The Cyprus Red Cross Society and the South Sudan Red Cross today became the 188th and 189th members, respectively, of the International Federation or Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). Meeting this week in Sydney, Australia, the IFRC General Assembly voted to admit the two new National Societies into its global volunteer-based network.
Founded in 1950 as a branch of the British Red Cross Society, the Cyprus Red Cross Society today counts 8,000 members who are engaged in a wide range of domestic services including health and social care, first-aid education, blood donation, assistance for refugees and asylum seekers, as well as a range of international assistance operations.
“It has been a long journey from being a branch of the British Red Cross to the establishment of the Cyprus Red Cross Society in 1967, through the turbulent and difficult 1960s and 70s,” said Fotini Papadopoulos, president of the Cyprus Red Cross Society. “It has been the constant and generous support of our volunteers that has made it possible for us to offer a rich and diverse range of humanitarian services to develop an organization that is today worthy of your confidence.”
The South Sudan Red Cross was established after South Sudan became an independent country in July 2011. Now claiming 2,000 volunteers, the National Society is engaged in actions ranging from community-based health to preparedness and response to both natural disaster and conflict, among many other actions.
Since its founding, the South Sudan Red Cross has quickly built up its capacity, launching a major volunteer recruitment drive and advising the new South Sudanese government during the process of becoming a signatory state to the 1949 Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols.
“We have made great strides in developing our National Society over the past two years,” said Arthur Poole, secretary general of the South Sudan Red Cross. “We are working in a complex context and so there are many challenges that still must be faced. But with the support of IFRC, we will be able to better overcome difficulties and grow stronger to better help the most vulnerable in the country.”