By Caroline Haga

Along with its neighbours in Europe and Central Asia, also Azerbaijan has in recent years welcomed many migrants primarily from Afghanistan and South East Asia. As the country’s largest humanitarian organization, the Red Crescent of Azerbaijan plays an important role in supporting their integration into society.

One of the key support services provided by the Red Crescent are language courses – vital pre-requisites for both adults and children to find jobs and enroll into schools. More than 200 migrants have successfully completed the courses which are the free-of-charge in the past three years.

“Our language courses play a critical role in helping migrants to become a part of our society,” said teacher Sona Hajiyeva, who established the courses.

“We also seek to familiarise them with our culture by organising events and visits to historical sites, museums and theatres.” 

“I am honoured to be a part of the Red Crescent and play a role in providing care and assistance to migrants from different countries of the world.”

Promoting well-being and a healthy lifestyle

Health care, psychosocial support and promoting healthy lifestyles are also important in ensuring the welfare of local population and migrants alike. Through its regional centres and local branches, the Red Crescent organises information sessions and activities on a variety of topics including first aid; psychosocial first aid; awareness-raising of illnesses such as breast cancer, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria; and healthy life style factors.

In particular, children, teenagers and their mothers are invited to learn about healthy living to ensure a good start in the youth’s lives. Information sessions on new-born care are also provided to pregnant women to help them be better prepared.

“Working with children gives me great pleasure,” said Matanat Garakhanova, manager of the community-based health programme.

“Our sessions with the children are as interactive and fun as possible with games, proverbs, puzzles, painting and songs to ensure that they always remember the important messages.”

“I enjoy seeing them so happy when we show kindness and interact with them. They need that more than anything in a foreign country.”

World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day 2017

Millions of Red Cross and Red Crescent staff around the world reach more than 160 million people every year providing a diverse and innovative range of services.