Dear Red Cross and Red Crescent colleagues, dear friends,
On this World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day, we are especially proud to recognize the work of our volunteers and staff who are on the frontline responding to the growing needs of communities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. They sow kindness and solidarity around the globe and provide hope and dignity in the midst of despair. The incredible spirit of our volunteers all over the world during this crisis is not only a cause for admiration but also a source of inspiration for others to get involved too.
World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day is an opportunity to show our collective gratitude to our 13 million volunteers for their exemplary dedication to the humanitarian cause and our Fundamental Principles and also to thank them for their kindness, bravery and selflessness.
On 8 May this year, we find ourselves physically distant from one another, but we are closer than ever as we walk the path towards humanity. We are truly united in this crisis. The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement has always been there, close to the people who need us most when times have been the toughest, when hope might seem so far out of reach.
During these challenging times, our National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies also demonstrate that we are united in our dedication to help people in distress. The original intent of Henry Davison, one of the founding fathers of our organization founded in the aftermath of 1918 flu pandemic is still our intent of today: ‘‘We get together for the purpose of finding a way of contributing to the world the benefit of our experience with the purpose of co-ordinating the efforts of all of the National Societies of the world in the interest of mankind.’’
This year, we are witnessing an unprecedented time, which is pushing all of us to adapt to new ways of volunteering and working together and with our communities. Although our proximity to vulnerable people and communities is being transformed, we continue to make a difference in people’s lives. And in these times of physical distancing, we have also learnt to comfort and show solidarity from afar, continuing to create social connections and develop a sense of belonging.
Our ability to respond to this crisis determines the consequences for vulnerable populations and for all of us globally. We need to address this global pandemic with the approach that “no one is safe until we are all safe”. As never before, the safety and well-being of everyone is critical for the safety and well-being of the entire world.
Today’s world is in a state of constant upheaval and permanent crisis, but whatever the problem – a natural hazard, the climate crisis, conflict or migration – Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers are visible ambassadors for peace and solidarity and active players in shaping the future of our communities and countries. In these trying times, their commitment and dedication, as first responders and local actors, to alleviating human suffering remains strong and powerful.
Today we celebrate our women and men, the young and old, every single person who continues to make the idea of the Red Cross and Red Crescent a reality each day. We celebrate our efforts to reach the most vulnerable and ensure that no one is left behind. We celebrate the support of our families for our dedication to humanity. And we celebrate our Red Cross and Red Crescent Family. We can truly say we are needed now more than ever. To quote our founder Henry Dunant: “Everyone can, in one way or another, each in their sphere and according to their strength, contribute to some extent to this good work.”
We thank you all and clap in solidarity with you. Happy Red Cross and Red Crescent Day!
We would ask all Red Cross and Red Crescent Presidents and Secretaries General to kindly pass our message on to the staff and volunteers of their National Societies.
Jagan Chapagain Francesco Rocca
Secretary General President