How the Red Cross and a typewriter turned things around for Jean

By

Jean holding up some of the stories she has typed on her typewriter.

You know that old saying, ‘the straw that broke the camel’s back’? Well for 91-year-old Jean, that straw was a typewriter.

When Jean returned to her home in the Yorkshire Dales after a spell in hospital, she felt low and isolated.

So when her beloved typewriter broke too, an already difficult situation became a personal crisis.

“Everything seemed to go wrong for me,” Jean said.

Fortunately, our dedicated volunteers are skilled in all sorts of things – even fixing typewriters it seems.

More

The power of a gran in Afghanistan

By

Three women wearing Afghan Red Crescent pinneys and holding drawings of a mother and child sit on the floor in a row

If you were a granny in Afghanistan, you would be one of the most influential and respected members of your community.

“Afghan grandmothers are valued authority figures,” said Justin Dell, Afghanistan country manager at the British Red Cross.

“Many younger women in rural communities have to do what others tell them to do, particularly their fathers or husbands.

“But everyone will listen to grandmothers and follow their advice.

“This includes men, many of whom are the women’s own husbands, sons or sons-in-law.”

More

Diabetes in a war zone: how the Red Cross helps in Yemen

By
Close-up of Ayman, a boy with diabetes in Yemen

Ayman

What happens when you have diabetes and your country falls apart?

When your home is bombed, over half of hospitals and medical centres close and there is no clean water?

Living like this would be hard for anyone, but if your diabetes means you need insulin every day, it is catastrophic.

This is the situation in Yemen, where estimates say that 900,000 people have diabetes and most depend on insulin.

Yet a conflict that has been raging for more than 18 months has restricted entry of all medicine into Yemen.

More

Students: Are you sure that’s freshers’ flu and not meningitis?

By

A group of students are sat in a communal area of their accommodation. One of them is showing signs of meningitis.

The new academic term is a time for meeting fresh faces, getting to grips with new timetables… and freshers’ flu. But are you sure that’s what your flu-like symptoms are?

Students sometimes miss the signs of a much more serious illness known as meningitis because its symptoms are similar to that of freshers’ flu – the collective coughs, fevers and viruses caught during your first few weeks at university.

Meningitis is rare – but can be life threatening. Students are at more risk of it because they often live in close proximity to one another.

So if you’re heading to university this month, make sure you know the signs.

More

Humanity at a crossroads: three journeys to Europe

By

montage of migrants holding maps

An exhausted 14-year-old boy waits for help in a dusty refugee reception area. He has open sores on his arms where he has been deliberately burnt with cigarettes.

An 11-year-old girl has left school, too depressed and withdrawn to continue after being raped three times in a matter of months.

A woman of 23 cradles her eight-month-old baby in a reception centre in Italy. She is waiting to hear whether the culmination of a seven-year journey during which she was raped, stabbed and imprisoned five times, will be a return to a country where she has no family, no money and no prospects.

These are just a few of the people travelling today across the central Mediterranean. Many will have left their homes months or even years ago.

They are moving for diverse reasons: some are fleeing conflict and persecution, others move because of poverty, loss of livelihood or lack of opportunity.

All of them have a story to tell.

More

Bridget Jones’ Baby: Top first aid tips for new parents

By

Bridget Jones GIF – Find & Share on GIPHY The long awaited third-instalment of Bridget Jones is here – and this time Bridget’s having a baby.

While her most pressing concern is working out who’s the daddy (#definitelydarcy or #totallyjack?), Bridget will soon have plenty more to think about – keeping her baby safe from harm.

But don’t fear Bridget. The British Red Cross has it covered.

Here are our five top first aid tips for new parents – and Bridget.

More

The health and social care crisis: Joyce’s story

By

Joyce Hall with a Red Cross volunteer who helped her regain her independence after she broke her arm Joyce waited an agonising two days before going to hospital with a badly broken arm. She couldn’t just go to the hospital – she had her younger brother to think about.

As the sole carer for Lenny, who has epilepsy and learning difficulties, she was worried about leaving him alone. He was unable to do everyday tasks like getting dressed and feeding himself.

But after two days of pain she had little choice.

The British Red Cross met Joyce for the first time when she was discharged from the hospital and referred to our support at home service.

We were able to help her not just through her recovery, but find more support for her and Lenny from other services in the long-term too.

But with six consecutive years of budget cuts and an increasing demand on health and social care services, the system in England has become unsustainable. The care people like Joyce and Lenny need, is at risk.

More