Sierra Leone: Daniel Fallah Kamara-James

It was 1978 and I was six years old when I first saw members of the Sierra Leone Red Cross.

It was 1978 and I was six years old when I first saw members of the Sierra Leone Red Cross. They had come to my primary school to take part in a community cleaning exercise. Many of my classmates were wearing white shirts for the event. At that young age, I was able to recognize that a lot of the Red Cross work focused on community health and I liked that. I also liked the white attire and became interested in joining the Red Cross. In fact, I enrolled later that same year and became officially enrolled in 1992. Since, then 21 years later, and I am still a proud volunteer!

During that time, I took part in emergency first aid training, and was appointed youth leader. I currently volunteer in the community-based health programme and disaster management programmes in the Western Area branch. I help train other volunteers in community-based health and first aid, diarrhoea management and prevention, and water and sanitation.

During the eleven year civil war, I was in Freetown as part of the first aid action team, deployed in the eastern part of the city. I was never displaced by the war because I was with the Red Cross most of the time, moving from one war zone to the other, rescuing, recovery and evacuating casualties to referral hospitals. I did have one frightening experience though when vigilante groups kidnapped me while I was rushing a casualty that I had given first aid to, to hospital. They accused me and the Red Cross of collaborating with the rebels, a misconception of the Red Cross role in delivering assistance to all.

That is one of the reasons why I keep volunteering. I wish to help spread knowledge about the Red Cross to those who want to know about the Red Cross but who do not have that opportunity at the moment. But, I also wish to reach the most vulnerable who do not have access to information on health related issues, and eventually use my skills to become a medical professional so I can contribute to reducing the high rate of deaths due to preventable diseases.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is the world's largest humanitarian organization, with 190 member National Societies . As part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, our work is guided by seven fundamental principles; humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality. About this site & copyright