“I know I have a lot to give”: a young asylum seeker’s story

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A young woman from the Surviving to Thriving project looks away from the camera

A young asylum seeker at a Surviving to Thriving group © Dan Burwood/British Red Cross

Dalia* was just 16 when conflict forced her to flee her home in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  She is now 18 and is getting help from a Red Cross project in Birmingham to share her experiences and thrive in her new life.

“I didn’t know where I was going when I left Congo,” Dalia said.

“I was living my life normally, like every child, and my life changed suddenly.

“My uncle said I had to be safe. I tried to ask about my family but he said ‘you just have to go. The rest is not your problem, just go’.”

Dalia’s uncle sent her away with one of his friends, who brought her to Angola before continuing on to Europe.

“Arriving in the UK was so scary”

When Dalia got to England, she was given to someone she didn’t know. “He drove me to the police station and he told me I would be safe there,” Dalia remembered.

“Then he left me and he was gone.”

“It was difficult because I don’t know the country, I don’t know the city, I don’t know which language to speak.

“At the police station I just said asil [asylum] in French because I couldn’t even say that in English.

“I was really afraid because I didn’t know if the police would return me the same day.  I thought maybe today I’m going back to my country.

“I stayed for many hours waiting at the police station and I didn’t know if I was going to prison. I didn’t know what they would do with me.”

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First aid in school: saving lives will be on the curriculum

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Eight-year-old Stephen stands in his school uniform holding a sign that says 'I can save a life so can you'

Stephen learned first aid in schools and saved a woman’s life © Mike Poloway/UNPChristchurch School, Skipton. 4 December 2017. Stephen Orbeldaze.

Great news! The government is planning to add first aid to the school curriculum in England.

Years of campaigning by the British Red Cross and other organisations are finally paying off. Children and young people will now get the skills they need to save a life.

Why is first aid in school so important?

British Red Cross research found that more than nine in ten adults (95%)* would not be able, confident or willing to help in three life-threatening first aid emergencies.

Teaching first aid in schools will help change this. We want everyone to know how to save a life.

But does first aid education in school really work?

Yes. Red Cross teaching resources have helped children and young people learn first aid in school for years.

So we know that children who learn first aid go on to use it. These real-life stories of young first aiders show how this works.

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Typhoon Mangkhut: the Red Cross is there to help

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A Red Cross volunteer walks pass a house destroyed by Typhoon Mangkhut

Typhoon Mangkhut caused terrible damage in the Philippines, © Philippine Red Cross

Typhoon Mangkhut, which slammed into the Philippines on Saturday, was the world’s strongest storm this year.

Its winds reached a staggering 165 miles per hour. That’s 75 miles per hour stronger than Hurricane Florence, which hit the US on the same day.

At 168 miles across, this massive storm covered an area roughly equal to the distance between London and Stoke-on-Trent.

The human impact has been equally huge.

Reports are still coming in but we already know that at least 64 people sadly lost their lives.

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After her partner’s death, Sarah helps others cope with bereavement

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Someone holds a photo of Sarah and her partner Graham with leaflets from Cruse Bereavement Care behind it on a table

Sarah and Graham

When Sarah Sweeney’s partner Graham died suddenly while they were on holiday, she was plunged into terrible grief. Now, she plans to use her experience to help others who feel alone after the death of a loved one.

“I lost my partner, Graham, five months ago while we were on holiday,” Sarah said.

“It was completely unexpected. ‘Devastation’ doesn’t even come close, there just aren’t the words to really explain or understand this.

“He was 52 years old and I am 53. We were so active, young at heart, sporty and adventurous. We lived life to the max. We thought we had the rest of lives ahead of us.”

Sarah suddenly had to learn to live without Graham.

From being an outgoing person who planned to spend the rest of her life with the man she loved, Sarah began to dread the weekends. This was the time they used to spend together.

“The death of my partner has changed me,” Sarah said. “Many of the things that I used to do without even thinking about it – cycling, going to the gym, going out for dinner or to the local coffee shop – I avoided.

“It is so easy to become completely isolated.”

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What would you miss most? Rebuilding after Hurricane Irma

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If a huge hurricane blew away your home, what would you miss the most?

For Lorie, it was his treasured viola. “There’s no way I can replace my instrument, my viola,” he said. “It was just precious.”

The keen musician’s home and viola were damaged by Hurricane Irma, one of the most powerful hurricanes ever seen in the Atlantic.

The huge storm damaged or destroyed almost every house in the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean. Rebuilding is going slowly.

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Amanda saved her grandad after learning first aid

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Amanda stands with her arm on the shoulder of her grandada, who she helped with first aid when he was bleeding heavily

Amanda and her grandad © Mike Poloway/British Red Cross

It was a peaceful Sunday at home. But when there was a sudden emergency, Amanda knew how to help her grandad when he needed it most.

“I was in my house with my family, my boyfriend and my grandad. He’d come round for a visit and a cup of tea on a Sunday afternoon,” Amanda said.

“After a while, my grandad went up the stairs and a few moments later I heard him shouting my name.

“There hadn’t been a bang or anything, so I didn’t know at this stage he had fallen. But when I got to the bottom of the stairs he was propped up on the wall at the top.

“I could tell something was wrong. As I went up towards him he pulled up his trouser leg, and all this blood spurted all over the wall.

“He said he’d just lost his footing on the top step and fallen. He’d cut himself on the edge of the stair.”

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‘Knowing first aid helped me save a motorcyclist’s life’

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Helen Cowen used her first aid skills to save the life of a motorcyclist who crashed outside her home.

Not everyone could handle the sight of a bloodied motorcyclist with a badly severed leg. Helen Cowan could, and her first aid knowledge saved a man’s life.

“I had decided to sit in the garden one evening when I heard a loud crash,” Helen said.

“At first I thought something had fallen from our recently renovated house. But as I walked to the front of the house, I could see a small crowd gathered on the pavement outside.”

The scene outside her house was upsetting.

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Loss, courage and strength: Rahima from Myanmar tells her story

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Rahima, who fled her home in Myanmar, stands in a camp in Bangladesh

After fleeing her home in Myanmar and terrible suffering, Rahima still finds the strength to be positive about her new role in the community. © A J Ghani/British Red Cross

I met Rahima in Bangladesh when I visited with the British Red Cross. Like hundreds of thousands of others, she had fled her home in Myanmar. Deeply moved by her story, I promised to share it with the world.

“I am only 30 but I know I look older.” Rahima said.

“It is because I have been through so much.

“Though I am so sad, it is very important to tell our terrible story to the whole world.”

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