May 8 marks the birth anniversary of Henry Dunant, the founder of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the recipient of the first Nobel Peace Prize
COLOMBO, May 8, 2023: Sri Lanka Red Cross Society (SLRCS), the country’s largest humanitarian organisation, commemorated World Red Cross and Red Crescent (WRCRC) Day 2023 with the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, celebrating the power of community and people helping people in times of crises and day-to-day life, encapsulated in this year’s theme #FromTheHeart.
In honour of WRCRC Day 2023, branches of Sri Lanka Red Cross Society in the 25 districts, in collaboration with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), planted trees and awarded scholarships to a total of 100 school going children to support their education. Red Cross Societies around the country also marked the day by organising other activities such as blood donation campaigns and beach cleaning initiatives to help their communities.
While commemorating the efforts of the movement, the Director General of SLRCS, Dr. Mahesh Gunasekara, added that “for nearly a century, we have always stood in solidarity with the people. Throughout Sri Lanka’s difficult times, our staff and volunteers have been on the ground trying to find solutions to problems of vulnerable communities. On this WRCRC Day, I would like to wish the members of SLRCS and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement around the world well-wishers, appreciation, and more power to continue the work they do in every part of the world. Sri Lanka has had a difficult year, and the country’s people are still recovering from the crisis, which has not yet been resolved. On this special day, we will also assure the people of the country that we will continue serving them in whatever capacities we can”.
SLRCS has been serving the country’s most vulnerable communities for nearly a century, and WRCRC Day honours the organisation’s staff, volunteers, partners, and everyone else who has stepped forward to make a difference. SLRCS has the largest volunteer base in the country with a membership of over 100,000 volunteers. Their unwavering commitment and exemplary dedication to helping anyone in need, anywhere and to upholding the Fundamental Principles at all times, whether responding to natural hazards, climate crises, conflicts, health emergencies, displacement, or migration is admired around the world.
“For over 160 years, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement has remained committed to neutral, impartial, independent humanitarian action. In Sri Lanka, the ICRC supports the humanitarian work of Sri Lanka Red Cross Society, ensuring that relevant and timely humanitarian services reach people affected by armed conflict, crises and other emergencies . Today, we pay tribute to volunteers and Red Cross staff who play a vital role in times of need. They do it with love and #FromTheHeart.”, says Head of ICRC Delegation in Sri Lanka, Séverine Chappaz.
SLRCS and the Red Cross and Red Crescent family have long been at the forefront of humanitarian assistance and protection for those in need. The world has seen how effective the movement can be in addressing multiple crises and providing principled humanitarian aid.
“Around the world, the movement supports millions of people every year. Here in Sri Lanka, the IFRC have been collaborating with the SLRCS to support their initiatives aimed at uplifting the country’s most vulnerable communities, reaching more than 100,000 people every year. We build stronger communities through our volunteers and staff. It has been a pleasure to watch what SLRCS has accomplished over the years. IFRC will continue to support the national society in their efforts to bring about positive change in the community”, added the Operations Manager of the IFRC Delegation in Sri Lanka, Manik Saha
SLRCS celebrated while remembering the millions of Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers and staff around the world who, every day in their respective countries, regions, and communities, carry forward Henry Dunant’s determination to provide hope and dignity to people in vulnerable situations without distinction or thought of personal gain.