Category: Resilience

From providing emotional support after a house fire in the UK to helping farmers in Zimbabwe cope with drought, the Red Cross helps people build resilience in a crisis. They can then use their new coping skills in any future crisis.

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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It’s time to listen to young people, like me, on loneliness

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Rhianydd Crawshaw, a university student who felt lonely and felt better after volunteering at a British Red Cross book shop, smiles at the camera.

© Rhianydd Crawshaw

 

When Rhianydd, a 22-year-old student, experienced loneliness, she turned to volunteering for the British Red Cross to find friends and feel more connected. Now, she wants people in power to take this issue seriously.

I’ve always been an introverted person, and I really like my own space. But I also do really like talking and hanging out with people, I guess you could call me an “ambivert”.

During my first year at university, I couldn’t drink alcohol due to medication I was taking at the time, so I didn’t go out and I tended to avoid situations where heavy alcohol consumption would be present. And, during freshers week – that’s a lot!

I’m not saying that was the only reason I was lonely or struggled to make many friends at university, but it was definitely a contributing factor. This led to me spending most of my time alone locked up in my room not talking to anyone. I was miserable.

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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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From Kent to Zimbabwe: JB Gill on helping farmers deal with climate change

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JB Gill sits on the ground in Zimbabwe surrounded by children

JB Gill with children from Mwenezi, Zimbabwe ©BritishRedCross/Jordi Matas

Former JLS band member turned farmer and TV presenter JB Gill writes about his visit to Zimbabwe with the British Red Cross.

Last month, I was gripping the wooden handles of a traditional farm plough in a dry, dusty field, struggling to control the restless cattle pulling it along.

But this was not an item for Down on the Farm, the CBeebies show which I present to teach children about the skills and work that go into farming.

I was in Zimbabwe to see first-hand how extreme weather, drought and climate change have made life hard for farmers there.

But I also saw how a Red Cross project, with support from players of the People’s Postcode Lottery, is empowering people to change 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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Seven reasons why I feel hope for Zimbabwe

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A mother in Zimbabwe carrying her child on her back stands with a Red Cross flag in the background

© Victor Lacken/IFRC

Bumping along a dirt road for five hours, I caught my first glimpse of Zimbabwe’s rural villages rising up from the dust.

The capital, Harare, seemed modern and wealthy. The contrast with the poor country villages was extreme.

Yet the mood among the rural people was upbeat.

We arrived just after the harvest and people, poor as they still were, kept offering us freshly picked fruit and vegetables.

But the drought that stalked Zimbabwe for two years could come back at any time.

Crops would die and parents might skip meals to feed their children. Disease and malnutrition could even carry some youngsters away.

Despite all of this, I am optimistic about Zimbabwe’s future.

Here’s why:

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Learning lessons from the Grenfell Tower fire

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Mike at Grenfell Tower

Mike at Grenfell Tower ©British Red Cross

Last year was one of the most challenging times in the history of the British Red Cross.

In the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire and terror attacks in London and Manchester, we responded on an unprecedented scale.

This included raising £28m for the people affected, sorting through 200 tonnes of donations and managing a 24-hour support line. Overall, we helped almost 2,300 people affected by these terrible tragedies.

From this, the Red Cross and other organisations that respond to emergencies have learned important lessons about how we support people in times of crisis. One of these is that all organisations involved in a crisis must work closely together.

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How clean water is making better students in Zimbabwe

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children of Chipinge school

Pupils from Mabhiza School in Zimbabwe – ©BritishRedCross

With peak hunger season approaching in Southern Africa, many rural communities are once again feeling the strain.

In rural Zimbabwe alone, it’s forecast that 1.1 million will be food insecure between January and March 2018.

But one community is bucking the trend, having reaped the rewards of a Red Cross community resilience project.

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