IFRC

Meet the ‘Franz Family’ of volunteers at the Gabonese Red Cross

Published: 28 January 2014 13:29 CET

Aminata Avomo Demba Diop, Gabonese Red Cross

Franz Reverdy is a young Gabonese student. Since October 2012, he has also been a volunteer with the Gabonese Red Cross (GRC). Below are his impressions about the role and importance of a being a Red Cross volunteer.

For Franz Reverdy, the decision to join the GRC was socially motivated because “after witnessing the living conditions of many needy people and inspired by the desire to help others, it seemed normal for me to join the Movement.” After receiving first aid training, he was later trained as a peer educator, and then as a food security agent. Today, he is the leader of the ‘’Alibandeng-Ambowé-Charbonnages’’ branch of the GRC in the 1st Subdivision of Libreville.

For him, helping the needy is a duty that can only be performed within a credible and serious organization; the reason why he joined the GRC. The knowledge he has acquired through various trainings has enabled him to participate in several activities carried out by the GRC, including providing assistance to flood victims, launching hygiene and sanitation promotion campaigns, and HIV prevention.

As leader of a GRC branch, Franz is a popular figure among volunteers. According to him, the volunteers constitute a large family known as the “Franz Family”; a family that is “always in contact. We spend most of our time talking about activities we carry out in our branch. We also advise each other and share many other things in common.”

On the ground, Franz and his team rescue and help the vulnerable. In addition to being a task force, volunteers are also a source of ideas for GRC leadership. “GRC volunteers occupy a special place in my life and even in my daily life,” says Franz. “They guide and support me when I need them. All GRC volunteers are now my brothers and sisters.”

It is not easy to assist the vulnerable. “Field realities are different from what we are taught during training sessions,” he explains. “At times, they are much more difficult and complex than imagined.”

Franz feels education and communication should be enhanced in order make people more receptive to assistance activities initiated by the GRC. In the same vein, Franz told us that, “The lack of field equipment often paralyzes the work of volunteers in unhygienic and inaccessible areas. But, I became a volunteer because I wanted to make myself useful and do what I enjoy doing. When those I assist thank me, they give meaning to my commitment and actions.”

Volunteering is an opportunity to build relationships, acquire new knowledge and develop more self-confidence. Franz spares no effort in encouraging other young people to become ambassadors of the humanitarian cause.

Through the words of Franz, volunteering gains respectability. And it is altruism and humanism which are at the heart of humanitarian action, a lesson best not forgotten.

 




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