Modern Day Veras

I thought for this (isolated) post I would deviate away from presenting a melancholy humanitarian situation and focus on an awesome organization working to remedy the situations I primarily write on.
The International Red Cross (ICRC) brings together a plethora of international citizens, all with the single-minded goal, as stated in their mission statement: an independent, neutral organization ensuring humanitarian protection and assistance for victims of war and other situations of violence.  Each volunteer is a small component of a force relentlessly working to improve conditions for their world neighbors.

In Vera Brittain’s memoir, Testament of Youth, she volunteers herself through her donation of time to the war effort, a cause much bigger than she expects upon becoming a voluntary nurse.  Although she primarily gave her resources as a V.A.D. to a stationary hospital, Camberwell, she was part of an organization that mirrored the ideals of the Red Cross.  She joins the war effort as best she can by volunteering.  Through this experience Ms. Brittain gains insight into the workings of the war machine first hand, not just through Roland’s letter-written accounts, as she had for so long.  Vera formulates feelings, intimately her own, after working long shifts absent of sleep, operating with a shortage of doctors, and dodging, sometimes unsuccessfully, illness in the wards she comes to know quite well.  Even though she was only one person, her Army hospital service not only benefited others, but was a vital component in her metamorphosis from provincial town girl, to real woman.

The International Red Cross operates slightly differently than the domestic American Red Cross, or what setting Vera volunteered in.  Although it is composed of a more highly specialized work force, 1,400 members are currently executing field missions, while 11,000 local personal work behind the scenes locally as support staff.  The ICRC commits itself to a number of humanitarian crises fronts, such as: Afghanistan, Somalia, Gaza, Yemen, and Pakistan.  Maintaining a neutral stance, the ICRC and its members can offer a presence of “good will,” if you will.

International Committee of the Red Cross


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