5 Ways to Support World Humanitarian Day

5ways

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.

aidworker_acknowledgement.jpg

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.

img_2799

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.

 

 

 

Volunteering with our Armed Forces and International Services

When many people think of the Red Cross, they may conjure up images of people in red vests at the scene of a national disaster, or the roadside sign announcing a blood drive. While both of these functions are true of the Red Cross, we also support America’s Military FamiliesIMG_4080

By providing unwavering commitment to members of the U.S. military, its veterans and their families the Red Cross Service to Armed Forces (SAF) continues to grow and develop more than a century after Clara Barton first recruited nurses to support the U.S. Army. Today, with the help of our dedicated volunteers, the Red Cross is meeting the needs of a changing military while expanding services to veterans.

Here in Northeast Ohio our dedicated cadre of volunteers serves as caseworkers to service members and their families in times of emergency, outreach educators, and in many more functions.

When asked why they want to volunteer with SAF, most of them, like Jamie Bricker, expressed a love for helping service personnel and their families.  Katlin Vorndran stated that she was impressed with how grateful clients are for the SAF program and with how the Red Cross is there to assist the families of service members with their most urgent needs.

Bruce Foster shared the story of an experience that happened shortly after the death of his own father. He was contacting SAF clients to complete our satisfaction survey and was caught off guard by a client’s compassion towards him.  Understanding the turmoil that was going on in his own life, the client pressed him to be truthful about his well-being and then proceeded to praise him for extending such compassion to those he didn’t know during a difficult personal time.

Many of our SAF volunteers serve dual roles between Services to the Armed Forces and our International Services. For Nicole Rolf, the overlap in working cases for both International clients and Armed Forces clients gives her the opportunity to gain a better understanding of new cultures and interacting with people from all walks of life.

Amylynn Smith appreciates how unique our internationally recognized organization is, and that the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (to which the American Red Cross belongs) are respected throughout the world -even in areas of conflict.

When Alassane Fall moved to Cleveland from Senegal, he had a great respect for the missions of International Red Cross movement and sought out volunteer positions with the local Red Cross. He has a boundless desire to make a difference in this world, and wants to help those in need in his community.

If you are interested in learning more about the volunteer opportunities with our Services to Armed Forces or International Services, visit redcross.org/volunteer or call 216-431-3328.

Preventing the Spread of Diseases

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has provided vaccination to more than 1.1 billion children in the fight against measles and rubella.

The American Red Cross, United Nations foundation, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF and World Health Organization started the Measles and Rubella Initiative in 2001. Since then, Red Cross and its partners have vaccinated children in more than 80 developing countries.

Measles Vaccination Campaign

Measles Vaccination Campaign

In 2011, measles claimed an estimated 158,000 lives. This makes it a leading cause of death and disability among young children worldwide. This disease is highly contagious and includes the risk of developing other health complications, including pneumonia, blindness, diarrhea, and encephalitis. Measles are most common in younger children from the age of five to adults over 20. 95% of measles deaths occur in low income countries with poor health systems.

Rubella, also known as German measles, is a mild disease but can be serious for pregnant women and their children. If affected, women will give birth to a child with congenital rubella syndrome (CRS). More than 1000 children globally are born with CRS each year. In many developing countries, parents do not have access to medical service that can protect their children from this fate.

Measles and rubella and CRS are preventable. The Measles and Rubella Initiative is making great strides to bring vaccines that are safe and effective to dense populations where the virus will stop circulating. Vaccinations in these areas can lead to the elimination of measles and rubella.

The American Red Cross is providing technical and financial support to 12 African countries through measles and rubella vaccination campaigns. Red Cross volunteers go door-to-door in communities to educate parents, encourage participation in the campaign, and help with registration or comforting a child.

With less than $1, you can vaccinate one child and support this effort. With help from your friends, classmates or coworkers, you can vaccinate an entire village. To donate, click here or visit redcross.org for more information.

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.”

What are the odds? A NEO Red Cross International Case.

The services provided by the Red Cross offers hope to so many in our community, in so many different ways.

Recently, a Restoring Family Links (RFL) client in Stark County was searching for his Registration Records. The RFL program, offered through our local chapters, is part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. The Movement is present in every country in the world and is supported by millions of volunteers.  As part of a global network, the movement assists individuals who are attempting to find family members who were separated by armed conflict or other situations of violence and disasters. Depending on the circumstance, the program can assist an individual with obtaining records.

The Stark County client filled out all of the necessary paper work with RFL caseworker, Barb. Once his request was processed, his records were sent to the chapter.

When Melissa, the International Affairs Manager, received the documents she attempted to contact the client but a recording stated that the phone had been disconnected.

“I hope his address is current. I will have to send him a letter advising him that his requested paperwork has arrived,” she mused out loud.

“How else will you find this man?” said a Red Cross volunteer working in Melissa’s office.  The volunteer asked for the client’s name.

“Oh my goodness! He lives across the way from my apartment,” she exclaimed when Melissa told her the name.

What are the odds?

The Red Cross volunteer went home that day and told her neighbor, the client, that his documents had come into the office that very day.

“I have been waiting for these papers. Now I can begin to move forward with my life!” he stated.

To learn more about our International Services, visit www.redcross.org/international or contact your local Red Cross Chapter.