The Australian Red Cross is one among the several International Red Cross Societies spread across the globe. The Australian Chapter got established by Lady Helen Munro Ferguson in the year 1914, only nine days after the World War I started when she created a British Red Cross branch. This was a branch of the International Movement. The Australian Red Cross runs and supports several projects whilst it raises awareness to the public in relation to the problems or current issues which could affect them.
Among the projects either assisted or run by the Australian Red Cross are first aid projects; blood services; education services; and emergency and disaster services. The Red Cross gets paid to sustain Australia's organ and blood donation services.
History of the Australian Red Cross
The Australian branch of the organisation went to grow at a fast pace with about 249 branches countrywide. From the start the new organization was accepted widely the Australian people. As part of the expansion, the Red Cross Information Bureau was established in 1915 for the coordination of collecting information on the dead. This stage marked the birth of the Missing and Wounded Files maintained by the Red Cross. During the First World War, The Australian Red Cross Society contributed 21 civilian nurses to the War Effort in France.
In the course of the 2nd World War, Australian Red Cross did offer help to those who were sick, wounded and sick, extending the same to their families that depended on them. Part of the aid offered came in the form of giving accommodation to returning service men that had no relatives to come back to upon returning home. The membership of the Australian Red Cross rose from only 260,000 in 1941 to over 450,000 by the close of 1944. ARC provided a crucial link the prisoners of war held in Japan and the Australian general public.
Over the years, the Australian Red Cross contributions towards humanitarian assistance include:
- In 2005, Australian Red Cross entered into an agreement to assist the government of Maldives in clearing the devastation following the 2004 Tsunami in the Indian Ocean.
- Aid workers from the Australian Red Cross came to the rescue of the boat disaster victims and survivors on Christmas Island in December of 2010.
- After the devastation in Darwin by Cyclone, the ARC gave its assistance in containing the subsequent bush fires.
- Following the heavy flooding in Queensland in 2010-11, Australian Red Cross came to assist in relief efforts.
The Australian Red Cross Mission
The Australian Red Cross mission is to become a leader organization in humanitarian assistance, bettering and enhancing lives of vulnerable persons and groups through providing services and the promoting of humanitarian laws and values.
The Australian Red Cross Movement
Australian Red Cross is an affiliate member of the global Red Crescent Movement, with millions of members plus volunteers working and serving in over 188 nations worldwide. The Movement's mission is the avoidance or decreasing of human suffering.
The 8 areas given priority by the Red Cross in Australia are:
- National emergency readiness and preparedness, the speed of responding to distress calls and recovery times improvement
- Enhancing international development and aid
- Strengthening of communities that are in areas of geographic disadvantage
- Campaigning for international humanitarian law
- Dealing with the migration impact
- Partnering with Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal peoples
- Conquering social exclusion through provision of bridges back
- Offering a secure, safe blood and blood products supply - via the Red Cross Blood Service of Australia.
In all its activities the members, staff and volunteers are guided by the Red Crescent Movement and Red Cross Fundamental Principles.
The Red Cross in Australia Movement, born of a big desire towards bringing assistance devoid of discrimination to those wounded on the numerous battlefield, strives in its national and international capacity, to alleviate and prevent human suffering globally wherever that might be found. Its aim is the protection of health and life and in ensuring respect for man. The Movement promotes mutual cooperation, friendship, understanding and lasting peace amongst all world people.
Impartiality and Non-Discrimination
Red Cross in Australia makes no discrimination in terms of race, nationality, class, political opinions or religious beliefs. It endeavours towards relieving the suffering of the individuals, always being guided exclusively by their requirements, and in giving priority to the most pressing distress cases.
Neutrality in all Matters
So as to continue enjoying the confidence of everybody, the Australian Red Cross Movement must not at any time take sides during hostilities or engage itself in controversies of a racial, religious, political or ideological nature.
Unity of Purpose
There can be only one Red Crescent Society or Red Cross in any one given nation country; and it must remain open to all. It ought to carry on its charitable work in the entire territory.
Universality of Purpose
The Movement is worldwide whereby all Societies got equal status and are sharing equal duties and responsibilities towards helping each other.
Independence and Freedom
The Movement is completely independent. The respective National Societies, whilst being auxiliaries in regards to the humanitarian services offered by their governments and being subject to the legal systems of their respective host countries, should always uphold their autonomy in such a way that they might be able throughout to act in harmony with the Movement principles.
A Royal Charter plus the Rules of the Society govern the Australian Red Cross Society.
Periodical modifications are effected to both Rules of the Society and the Royal Charter on the recommendations made by the Council of the Society and within the endorsement of the Australian Governor General as the representative of the Queen.
Australian Red Cross is a purely voluntary relief movement and is not prompted in any way by desire for profit.
There several ways through which you could get involved with the activities of Australian Red Cross.
- Young Humanitarians
- Volunteering in Australia
- Volunteering overseas
- Donating blood