08/05/2018 – Colombo, Sri Lanka: Nobody seems to know how many muscles it takes to smile. Some sources say 17; others argue that it’s around 12. But within the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, rumor has it that it’s over 7 billion. Or, the hard-working minds and muscles of more than 12 million staff and volunteers.
Every day, they work with people facing the worst moments of their lives – crises, war and disaster. They are the first responders and frontline ambassadors of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. The growing strength and reach of our global network is because of people like them: around the world, in dangerous and unstable places, neutral, independent and impartial humanitarian action has the best chance to reach those most in need. If we can ever claim to be everywhere for everyone, it will also be because of people like them.
On World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day, we want to voice our gratitude for their work, and our indebtedness to their service.
Doing what they do isn’t easy. Today, humanitarians are subject to more threats and attacks than ever before. Every year, tragically, we lose Red Cross and Red Crescent staff and volunteers. Every year, we are haunted by the empty spaces they leave behind, and the words of gratitude that they will never get to hear.
Still, our staff and volunteers keep going. They work in increasingly protracted crises, with extremely complex dynamics. They know that the people they serve are no longer in tough situations for a couple of months, but for years. And still, they accompany them. From urgent, life-saving assistance, to recovery and resilience programmes, they are there.
Here in Sri Lanka a special programme was organized by the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society in collaboration with the ICRC and IFRC. The event took place in Aranayake, Kegalle, the site of the 2016 landslide.
The event was held under the patronage of the President of Sri Lanka Red Cross Jagath Abeysinghe along with volunteers, staff members and many other dignitaries from the IFRC and the ICRC Sri Lanka Delegations.
The event began with a march through the Kegalle town to the Health Ministry Office of Kegalle. Here steps were taken by the Red Cross to distribute school items to students who were affected by the landslide.
Meanwhile across the island several other activities also took place to celebrate World Red Cross Red Crescent Day.
The SLRCS Mullaitivu Branch conducted activities to promote humanitarian values in schools, a tree planting campaign and a shramadhama campaign at the District General Hospital. The event was attended by branch volunteers and staff.
The Matale branch of the SLRCS began a flag week in view of World Red Cross Red Crescent Day. School students and teachers within the district that has a Junior Red Cross Circle were the first to receive the said flags from the Society.