World Red Cross Day celebrated
Sri Lanka Red Cross Society (SLRCS) joined its 183 partner National
Societies worldwide and International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) and
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
(International Federation) in celebrating the world Red Cross and Red
Crescent Day on May 8.
They celebrated the day remembering the enduring efforts of the
International Red Cross Movement to alleviate human suffering worldwide,
whether from disease, famine, disaster or war.
World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day is commemorated each year on the
birthday of Henry Dunant, the Swiss philanthropist who founded the
International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement in 1863 to help ease
the suffering of war victims. In 1859, Dunant witnessed firsthand the
painful plight of wounded soldiers during the Battle of Solferino in
Italy and became a tireless advocate for humane treatment of the sick
and wounded during wartime.
Since the day that Dunant first conceived of the idea of the Red
Cross, the Movement grown to become the largest humanitarian aid
organisation in the world.
Today 183 countries have Red Cross or Red Crescent Societies, all of
which work to promote same mission: to save lives and alleviate
suffering in their local communities and around the world. In 1901, the
first Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Henry Dunant in recognition for
his service he rendered to alleviate suffering of the vulnerable people.
The International Committee of the Red Cross, subsequently, was
awarded the Nobel Prize in 1917 and 1944, as tributes to its
humanitarian activities during the two World Wars. In 1963, the ICRC and
the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies won
the prize on the occasion of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement's
In 1936, a Red Cross Society was set up in Sri Lanka as the central
branch of the British Red Cross to assist the government to control the
malaria epidemic which prevailed in the country. The society was named
as Ceylon Red Cross in 1949 after Sri Lanka gaining the independence.
The Ceylon Red Cross was affiliated to the International Federation in
The Ceylon Red Cross became the Sri Lanka red Cross Society in 1972.
Today Sri Lanka Red Cross Society through its network of 26 branches in
all districts in the island with a large volunteer base provides
humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable in our society. SLRCS
brings humanitarian assistance to natural or manmade disaster victims,
educates young people about HIV/AIDS, attempts to reunite family members
separated by the conflict in the country, provides First Aid and
organises volunteer blood donation programmes, engages in disaster
management, promote primary health care and disseminates humanitarian
values throughout the country.
This year the SLRCS through its branches had organised a number of
activities under the theme of "Universal Assistance through
Volunteerism". The national celebration is organised by the Sri Lanka
Red Cross Society Kurunegala branch which celebrates its 50th
anniversary this year.