Who really are refugees and asylum seekers?

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Recently on our Refugee Week, we wanted to talk about how people understand who they really are, without labelling them as refugees.

We started a campaign: Look beyond the label

female doctor immunising a childThis illustrates who we really are within ourselves. We are more than people think. We are real normal people with real feelings, understanding and recognised professions in our past.

I’m an orientation volunteer in the Red Cross; I have met lots of refugees and asylum seekers who have just arrived in the UK. Many of them had professions as doctors, engineers, teachers, and much more from their respective countries. And they still can continue being that if we only recognised them and looked beyond the label.

Image: © Christopher Black (IFRC)

The journey so far…

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First Aid Convention in Europe (FACE) 2009 is now in full swing and we’re having a great time! I’m writing this in a German Red Cross vehicle using a German keyboard, apologies for any spelling mistakes but it’s quite tricky to get used to.

Today has been the first aid convention; various speakers have been giving talks on the history of first aid and the Movement. There are also loads of stalls and I seem to have acquired a large number of freebies. Nothing beats free Red Cross pens or hats. Later today is the opening ceremony where all the countries parade around the market square in Oldenburg. I admit I’m nervous about this as I have to carry the UK flag which is quite daunting!

The weather is incredibly hot in Oldenburg at the moment and we are suffering slightly. Hopefully it will be slightly cooler for the competition day tomorrow. The competition itself is taking place in the city centre which should be a great opportunity to see Oldenburg, though obviously we’ll probably be more worried about the first aid!

I’ll try and post the results as soon as I know them tomorrow, wish us luck! 🙂

To quiz or not to quiz

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…that is the question. So, does anyone fancy having a go at the British Red Cross’ special anniversary quiz, which we launched for Red Cross volunteers and staff last month to celebrate the Movement reaching its 150th birthday?

I’m afraid the winner’s prize of a luxurious weekend for two in Geneva has already been snaffled. However, if you fancy testing your knowledge of our prestigious organisation just for the sheer knowledge-building joy of it, why not have a go at the quiz now and, whatever you do, DON’T LOOK AT THE ANSWERS BELOW.

For those of you have already pitted their wits against our devilish hard questions, the answers you’ve been waiting for are listed below. At last, here’s your chance to say: ‘Yeah, got that one’, ‘Aw no’, ‘Oh, I knew that…’, ‘What sort of stupid answer is that?’ etc.

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Help is just a step away

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I love working at the Red Cross but sometimes being on the 6th floor of our London office feels a bit remote from the work we do in the field. While we tap away on our computers here striving to spread the British Red Cross message our 23,000 volunteers are hard at work on the ground. They are administering and teaching first aid, supporting refugees, lending medical equipment to those in need, relieving suffering all over the world following disasters amongst many other things.

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Germany, here we come!

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This Thursday, I will be flying to Germany with five other British Red Cross volunteers. Our mission (should we choose to accept it): win the European first aid competition.

Two first aiders help casualty

First Aid Convention in Europe (FACE) is an annual event that brings together Red Cross volunteers from throughout Europe. The highlight of the event is a competition to find the best team of first aiders in Europe. Last year the convention was held here in Liverpool and I’m sure many people reading this may have been involved.

FACE 2009 is being held in the city of Oldenburg. Twenty-five countries have entered the competition and around 1,000 Red Cross volunteers are expected to attend. I’m lucky enough to be on one of the British Red Cross teams competing for the coveted 1st place trophy. This year, the British Red Cross is sending two teams. One team is from Edinburgh, the other from Surrey (me!). More

Postcard from Solferino:5 (well, kind of…)

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Can I have my blog back now please? Finally, after a week a week in Italy celebrating the Movement’s 150th anniversary, where I had to hand over this space to a bunch of mewling and demanding younglings (or British Red Cross youth delegates, to give them their proper name), Cox is now back in the blog driving seat. And back in the UK, in fact – after an eventful planes, trains and automobiles-type journey home yesterday.

It was a good week, all said, and a particularly fruitful event for the British Red Cross. As an impartial observer, I can attest – hand on heart, no word of a lie, guv – that the British Red Cross’ stand was one of the busiest and most welcoming in the whole place. On reflection, this is because:

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Monday Movement update #13

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

A little boy lies on a hospital bedPakistan photos: See a photo gallery of people who’ve been displaced by conflict in Pakistan, like four-year-old Abas (pictured), and find out how the Red Cross is helping them.

Gaza report and video: 1.5 million people trapped in despair six months after Israel launched its military operation. An ICRC report highlights their struggle, and a new video focuses on the civilians trying to rebuild their own lives.

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