Monday Movement update #12

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Here’s your weekly update on what different members of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement* are doing.

Men unload food bags from a truck in PakistanPakistan conflict: “Every time we entered a village, hundreds of people asked for help.” The ICRC, the only international humanitarian organization active in Swat and Lower Dir in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province, has started to help those affected by conflict.

Protecting albinos in Burundi and Tanzania: Dozens of people with albinism have been murdered and their body parts sold in Burundi and Tanzania in the past few months. The Red Cross is providing humanitarian aid and support to their families and is defending their right to live in dignity.

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Show your support during Refugee Week

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It’s Refugee Week, and I’d recommend you take a look at the very moving videos on our special Look beyond the label website, where three refugees describe their traumatic past lives – and their hopes for the future.

I often feel I had quite a traumatic childhood. For example, Richard Jones from class 4B can deny it till he’s blue in his fat face, but he really did hold my head under water for 20 seconds at Wigan baths. I’ve never been quite the same since. And my Dad’s refusal to get me an even half-decent BMX when I was 13 still has me waking up in a sweat some nights.

Having said that, there’s nothing like speaking to refugees to put my own momentous ‘issues’ into perspective.

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Mission accomplished in Bangladesh

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I was somewhere outside of Dhaka with just a driver, a copy of the Lonely Planet and one word of Bengali when I fully realised the enormity of the task that lay head of me. I put my trepidation to one side as my car rolled up the gangplank and on to the first of many ferry crossings I was to encounter in the coming month. I’d only landed in the country a few hours earlier and now I was on my way to the port town of Chittagong in the south east of Bangladesh. This was the first time I’d arrived in the immediate aftermath of a big disaster and I had a job to do.

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Volunteering during an economic downturn

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Have you felt the bite of the credit crunch? Are you looking for a way to gain new skills or keep busy while in between jobs?A man talks on a walkie talkie

You’re not alone! Here at the Red Cross, we’ve seen a huge jump in the number of people interested in becoming volunteers. At the end of 2007, we were getting around 300 volunteering enquiries a month; we’re now getting around 1,400 a month!

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Vegans need first aid too

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For the past year I’ve challenged myself to have a more vegan diet. It started off as a short-term challenge just to liven up my usual vegetarian meals, to force myself to seek out new recipes, and to wean myself from cheese, chocolate and baked goods. I enjoyed it so much I set myself a new challenge – never to use dairy products at home.

Imagine my shock, then, when I read this blog post from the American Red Cross about vegan bandages. Vegan bandages? What in the world could be in regular bandages that would make them unacceptable to vegans? Cheese? Eggs? More