I am the neighbour you’ve never met

Ramellecropped 3

Ramelle is more than a refugee. She’s a graduate. She’s a carer. She’s your friend or neighbour, or someone you pass on the street. And here is the story she’s never told you. 

Not once did I think I’d ever lack food or a place to sleep.

Back home, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, I grew up in very good conditions. I went to the best of schools and received the best education.

Despite what others tend to think about Africa, I did not live in the trees. I was not starving or lacking clothes.

I didn’t even know what asylum was until I got to the UK and heard that word for the first time. I just kept telling the Home Office my story, explaining how desperate I was to find my family – urging them to help me.

Homeless and traumatised

People think that we risk our lives to come here for a better life. Just the other week, I had to explain to a colleague that asylum seekers do not run for economic reasons – they are running for safety. Whenever a volatile situation starts in the world, then people will flee.

We are more desperate to save our lives than find money. More

Transgender Nepalis: Cast out by families, unwelcome at survivor camps

A woman leans outside a tent

© Paula Bronstein/IFRC

After the Nepal earthquake, a cluster of tents was quickly put up in a patch of land among the winding streets of Kathmandu’s Sunder Mar neighbourhood.

The people staying there have little in the way of comfort, but the site has one precious feature: there are no buildings looming overhead.

In this city, each aftershock threatens to send rubble flying to the ground. Could you sleep knowing bricks and beams might rain down at any moment? More

What the truck..? Big Dave’s 16-ton challenge

Truck-challenge-BLOGPeople have done all kinds of wacky things to raise money for the British Red Cross – but even for us, dragging a truck across a car park might just be a first.

Okay: so the skydiving 86-year-old granny was impressive. And that ‘human hamster’ chap who continuously ran around a track for 24 hours was something else.

But in terms of sheer implausibility, Dave Murray’s Herculean challenge – pulling a 16-ton truck for a back-breaking 60 yards – takes some beating. More

When first aid is an extreme sport

Ten-Tors-helicopter-volunteer-BLOGLong hours? Check. Remote locations? Check. Sleeping outdoors during a howling gale? No problem. Meet the hardcore first aiders who just can’t say no.

Mention the words ‘Ten Tors’ to a Devon teenager and they’ll most likely shudder with dread.

No wonder. The annual Ten Tors challenge – a gruelling, two-day event – has become a rite of passage for thousands of young people living across the south west of England. And it’s brutal.

Ten-Tors-girls-jumping-Saturday-BLOGEach May, 2,400 hardy souls spend a weekend trekking up to 55 miles across the desolate slopes of Dartmoor and over several ‘tors’ [small hills]. The ground’s uneven. The terrain’s hard to navigate. Weather conditions can be treacherous.

Even worse, the teenagers carry heavy backpacks. They sleep out in tents, whatever the weather. Oh, and they’re trekking against the clock. More

Volunteering in the worst crisis most people have never heard of

©ICRC/AnnibaleGreco

©ICRC/AnnibaleGreco

In this personal and poignant account, a Red Cross volunteer speaks about the attacks and intimidation she and her colleagues face in the Central African Republic (CAR).

Edwige Marina has helped countless families torn apart by conflict in CAR, but the Red Cross volunteer never envisaged that her own family would become victims of the violence.

More

Tents, tarpaulins and tigers: mountain communities in Nepal struggle to cope

What remains of a home in Khalckok - ©IFRC/MerlijnStoffels

What remains of a home in Khalckok – ©IFRC/MerlijnStoffels

To the casual observer, the road between Kathmandu and Kavere gives a misleading impression of the destruction caused by April’s earthquake.

Life goes on as normal and homes and shops are untouched. It’s not until you turn off the road at the town of Sangha and travel two miles up a bumpy dirt track into the surrounding hills that the true picture of this disaster unfolds.

More

How the ‘Facebook for refugees’ will help reunite families

@ICRC/Pawel Krzysiek

@ICRC/Pawel Krzysiek

When conflict erupts in your community, it’s all too easy to become separated from your family in the rush to safety.

For those who manage to escape, their relief is often tempered by concern for missing loved ones.

Helping to reunite families separated by conflict or disaster is a core Red Cross service, and a new website has given our work a huge boost in South Sudan.

More