Every year on May 8, the international community comes together to celebrate World Red Cross Day, the birth anniversary of the founder of the Red Cross – Henry Dunant. Dunant the founder of the Red Cross was also the founder of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). He was the recipient of the first Nobel Peace Prize. Red Cross day also celebrates the important role of the volunteers and their contribution to helping people in need. Today, over 200 years since the setting up of the Red Cross, its role in society is more relevant than ever before. Belize Red Cross Society was founded in 1950 by Dr. Daniel Tenenbaum of Belmopan City Hospital. Previously it was part of the British Red Cross. It has its headquarters in Belize City. The current Director General is Lily Bowman.
“Basically World Red Cross Day is celebrated to talk about and to build awareness about the work and the reach of the organization as a global network and also the network around something like seventeen million volunteers worldwide. Everybody is celebrating this day today throughout a hundred and ninety countries. The work that we do, the range of our work, the diversity of our beneficiaries; this is what we take this day for, we celebrate it, making people more aware of the work that we do and having them understand better what the organization is about. We have been known mostly for disaster response and first aid. We have since then only been doing that, we have been doing more of that yes but we have also been diversifying into working more closer with the communities. We realize that there are so many more emerging challenges, social issues, living conditions that people have to face as challenges, economic crisis and our goal as a movement is to alleviate suffering wherever it is found. So we go into these communities and we work with them as partners, building stronger, safer and more resilient communities. So our focus has been building resilience within our communities right now. We need to remind the general public that the disaster season is right here upon us and since we have been doing years and years of preparing communities I would like everyone to pull out their emergency plans and start going through it with their families and getting ready, putting things in place for the event there is a disaster. God forbid. I would also like to say that if they need assistance in completing their family emergency plans, we are here to help but the most important thing is to just be prepared.
Tomorrow morning the Red Cross Belize will be holding a ‘street beat’.
“Our Youth Focal Point will be heading this, taking out some volunteers out into the public. We’re going to find probably the Battlefield Park or wherever there is a lot of people that traffic and we are just going to be chatting with them because World Red Cross Day celebrates the work that we do but just how much do people know what we do, apart from these moments that I get on the television or somebody else gets on the television and talk about it. What do they really know? We want to know. Did you know that and we’ll ask them questions to see what they answer. We’ll be very appreciative for the responses and those responses are what we are going to use to guide us in future programming.”