May 8, 2014 – Colombo, Sri Lanka: Everyday most of the seven billion people in the world are touched by the Red Cross and Red Crescent without even realizing it. Almost everyone – or someone they know – has donated blood or received a first aid tip or been visited by a volunteer, perhaps not knowing it was their local Red Cross or Red Crescent in action. Annually, May 8 is World Red Cross Red Crescent Day. On this day we celebrate the power of community and people helping people, both in the spotlight during crises and behind-the-scenes in day-to-day life.
More than 17 million Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers and 80 million members interact with friends, families and neighbors the world-over. Here in Sri Lanka, we have over 6000 active Red Cross volunteers. Their service has a positive impact on the lives of every member of their community. They serve in places like hospitals, schools, community centers and gatherings, sometimes directly in peoples’ homes – all the while providing life-changing and at times life-saving services.
“In the last 3 years we have been able to reach more than a million people, aiding them in various capacities, building stronger communities such as our Post Conflict Recovery Programme in the North and also our Integrated Programme for Community Resilience,” said the Director General of Sri Lanka Red Cross Tissa Abeywickrama.
“In particular, our programmes all around the country have enabled us to achieve in better preparing communities for disaster, foster violence prevention, increase access to health, and resettle communities who were returning to their homeland from a 30 year old conflict.
The Sri Lanka Red Cross Society is part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, which celebrates more than 150 years of humanitarian action worldwide. Across the globe, the Red Cross and Red Crescent helps support 180 million people every year – in community programmes, responding to disasters and inspiring hope.
“People instinctively want to contribute and give. This has been part of human nature throughout history,” said Jagath Abeysinghe, President of Sri Lanka Red Cross Society. “There is a humanitarian in each of us, and the Red Cross creates a space where people mobilize together to amplify the impact of their good work.”
Today to commemorate World Red Cross Red Crescent Day the Sri Lanka Red Cross will pin a commemorative flag on His Excellency Mahinda Rajapakse, the President of Sri Lanka at Temple Trees. Afterwards an event will also take place at the Lakshman Kadiragamar Institute in Colombo.