Tuesday, 8 May 2012


“Compassion is not religious business, it is human business, it is not luxury, it is essential for our own peace and mental stability, it is essential for human survival.” - Dalai Lama
May 8th is World Red Cross/Red Crescent Day. This day was chosen to honour the birthday of Henri Dunant (1828 –1910), the Swiss founder of the Red Cross. His idea of a volunteer-based humanitarian organisation has grown into an international movement made up of 185 member Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. People all over the world, united in their belief in humanity and their desire to make the world a better place, will take a moment on World Red Cross/Red Crescent Day, to recognise past achievements and look towards a better future.

Dunant received a Nobel Peace Prize for his commitment to peaceful pursuits, which directly contributed to the creation of the Geneva Convention in 1864. Within this treaty, 12 nations agreed to grant neutrality to those willing to care for the wounded on the battlefield until recovery, and expedite supplies to those bearing the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent’s (IFRC) symbols.

The resulting global observance of the World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day dictates the annual themed focus representing the organisation's long term goals. The 2012 theme is “Together for Humanity”, representing a vision not unlike Dunant’s 148 years ago. Red Cross/Red Crescent youth volunteers worldwide will be on the move to lead positive change today in celebration of World Red Cross Red Crescent Day. It is gratifying to know that of the 13 million IFRC volunteers worldwide, half of them are young people.

The vision of the Red Cross/Red Crescent is to:
  • Initiate efforts for the reduction of deaths because of illnesses
  • Alleviate the impact of any kind of injury and death due to any sort of disaster
  • Decrease the rate of public health emergencies
  • Empower the Red Cross/Red Crescent and civil society along with local communities in order to ensure quick response to emergencies and vulnerable situations
  • Reinstitute human dignity at all the time.

All those who want to be a part of World Red Cross/Red Crescent Day celebration can do the following:
  • Support the Red Cross/Red Crescent and its programs or efforts
  • Send donation to Red Cross/Red Crescent Society near you
  • Donate blood
  • Become a volunteer of Red Cross/Red Crescent
  • Appreciate and recognise the efforts of the Red Cross/Red Crescent volunteers.

IFRC is the world’s largest humanitarian organisation, providing worldwide relief during times of disease, famine, disaster or war. It has around 97 million members and volunteers in some 170 countries and helps more than 230 million people every year. It represents the best of humanity, where compassion, fellow-feeling, kindness, concern, empathy and active help of one’s fellow human beings is manifest.

The Australian Red Cross is active both in Australia and overseas and is always in need of donations and volunteers. Make every day of the year a Red Cross/Red Crescent day by contributing in some way to the humanitarian work of this important body. The web page has many ways in which everyone of us can help the IFRC’s work.


  1. Super topic, right from the beginning of Henri Dunant's dreaming of a top quality medical service in the battle fields of 1859. Thank you.

    What I didn't know, or had forgot, was that Henri Dunant (b1828) shared the first ever Nobel Peace Prize in 1901. He must have been a good age when he was applauded for his brilliant work in Oslo that year. A well deserved medal, if ever there was one.

    Thanks for the link