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Celebrating The Red Cross Society

Upasana Kamineni Konidela

Wellbeing Curator

4 min read

Keeping humanity alive through voluntary humanitarian work across the globe, Red Cross Society is spread in more than 180 countries. Their fundamental principles are to help during a disaster, emergencies and provide healthcare to people that are from the vulnerable communities. To celebrate the establishment of such a wonderful organization, the 8th of May is marked as World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day.

COVID-19 Crisis

On the international forefront, the IRCF (International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies) is working on guidance, preparedness, contingency, recovery after the pandemic, Staff/volunteer health and wellbeing, mental health and psychosocial support, risk communication, community engagement, rapid training for community response, water, sanitation, hygiene, basic needs and shelters. They are also raising funds with a target of a hundred and fifty million dollars to help people during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The Indian Red Cross Society set up a mobile blood collection units as it’s one of the essential service needed to save lives. Psychosocial Counselling and ensuring the safety of staff and volunteers supporting them during this time of crisis is also available.

More than forty thousand volunteers in the country are working around the clock to help vulnerable people with groceries, cooked food, hygiene kits, medicines, drinking water, face masks, sanitizers, towels and ambulance services wherever needed.

In the recent Vizag Gas Leakage Tragedy, IRCS volunteers helped in the evacuation and announcement of precautions. They also distributed food & water among the affected families. As their core principles suggest, they are helping in everything they could with a kind heart. Visit Vizag Safe Hub for updated information on the unfortunate incident or call 1800 4250 0009. If you are stranded are in need of food, please call 9537622758/ 8790015666.

They will not discriminate people based on nationality, race, religious beliefs, class or political opinions.


The establishment of such an organization has an interesting starting point. During the Franco – Austrian war of 1859, a young businessman named Jean Henry Dunant was horrified at the view of injured soldiers helplessly waiting on the battlefield for medical care. After pitching the idea of relief services at an international conference, Geneva, Red Cross Movement took shape. Honouring the country he was born in, he chose an inverted cross of the Swiss national flag as an emblem for Red Cross.

Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS)

World War I left Indian soldiers without a major relief service to treat their injured body. Though the British Red Cross was established, it was not able to help all those soldiers in need. A bill passed in 1920 to set up an Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS) independent from the British Red Cross helped the organization to stay rooted in India. It operated all over the country through the Delhi headquarter.

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The Seven Principles

Any staff, volunteer or supporter of Red Cross Society represents and abides seven principles that are the core of this organization. They are,

1. Humanity: Budding from respect towards human beings, the Red Cross works to ease the pain inflicted on humans. They are the strong advocates of reducing human suffering without discriminating them on any basis.

2. Impartiality: To treat people solely based on the medical emergency they pose and tend to their needs accordingly. They will not discriminate people based on nationality, race, religious beliefs, class or political opinions.

3. Neutrality: To win the trust of all, the representatives and supporters stay away from controversies that mainly stem from associating themselves with political, racial, religious or ideological vocal views.

4. Independence: They retain their autonomy status in the countries they are established in by abiding the laws of the respective countries. It gives them the authority to offer their services to mankind independently.

5. Voluntary service: It is not prompted by a desire for gain in any manner.

6. Unity: Only one Red Cross or Red Crescent establishment should be there in a country. While carrying out their humanitarian services, they should encourage understanding, fellowship, cooperation and lasting peace amongst everyone.

7. Universality: Red Cross doesn’t discriminate. The 189 countries have equal status and share similar responsibilities. They believe in helping each other.

Programmes in India

Promoting Humanitarian Principles And Values: To help people by promoting the above seven core values and beliefs.

Disaster Relief: Provides relief during natural calamities like drought, earthquake, floods, cyclones and other natural disasters.

Disaster Response: Cater to the needs of people who are hit by disasters and are vulnerable.

Disaster Preparedness: A workshop is conducted based on strategic planning, community preparedness, disaster management structure, etc.

Other Activities
  • Blood Bank
  • Awareness and prevention of HIV / AIDS
  • Hospital Services
  • Home for Disabled Servicemen
  • Vocational Training Centre
  • Tracing Activities
  • Maternity and Child Welfare
  • Family Welfare
  • Nursing
How To Volunteer For The Red Cross Society

Wanting to do something for the community is a noble thought. IRCS provides you with a path to bring some joy to the needy. Here is how you can serve.

  • Consult UR nearby Red Cross branch
  • Enrol
  • Go through the orientation process
  • Get to know the several viable ways that IRCS provides you to serve
  • Get in touch with UR team and do UR bit

And just like that, you can opt to serve in this historical society!