Ten blogs you shouldn’t miss

We’re looking back at the blogs that touched us most in 2014. Some put a smile on our face, while others just knocked us for six. These people aren’t household names and many of the issues weren’t headline news – but they’re all powerful stories. Have a read and see what you think.  

1) WHAT CHILDHOOD IS THIS?

South-Sudan-SB-blog-III

“How far is it to the hospital?”, we ask the boy’s father. He replies: “Four days by footing (walking).”

South Sudan. A nine-year old boy has a broken leg with an open wound. He’s in unbearable pain.

However, all the rain means that people can’t travel by road. More

Ebola outbreak: “I don’t let patients give up”

©IFRC/JariLindholm

©IFRC/JariLindholm

“My nickname is Happy Shower,” smiles Jestina Boyle, a Red Cross volunteer at the Ebola treatment centre in Kenema, eastern Sierra Leone.

Jestina provides psychological and emotional support, particularly to patients at the centre.

Through Jestina’s encouragement and counselling skills, more patients are going through the so-called ‘happy shower’.

More

Home alone: the real story

Old-woman-home-alone-BlogMany older people find a hospital stay traumatic and unsettling. But for those who live alone, the real problems often start once they’re discharged.

Christmas was coming, but Sylvia Darby was feeling anything but festive.

After six long weeks in hospital being treated for double pneumonia, the Ipswich pensioner was finally ready to be discharged – but there was a big problem. More

Testament of Youth: one volunteer’s memoir of a lost generation

Man and woman embrace in the main publicity shot for the film Testament of YouthA film documenting the First World War experiences of Red Cross VAD Vera Brittain is released in cinemas this week. Rebecca McIlhone delves into her memoir, Testament of Youth, to read about love, loss and humanity in desperate times.

Life as a First World War volunteer (or VAD) was tough. Volunteers fulfilled a range of roles from ambulance drivers to cooks but most of the 90,000 were women who signed up as novice nurses.

Early starts, long hours and poor living conditions were just the tip of the iceberg for these raw recruits. Their on-the-job training Vera Brittain describes, in Testament of Youth, as “a baptism of blood and pus”. More

Why first aid belongs on the school curriculum

School first aid BLOGThis morning’s call by politicians for schools to teach CPR skills is welcome – but only goes part of the way to addressing a thorny issue.

First, the good news.

Earlier today, the Labour Party announced its intention to teach all school pupils how to provide CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation) for someone experiencing cardiac arrest.

So far, so good. Cardiac arrest can kill in minutes, so the more young people trained to help the better.

But suppose one of those CPR-trained pupils came across someone with a nasty cut or burn injury, or having an asthma attack. What would they be expected to do then? More

‘Lucky’ Syrian refugee who wants to help others

Sleman at Buckingham Palace

Sleman was an ambitious young man, full of plans for his future. Then the conflict in Syria forced him to flee his country – and rebuild his life here.   

Not too long ago, Sleman was finishing his studies as an engineer in food sciences at the University of Aleppo.

He was thinking about his career and potential next steps – like any young person in the first flush of adulthood.

But then war broke out in Syria and everything changed.

No life in Syria

Now a refugee in the UK, Sleman calls himself one of the ‘lucky’ ones.

“I’m lucky that I can contact my father and mother once or twice a month,” he says.

“Where they live, there is no internet, no electricity, no phones. But I’m lucky because they are near the Turkish border, so I can sometimes call them there.

“Every time I ring them, my father says he just wants to die. There is no life in Syria, anymore.” More

Snapshots from Haiti : ‘Our home’

Haiti earthquake fiveFive years after a massive earthquake struck Haiti, British Red Cross work in the Caribbean nation is coming to an end.

Our recovery programme in Delmas 19, a small community in Port-au-Prince, is due for completion this year.

To mark the fifth anniversary of the earthquake, we gave out two cameras to youngsters aged between 8 and 20.

The brief was simple: capture photos that illustrate life in Delmas 19 and Red Cross work.

With a bit of guidance and schooling in photography along the way, these are some of their images.

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How the Red Cross helps the NHS

Woman greets a volunteer as he brings her shoppingThe British Red Cross hit the headlines this week as at least 14 hospitals declared a ‘major incident’. Many called in extra staff and asked for help from organisations like us. Here we explain how fantastic volunteers and years of experience are helping these struggling A&E departments.

Although these stories are in the news right now, supporting the NHS is not new to us. In fact the Red Cross has been working in health and social care for more than 30 years. And that experience is paying off. More