personal connection to the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, to ask citizens to share their Red Cross and Red Crescent stories. As a Movement, we will share and promote these stories on multiple platforms globally and together, we aim to start local conversations that organically grow into multiple conversations in multiple communities, cities and countries. Internally, we want to bring people back to what inspired them to be involved with the Movement in the first place. Externally, we want to bring home the well-hidden fact that almost everyone has a connection to the Red Cross or Red Crescent.
The society’s volunteers have been at the forefront of humanitarian action during recent national disasters, including the recent outbreak of the Cholera epidemic, among others, providing help to the victims of those disasters.
SLRCS volunteers have provided psycho-social support, activated early warning systems, worked in emergency response and long-term recovery, helped reunite separated family members and continued to be a driving force for change at community level.
By Ade Campbell
Friday May 23, 2014