Thursday, May 29, 2008

Patience and commitment: keys to the Special Development Center volunteers

By Niniu Oligao
SIRC Dissemination & Information officer

One could imagine how she or he has dedicated his or her times and efforts to run around behind the kids, carrying a disappointed kid, teaching a deaf with sign language, and dealing with aggressive children; it is more challenging than caring for our own children. This is the work of Cathy and her team of dedicated volunteers.

As I watched the disable children at the SIRC Special School for disable children, I was inspired by the way the patient volunteers dealt with the children with different disabilities. Things were very difficult, some of them were violent towards others. The tiring volunteer teachers ensured they did not hurt the smaller ones.

It was fun to see some of them asked their teachers during class session when would be a dancing session for them. They loved dancing!

But the joy shown by children at the Special School indicated to me that the disable children also have a place in our respect to Human dignity. They need better education, love, respect, care, and better health in our society.

The peace of mind the committed volunteer teachers have at the end of each day is what matters. They have walked another extra mile with our disable children to explore the reality of life in education, love, respect, care, and better health. And their satisfaction prevails when each disable people has graduated and joined the nation’s workforce. He or she has proved that disability has no hold on him or her.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Ms Jolo takes up SIRC Secretary General post

Most coveted SI Red Cross job has been grabbed by Ms Nancy Jolo recently. Ms Jolo from Santa Isabel takes up the Secretary General (SG) post after it has been advertised in the local printed medias.
Before taking of the Secretary General post, Nancy is used to be the Deputy Secretary General of the local Red Cross from 2004 to May 2008.
During a short staff meeting to announce the new Solomon Islands Red Cross Secretary General Ms Jolo said she is happy to face the new challenges and responsibility ahead of her with the new job. She thanked the SIRC Governing Board to have confidence and appointed her among the rest of the candidates to be the new SIRC Secretary General.
But she called upon her Red Cross colleagues to maintain the good teamwork they have performed during their time with the outgoing Secretary General.
"Those hurdles ahead could not be overcome if your support shown towards the previous SG is absent. I ask your continuous supports to make our work enjoyable and we can be able to serve the vulnerable people", said Jolo.
In reply to her appeal Mr. Lorima Tuke said on behalf of the SIRC staff and volunteers they are looking forward to work hand in hand with their new SG.
SI Red Cross is one of the national organizations led by a local. Congratulations Nancy Jolo to be another local Solomon Islander to lead this humanitarian organization.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

SIRC farewelled Charles Kelly

Mr. Charles Kelly, the SI Red Cross out going Secretary General has been farewelled by the local Red Cross staff and volunteers during a dinner hosted jointly by the SIRC Dissemination program and Management last Friday at the Chinatown office.
During the dinner which was attended by SIRC staff, volunteers, and high schools representatives around Honiara Mr. Kelly said his departure from Red Cross was not of ill feeling but his personal interest to face the future.
"To move from Red Cross is a hard decision for me to make. But I have to leave for others to have a chance to lead this respected humanitarian organization.
"And also I'm getting old so I need to prepare for the time I will go home and settle there", he said.
If anyone wants to know more about Charles, he has been a respected figure in the Red Cross family since 1980s. He was one of the people captained the local Red Cross since its establishment in 1983. After some years he worked somewhere then returned in 2004 to take up the Secretary General for SIRC again till May 9, 2008.
Many times the local Red Cross went through rough seas but he always believed in his commitment with the work of the Red Cross to relief the most vulnerable people that motivated him to reach the recognition and respect the organization enjoys now.
First thing one can see on his face is a big smile to greet you with his usual words "how bosi?" when one wants to see him in his office. He believes in team work, thus made his leadership in Red Cross as one of the most effective leadership style.
"To all staff and volunteers, I have done nothing during my time here. It was you who did the work to build our impressive reputation. Please continue with the good team work you have now to help our vulnerable people who need you- I will continue to serve the Red Cross as volunteer", Kelly said during his closing remark.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

SIRC held General Assembly in color

From the beautiful flowers decorated with the meeting room to the neatly dressed ladies in red tops and black blouses and gentlemen in white shirts and black shorts reflected the professionalism performed by the SI Red Cross during its 2008 General Assembly held at Commonwealth Youth Program (CYP) Center, Panatina last Thursday 8th of May 2008.

Speaking at the General Assembly, the acting Governor General and the National Parliament Speaker Rt. Hon Sir Peter Kenilorea commended the local Red Cross for its major contributions to relief human sufferings during the 2000 Ethnic Tension, April2, 2007 Earth Quake and Tsunami in Western and Choiseul, and April Riots in Honiara in 2006.

"Without your efforts to volunteer in helping our people, our fellow citizens would not make it or even experienced further suffering", he said in his official opening of the General Assembly.

Sir Peter further said the SIRC action reflects the mandate laid to it in 1983 by the act of the Solomon Islands National Parliament to relief suffering of humanity, which is very impressive to those like him who did it.

Mr. Frank Kennedy (Head of the International Federation of Red Cross Pacific Delegation) congratulated SIRC for its General Assembly. He said SI Red Cross has been progressing well in the past years, which was very impressive to the Red Cross family in the region.

However, the Regional Red Cross family would miss Mr. Charles Kelly (SIRC Secretary General) for the excellent work he has done for the SIRC and the regional Red Cross Societies. But his team passed their good wishes to Charles in his new job.

The efforts of the SIRC staff and volunteers to make real every day the Red Cross and Red Crescent Fundamental Principles must and would not be forgotten. Red Cross and Red Crescent through out the world celebrated May 8, 2008 the World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day in tribute to the founder of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and many volunteers who dedicated their lives for humanity's sake.

Monday, May 5, 2008

SIRC & ARC feedback on HAP evaluation

Solomon Islands Red Cross and Australian Red Cross today reviewed the three years Health Awareness Project (HAP) with Cynthia, an independent evaluator from Australia.
The review held at the local Red Cross office looked at three general areas; achievements of HAP by SI Red Cross, challenges faced with HAP, and lessons learned from three years HAP to lay strong foundation for future similar project with SIRC.
When looking at the successful story of the Health Awareness Project, Ms Cynthia said she was glad with the progression made over the three years. It has built a very good reputation of SIRC.
"Everywhere I go I hear good message about SI Red Cross", she said.
Cynthia also highlighted the combination of different SIRC programs to HAP build strength which is now recognized by the International Federation of the Red Cross.
In relation, she talked highly of the quality community trainings and materials adopted to the local context. They raised community awareness of health and hygiene issues, thus contributed to some safe health behavior change.
However, if Solomon Islands Red Cross is now ready to venture into the second phase of HAP it has to consider challenges and turn them into opportunities for future success.
Three years Health Awareness Project is supported and funded by the Australian Red Cross to focus on community hygiene and health awareness in vulnerable communities (Weathercoast and Maluu) affected by 1998-2003 Ethnic Tension and had health problems.

Together for Humanity

2-05-2008 Official Statement

A joint statement from the presidents of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the International Committee of the Red Cross on the occasion of World Red Cross Red Crescent Day 2008.

Each year, World Red Cross Red Crescent Day, celebrated on 8 May, offers us an opportunity to call attention to the plight of people affected by disasters, armed conflict and other situations of violence, to take stock of the multiple challenges we face and to reaffirm our commitment to working together for humanity.

It is this aspect of togetherness – of people working towards a common goal of helping others – that enables us to make a true difference in the lives of the victims of catastrophes, hostilities, poverty and health crises.

Every day, we see the importance and impact of solidarity reflected in the work of our dedicated volunteers and staff around the globe – from disaster preparedness to restoring family links.

Whether they are evacuating residents ahead of a cyclone or reuniting children and parents torn apart by war, it is by working together that National Societies, the International Federation and the ICRC are able to offer protection, assistance, comfort and hope to those in need.

Working in partnership also means coordinating and collaborating with others, including governments, international organizations, the private sector and communities.

This enables us to respond more effectively to change and to adapt to complex humanitarian challenges, such as internal displacement, armed violence, international migration, emerging diseases, and humanitarian consequences of environmental degradation.

Next year, we will mark the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Solferino – a decisive moment in the Red Cross and Red Crescent's history. It was on the battlefield of Solferino that Henry Dunant, who was born on 8 May 1828, first reached out to help wounded soldiers and began to formulate a vision that would lead to the creation of the Movement.

As we look forward to commemorating this landmark event in 2009, we should remember that people – their safety, health, dignity and wellbeing – must be at the centre of everything we do and stand for.

Experience has shown us that cooperation and teamwork are essential to our ability to help others, so as we observe World Red Cross Red Crescent Day, let's also celebrate the strength that comes from working together for humanity.

Juan Manuel Suárez del Toro
President of the International Federation

Jakob Kellenberger
President of the ICRC

Thursday, May 1, 2008

World Red Cross Day: Remembering Henry Dunant's love for humanity

Henry Dunant (1828-1910). The man whose vision led to the creation of the worldwide Red Cross and Red Crescent movement; he went from riches to rags but became joint recipient of the first Nobel peace prize.

Henry Dunant, who was born in Geneva on 8 May 1828, came from a devout and charitable Calvinist family. After incomplete secondary schooling, he was apprenticed to a Geneva bank. In 1853, he travelled to Algeria to take charge of the Swiss colony of Sétif. He started construction of a wheat mill, but could not obtain the land concession that was essential for its operation. After travelling to Tunisia he returned to Geneva, where he decided to approach Napoleon III to obtain the business document he needed.
At the time, the Emperor was commanding the Franco-Sardinian troops fighting the Austrians in northern Italy, and it was there that Henry Dunant decided to seek him out. This was how he came to be present at the end of the battle of Solferino, in Lombardy.

Returning to Geneva, he wrote A Memory of Solferino, which eventually led to the creation of the International Committee for Relief to the Wounded, the future International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Dunant was a member and acted as secretary. He was now famous and was received by heads of State, kings and princes of the European courts. But his financial affairs were floundering and he was declared bankrupt in 1867. Completely ruined, he was in debt for almost a million Swiss francs (1860s value).

Dunant resigns from the Committee
As a result of the scandal which this bankruptcy caused in Geneva, he resigned from his post as secretary of the International Committee. On 8 September 1867 the Committee decided to accept his resignation not only as secretary but also as a member. Dunant left for Paris, where he was reduced to sleeping on public benches. At the same time, however, the Empress Eugénie summoned him to the Tuileries Palace in order to consult him on extending the Geneva Convention to naval warfare. Dunant was made an honorary member of the national Red Cross societies of Austria, Holland, Sweden, Prussia and Spain.
During the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, he visited and comforted the wounded brought to Paris and introduced the wearing of a badge so that the dead could be identified.
When peace returned, Dunant travelled to London, where he endeavoured to organize a diplomatic conference on the problem of prisoners of war; the Tsar encouraged him but England

Years of poverty

An international congress for the "complete and final abolition of the traffic in Negroes and the slave trade" opened in London on 1 February 1875, on Dunant's initiative. There followed years of wandering and utter poverty for Dunant: he travelled on foot in Alsace, Germany and Italy, living on charity and the hospitality of a few friends.
Finally, in 1887, he ended up in the Swiss village of Heiden, overlooking Lake Constance, where he fell ill. He found refuge in the local hospice, and it was there that he was discovered in 1895 by a journalist, Georg Baumberger, who wrote an article about him which, within a few days, was reprinted in the press throughout Europe. Messages of sympathy reached Dunant from all over the world; overnight he was once more famous and honoured. In 1901, he received the Nobel Peace Prize.
Henry Dunant died on 30 October 1910. The date of his birth, 8 May, is celebrated as World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day.

Memory of Solferino: A best gift from Henry Dunant to Humanity on this World Red Cross Day

Ever since its inception over a century ago, the Red Cross has been providing protection and assistance to those in distress.

In normal circumstances, in the organized society in which he usually lives, man is protected by laws and finds sustenance close at hand. But there are also situations, such as armed conflicts or natural disasters, when society is thrown out of kilter, laws are violated, man's natural environment is turned into chaos, and his safety, health and very survival are threatened: in times like those the Red Cross strives to help and protect the victims.
The beginnings were modest indeed: a group of five men managed to have a 10-article Convention adopted, the aim of which was to protect war wounded and give them necessary material assistance. One hundred and twenty years later, the Red Cross has grown into a universal movement which comprises besides the International Committee of the Red Cross-186 National Societies with about 250 million members and the Societies' world federation, the League of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. International humanitarian law has also developed considerably: the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols of 1977 contain more than 600 articles providing for the protection of persons in various circumstances. Material assistance, i.e. relief supplies distributed by the Red Cross, represents a yearly outlay running into millions of Swiss francs and is channeled to countless persons the world over, easing their suffering in times of war and peace alike.
The Red Cross is impelled and guided by its humanitarian ideals, which find their concrete expression indeeds. The Movement has become world-wide, showing that it is not confined to a particular time, race, religion or culture. Suffering is universal, and the Red Cross strives to give assistance and protection to allthose who suffer, wherever they may be.The whole Movement originated with this slim volume, written by Henry Dunant between 1859 and 1862 following his horrifying experience of the aftermath of Solferino. It inspired the founders of the Red Cross and has continued to inspire successive generations of the Movement's members. May it still arouse the compassion and magnanimity which help us to understand, as the inhabitants of Solferino understood in1859, that even in a world torn by violence, all men are brothers.

This article has been extracted from the Preface of a book called "Memory of Solferino" which has been translated in English by ICRC & it was written by Henry Dunant, the founder of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

Preparation for SIRC General Assembly is under way

SI Red Cross management team at the Honiara National Headquarters is busy with preparation for the up coming General Assembly on May 8, 2008. The General Assembly will be held at the Commonwealth Youth Program (CYP) Center from 2pm to 6 pm.
According to the Secretary General, Mr. Charles Kelly, the General Assembly meeting is the highest decision making organ in the structure of SIRC. The meeting is often being conducted every two years for the local Red Cross. And it is expected to be attended by the SIRC four branches chairpersons, branch officers, members, volunteers, International Red Cross partners, donor partners, and other Pacific Red Cross societies who have supported the SI Red Cross.
"Already a request has been given to the head of state and Patron of the Solomon Islands Red Cross Society, the Solomon Islands Governor General, Sir Nathaniel R. Waena to be the guest of honour of 2008 General Assembly”, said Charles Kelly the SI Red Cross Secretary General.

He also highlighted Sir Nathaniel Waena will also give away certificates of awards to prominent and long serving dedicated volunteers of SI Red Cross during the meeting.

Part of the agenda of the meeting is there will be presentations of activity Reports for past two years and the adoption of the of the SIRC operation policy manual to the Assembly for acceptance and also the SIRC Audited financial report for 2006 and 2007 will also be presented.

The high light of the meeting will be the election process of a new Governing Board for the Solomon Islands Red Cross to serve for the next two years.

Interestingly, 2008 General Assembly will be the last time for Charles Kelly (SIRC Secretary General) to host the highest meeting for local Red Cross because a day after the General Assembly Mr. Kelly will move on to take up his new appointment with a commercial company. A lose for SI Red Cross. According to Mr. Kelly, but giving others an opportunity to lead SIRC and serve the Red Cross as one of the world’s leading humanitarian movement.