Category: International

We work with partners around the world to help people facing hunger, who are caught up in conflict, and who had to flee their homes.

Clear out, drop off: why sustainable shopping should be at the top of your 2020 list

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A woman in Bangladesh, who has been helped to start her own tailoring business by the British Red Cross, sits at her sewing maching with clothes she has sown behind her.

© Farzana Hossen/British Red Cross

Fact: almost half of women in the UK admit to owning too many clothes.

We’re calling on everyone to clear out for a good cause, and donate to and buy from our charity shops instead – especially with the exciting launch of our It starts with her appeal this month.

Read on for reasons to shake up your shopping habits and opt for a more sustainable route with us.

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How the Red Cross brought Mada’s refugee family back together

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Mada stands hugging her daughter Hala with the UK Parliament in the background. They were helped to join Mada's husband in the UK through the British Red Cross family reunion programme.

Mada and Hala in London

We always hear stories and see emotional refugee family reunion videos but what are the events that lead to this moment of joy? Today I want to share the full story with you.

In 2012 my beautiful country, Syria, was engulfed in war, wages were plummeting and living costs were sky high. My husband lost his job and we could no longer provide for our family or guarantee their safety.

We were terrified our kids would go to school and not make it back home. Living in such uncertainty and danger is devastating for a parent.

The conflict was suffocating us. We had to leave.

The pain of three years of separation

We made it to Egypt, which was also embroiled in conflict, and political and economic instability. My husband decided to seek safety in the UK and left us there temporarily as he feared the whole family would not make the journey.

My husband made the treacherous and, at times, life-threatening journey to the UK. When we said goodbye to him, I could have never imagined that we would not see his face again for three years.

For those three unbearable years I worked two jobs to provide the basics for my two young children who ached for their dad. We felt so alone.

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Photographer focuses on a different type of food story: chronic hunger in the Sahel

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To mark World Food Day, the British Red Cross partnered with the food photographer Yuki Sugiura. She usually shoots with top chefs on the London food scene such as Yotam Ottolenghi and Thomasina Miers (co-founder of Wahaca).

But this year, Yuki turned her lens on a a crisis that is rarely talked about – chronic hunger in the Sahel, a region of Africa that borders the Sahara. Across the Sahel, 7 million people don’t know where their next meal is coming from and 1.5 million children are acutely malnourished.

This is already one of the already of the driest regions on earth, and temperatures could rise by several degrees by the end of the century. Climate change, environmental degradation, extreme poverty, conflict and growing populations mean that millions are overwhelmed.

But the British Red Cross, with the support of players from the People’s Postcode Lottery, is helping to break the cycle of hunger in the Sahel.

For World Food Day Yuki brought a new perspective to the issue – comparing the two worlds. Her of portraits  food, cookware and portraits from Niger, a country in the Sahel, tell a very different food story from the one she is used to telling.

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MapSwipe 2.0: How a mobile app can help save lives

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Three people smile as they work at laptop computers at a mapathon sponsored by Missing Maps.

A Missing Maps mapathon, © Mile91/Ben Langdon

In 2015, MapSwipe began as a solution to a complex question: how do we better identify where communities and people are, allowing mapping to be more efficient and effective?

Using a simple mobile app, volunteers can swipe through a series of satellite images, tapping in areas where they find features.

MapSwipe can be used anywhere, at any time, which provides an easy access point for individuals to contribute to the Missing Maps project without being restricted to their laptop.

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Listening to the voices of the people we help

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A mobile cinema in Uganda provides a unique and engaging way for communities to get more information about Ebola and how to prevent and protect themselves from the disease.

A mobile cinema in Uganda provides information about Ebola.

Question: How do you know what someone really needs in a crisis?

Answer: You ask them.

Community engagement and accountability is an approach to delivering aid that emphasises the importance of participation and communication with communities.

Now the Red Cross have launched a new tool to help humanitarians become better at listening to the people they help.

Funded by the UK’s Department for International Development, our new Community Engagement hub brings together information and expertise from across the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement as well as other humanitarian organisations. It is available in English, Spanish, French and Arabic.

We thought we’d celebrate the hub’s launch with a quick potted tour of our community engagement work around the world.

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I want my pictures to help refugees from Myanmar

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Dil Seher, who fled violence in Myanmar and now lives in a refugee camp in Bangladesh, holds a photograph of her husband and child.

Dil Seher, a widow, holds a picture of her missing husband, © Farzana Hossen/British Red Cross

Tragedy, hope and ordinary days: photographer Farzana Hossen reveals what life is like in the world’s largest refugee camp. It’s now home to 740,000 people who fled Myanmar for Bangladesh two years ago.

I have visited the camp many times. At the beginning of the emergency, what I saw horrified me. People were just lying on the street and dying in front of my eyes.

There were dead bodies with children standing to one side watching, crying. Many had lost their parents, whether through death or when they fled.

I was left feeling helpless, a situation where you are exposed to so much suffering that you feel there are just too many people to help. Of course, I wanted to, and did in the way I could.

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10 things you might not know about the Red Cross

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A child displaced by a tsunami in Indonesia receives a Red Cross blanket.

Photo credit: Hariandi Hafid / British Red Cross

1. A gruesome battle sparked the idea for the Red Cross

On his journey to meet Napoleon III in 1859, the businessman Henry Dunant witnessed a bloody battle in present-day Italy. What he saw horrified him – men were left to die in agony without medical aid.

This sparked his vision for impartial medical volunteers, who helped the wounded no matter what side of the war they were on.

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Protecting humanity: 70 years of the Geneva Conventions

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A photograph showing the 1864 Geneva Convention document with wax seals showing where it was signed.

The 1864 Geneva Convention, © MICR photo Alain Germond

Even war has rules.

The Geneva Conventions form the basis of modern international humanitarian law (IHL). And on 12 August 2019, the four Geneva Conventions currently in force turn 70 years old.

Since the original Geneva Convention was adopted in 1864, IHL has helped to preserve humanity in times of war.

The Geneva Conventions protect those who provide medical care to wounded soldiers and sailors. They enable prisoners of war to receive messages from their families. And they facilitate humanitarian relief – such as life-saving food and water – to civilians living under military occupation.

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