“On this important day, I would like to recognise the vital role played by the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, its staff and its dedicated volunteers, in saving lives and assisting vulnerable communities around the world.
As recent events have shown, the Red Cross and Red Crescent often carries out its essential humanitarian role - which includes seeking access to those most in need - in the most challenging of circumstances. My thoughts remain with the family and friends of Khalil Dale who was kidnapped and murdered recently in Pakistan. And I offer a further tribute to all those brave staff and volunteers who have lost their lives, or have been deprived of their liberty, in the pursuit of helping others.
I would also like to applaud the work of the British Red Cross in its support of the wider Movement, and for its invaluable contribution to the lives of many, in communities across the UK.”
Projects such as the Gambia Red Cross Society’s “Humanity Band”, which increases public awareness of disease control and prevention have increased public awareness on health issues such as malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS in communities. The band play live music with educational health messages. Their performances have also been broadcast on national television. The band’s messages have reached more than half a million people so far.
In addition to the band’s 15 musicians, the project has trained other volunteers who perform with musical groups in Gambia to promote music as a positive way of living.
The legacy of skills training provided to new volunteer musicians who perform in their own communities will ensure that these powerful musical messages are disseminated further. Additionally, donations received at Humanity Band performances supported programmes at two local branches.