Volunteers from the Trinidad and Tobago Red Cross Society take the prevention message out into the streets.
The Trinidad and Tobago Red Cross Society received an award at the recent launch of the new National Strategic Plan on HIV and AIDS. The office of the Prime Minister, which is spearheading the national response on the island, recognized the society for its sustained and passionate commitment to those affected by HIV and AIDS.
Margarita Elliot, technical lead on this programme, said the success of the programme was the result of hard work at every level of the organization from volunteers to leadership. “It is quite humbling, but the positive impact of this programme could not be possible without the commitment and courageous efforts of the present and past volunteers and staff who are working and have worked on many of our initiatives,” she said.
Commitment and dedication are especially important in Trinidad and Tobago, considering that the Caribbean has the second highest rate of HIV and AIDS. For more than ten years the Trinidad and Tobago Red Cross Society has been recognized and respected for their work in prevention, peer education, conducting awareness raising and information sessions, as well as conducting community wide events around health and HIV.
The active involvement of communities is a hallmark of Red Cross action, but the organization also develops the capacity of volunteers to provide relevant and accurate information and to have a clear understanding of the environment in which these actions are carried out. “Sometimes the realities of our world can make our work difficult, but the mandate of the Red Cross Movement provides us with the basis for our actions,” Elliot said. “We are addressing the vulnerabilities that exist by building the innate ability of human beings to survive and to continually improve their standard of living.” Through these efforts, people affected by HIV and AIDS are now leaders and volunteers in a position to provide assistance and inspiration to others.
The work of the society and its achievements would not have been possible without the technical, financial and motivational support of partners, friends and donors such as REPSOL, the Spanish Red Cross, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, sister National Societies, and the many public authorities who invest in the capacity of the Red Cross in Trinidad and Tobago.