At end of visit to Sofia, IFRC Secretary General praises work of Bulgarian Red Cross

Published: 8 April 2016

Sofia, 8 April 2016: The Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Elhadj As Sy, has praised the Bulgarian Red Cross (BRC), calling it a model of effective local humanitarian action.

“The first test for any Red Cross and Red Crescent Society is its relevance in its own context,” said Mr Sy at the end of his visit to Bulgaria. “This relevance comes from its ability to respond to the most pressing needs of communities, whatever those needs are. The Bulgarian Red Cross clearly passes this test.

“Through its disaster preparedness and response programmes, its mountain rescue teams, its support to the elderly and isolated as well as other vulnerable groups and, of course, through its assistance to refugees and vulnerable migrants, it makes no difference between people of the country and people in the country.”

During his visit, Mr Sy, together with BRC President, Mr Hristo Grigorov, met His Excellency Mr Boyko Borisov, Her Excellency Margarita Popova, His Excellency Ivaylo Kaflin, and His Excellency Rumen Alexandrov, respectively the Prime Minister, Vice President, Deputy Prime Minister and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs. They all expressed their appreciation of BRC, and reiterated their support in expanding the collaboration with the Red Cross, at regional and international levels.

“There is a strong partnership between the Bulgarian Red Cross and the Government, and it is my hope that this partnership will grow so that the Red Cross can continue to adapt to changing and growing needs,” said Mr Sy. “At the same time, we also discussed the need for political leadership to find solutions to the many factors that are contributing to these worsening needs, and that are forcing so many people to leave their homes in search of safety and dignity.”

The Secretary General toured the BRC National Training and Logistics Centre in Lozen on the outskirts of Sofia. He also met with the leadership of the Bulgarian Red Cross Youth, and took part in an emergency response simulation. Mr Sy expressed strong appreciation for the work of the Red Cross Youth.

“The Bulgarian Red Cross Youth celebrates its 95th anniversary this year. It is one of the oldest and best youth networks in the world. More than half of all volunteers in Bulgaria are young people. The future of the Red Cross is in good hands; lead us in the future”, he said, addressing the Youth.

For further information, please contact:

In Sofia/Geneva:

Matthew Cochrane, Senior Communications Advisor, IFRC

Tel: +41 79 308 98 04 Email:  

In Geneva:

Reeni Amin Chua, IFRC senior communications officer

Tel: +41 79 708 6273 Email:

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is the world’s largest volunteer-based humanitarian network, reaching 150 mil­lion people each year through its 190 member National Societies. Together, the IFRC acts before, during and after disasters and health emergencies to meet the needs and improve the lives of vulnerable people. It does so with impartiality as to nationality, race, gender, religious beliefs, class and political opinions. For more information, please visit You can also connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.