Danke, gracias, grazie, merci: It’s International Volunteer Day!

The American Red Cross is a proud part of a vast network of international organizations. So when the United Nations began to promote December 5 as International Volunteer Day, we were completely on-board!

To our more than 1,700 local volunteers, who promote our mission to prepare and alleviate human suffering…Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Thank you, also, to those who serve the call of humanitarian organizations across the globe. And to those who serve along side of us as we continuethe recovery process from this year’s hurricane and wildfire season…thank you!

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If you would like to volunteer with the Red Cross, please visit redcross.org/neo and click on Volunteer. There are so many opportunities to serve, here in Northeast Ohio, and across the country.

5 Ways to Support World Humanitarian Day

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Sign the petition to protect civilians trapped in conflict
Visit www.worldhumanitarianday.org to sign the petition demanding that civilians in conflict are protected – encourage your colleagues and counterparts to add their
names.
• Share the #NotATarget campaign on Social Media
Download a social media graphic from our repository http://bit.ly/WHDcomms17 and post it with the following sample tweet to your social media accounts:
On #WorldHumanitarianDay, I stand up for civilians trapped in conflict. They are #NotATarget. Sign the petition at WorldHumanitarianDay.org Visit OCHA’s Twitter (twitter.com/UNOCHA) and Facebook (facebook.com/UNOCHA/) accounts to share the
#NotATarget messages.

• Organize your Stand Together event
Invite your colleagues and partners to stand together in solidarity with millions of civilians trapped in conflict. We have prepared #NotATarget signs for you to print and
hold during the event. (See the guidelines for organizing a Stand Together.)

• Join a Stand Together event
Across the world, the UN and partners will be organizing Stand Together events. Contact an OCHA office in your country to see what is being planned. In New York, on Friday 18 August, you can join the the UN ‘Staff Stand Together’ at 11:30am at UNHQ and the public event in Times Square at 4:00pm. Similar events are being planned across the world. Together we will reaffirm that civilians caught in conflict are #NotATarget and demand global action to protect them.

• Record a Facebook Live video with the #NotATarget filter
Starting from 18 August, visit UNOCHA’s Facebook page where you will find a link to the #NotATarget filter. Access the filter and record a live video, narrating the story of a person trapped in conflict.

The American Red Cross is a part of the global network dedicated to relieving human suffering. Learn more here.

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Tiffany Circle Members Experience Red Cross Mediterranean Rescues through Powerful Presentation

Imagine seeing terrified men, women and children crowded on tiny wooden boats and rubber dinghies being rescued from the dangerous, choppy waters of the Mediterranean Sea.

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This was the scene that Jenelle Eli watched over and over as she spent nearly a month aboard the Red Cross ship, Responder, which patrolled the central Mediterranean route between North Africa and Italy. She is the Director of International Communications for the American Red Cross National Headquarters in Washington, D.C., having specifically traveled to Ohio to share her experiences with Northeast Ohio Red Cross Tiffany Circle members and staff at an event hosted by Donna Rae Smith at the Cleveland Yachting Club in Rocky River on July 7.

Jenelle travels around the world to places like Haiti, Nepal, and the Philippines to observe the global humanitarian and international disaster response work of the Red Cross. She shares her experiences and photos with the news media and through presentations to raise awareness about how Red Cross donations and volunteers are making a huge impact. Years after earthquakes and typhoons have devastated countries, Red Cross assistance continues as communities recover with new irrigation systems, homes and schools.

In sharing with a captivated audience at the Rocky River event, Jenelle explained how last year, the Italian Red Cross and International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) launched a joint life-saving mission with Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) to patrol and conduct rescue missions along the Central Mediterranean route between North Africa and Italy—where most of the 5,000+ drownings in 2016 occurred. The Red Cross helped save the lives of refugees fleeing their countries from war and poverty.

“They are going on boats without water, food or life jackets. The Mediterranean Sea is super dangerous. After they are rescued, the Red Cross provided them with medical care, food and water until they go to Europe where many apply for asylum.’’

When Jenelle asked refugees why they risked their lives going on a raft in the Mediterranean Sea, a father responded that his daughter was so smart that he wanted a better life for her. A woman who cried for hours told Jenelle that she had tears of joy because she had escaped after being kidnapped by a human trafficker and the Red Cross saved her life from the sea.

The Red Cross works in partnership with Red Cross and Red Crescent teams in other countries and deploys volunteers to help upon request. The Red Cross has a roster of about 60 volunteers from all over the country who serve on an international disaster team restoring information technology – among other relief activities – after disasters so people can communicate. David Schindler and John Wright, from right here in Northeast Ohio, are part of that team!

Jenelle was introduced to the crowd at the Cleveland Yachting Club by Donna Rae Smith, Vice Chair of the Northeast Ohio Tiffany Circle. Donna Rae and Tiffany Circle Chair, Laurie Laidlaw Deacon, shared with guests the power of the Tiffany Circle network of women across the United States, who want to change lives, save lives and strengthen communities through a focused investment of time, talent and treasure in the Red Cross.

“We are informed and active decision makers who are network builders, ambassadors, community volunteers, and mothers who greatly influence family and friends – all working to advance the Red Cross mission to help those in need.” – Laurie Laidlaw Deacon, Tiffany Circle Chair

 

 

Jenelle also shared the impact of the Red Cross Measles initiative to help save lives.

The Red Cross can continue our efforts to vaccinate the world’s at-risk children against measles – with the goal of ridding the world of this deadly disease.

Measles vaccinations cost only about $1 each – making them an incredibly effective way to improve the health and safety of children around the globe.

To learn more about joining the dynamic women leaders of the Tiffany Circle, contact Donna Gracon at donna.gracon@redcross.org.

For more photos from her deployment at sea, search What I Heard in the Middle of the Mediterranean in the Middle of the Night. Learn more about how the Red Cross helps people around the world by reading Jenelle’s contributions to the Red Cross website: http://www.redcross.org/news-events/news?tag=International, or by contacting Jessica Tischler, Director of Services to the Armed Forces and International Services for the Northeast Ohio Region, at jessica.tischler@redcross.org.

Working Locally to Affect Change Globally

By Jessica Tischler, International Services Director, Northeast Ohio Region

Each year, disasters around the world devastate the lives of millions of people.  The American Red Cross is taking action to help save lives by:

-Providing urgent assistance to people affected by disaster in countries across the globe;
-Helping to vaccinate children against measles;
-Investing in disaster preparedness, making communities less vulnerable;
-Reconnecting families separated by international war and disaster;
-Educating about international humanitarian law.

In Northeast Ohio, we are actively engaged with reconnecting family members who have been separated by international war and disaster, and with educating individuals in our community about International Humanitarian Law.

I had the pleasure of recently meeting with Asma Sameen Bangash of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Red Crescent.  Asma is an attorney based in Peshawar, Pakistan, and serves as a Communication Officer focusing on International Humanitarian Law.  She is visiting the United States as a Fellow in a U. S. State Department-sponsored program, studying U. S. law and policy, and is spending time in Washington and in Cleveland at Case Western Reserve University.

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Jessica Tischler, Director of International Services, Northeast Ohio Region and  Asma Sameen Bangash of ICRC

As a member of the ICRC, Asma interacts with the Red Crescent Society in Pakistan, and expressed an interest in learning about the programs and services offered through the American Red Cross. I was happy to explain to her the many ways in which the Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies, by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors in Northeast Ohio.

For more information about Red Cross International Services, click here.

 

 

 

5 Years Later, Remembering the 2010 Earthquake in Haiti

by Wedley Charles, Intern at the American Red Cross of Northeast Ohio

January 12, 2010 I was being lured to sleep by the monotone voice of my physical education professor at Saint Cloud High School in Florida. He was rambling about the dangers that exist in the world and I decided to doodle. I was lost in my own world until he said “Disasters happen Wedley, you’ll never know when it’ll be your last day.”

I felt like a prisoner in my own mind when I arrived home. I couldn’t escape the words my professor told me. As I was walking towards my father I overheard breaking news from CNN saying there was an earthquake the magnitude of 7.0. The earthquake hit the capital of Haiti, Port-au-Prince, and neighboring cities.

My father, his bestfriend from Cap-Haitien, and I

My father, his best-friend, and I

My father went into an immediate panic. You could hear him mashing the buttons into the body of his phone. He was trying to contact all of his family members in Haiti, but he couldn’t reach them all. I remember him telling me stories of him growing up in a village in Cap-Haitien. The people of the village raised the children together teaching them local traditions and customs. He told me it would be his dream to have me go to his village and see his family. Now that the earthquake hit, I could no longer see those dreams.

Days later we discovered that my father lost two cousins and his wife at the time lost three family members. The deaths occurred northeast of the capital; La Gonave, Gonaives, Cap-Haitien.

The American Red Cross has supported more than 4.5 million Haitians since the 2010 earthquake. They have also contributed $98 million to improve the vital health care in Haiti. This allows families to have better access to quality medical care and clean water. $48 million dollars have been spent on job training, cash grants, and livelihood programs for the devastated communities. The Red Cross has also started programs to help entrepreneurs improve their business and marketing skills and they’ve trained nearly 10,000 people in construction techniques for emergency-ready homes. They provided safer sheltering conditions for 132,000 Haitians and upgraded or repaired more than 15,000 homes enabling them to remain safe far into the future.

Haiti 5 year Infographic

Haiti 5 year Infographic

The fundraising efforts of the Red Cross contributed $488 million for work in Haiti. The American Red Cross worked in partnership with the Haitian Red Cross and local Haitian organizations to support and sustain a permanent culture of preparedness.

Gail McGovern, CEO of the American Red Cross said “I have seen firsthand the destruction and shock in the days right after the earthquake, where people were just trying to get through the day with minimal food, water and health care. I have seen the steady progress and the return of a spirit of resiliency as Haitians have rebuilt their lives and communities. The pace of progress on the road to recovery is never as fast as we would like, but everywhere you look, there is a marked difference in Haiti, and I’m very proud of all that we have accomplished.”