Red Cross volunteers build community resilience in Xianjiang

Publicado: 5 enero 2015 9:29 CET

By, Hler Gudjonsson and the Red Cross Society of China

“Everyone appreciates the activities that the Red Cross has organized in our village," says Mehamede, a 31-year-old Red Cross Society of China (RCRC) volunteer from Wushi County – one of many communities throughout China participating in an integrated community resilience programme supported by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). The programme involves the construction of garbage collection facilities, mainly to build resilience among rural and semi-urban communities against both internal and external risks. The programme also aims to build the capacity of RCRC branches. “It is great to be able to help others when I have the time, and I really enjoyed working on the construction of these garbage collection facilities. I wish I could do more to support the Red Cross,” Mehamede adds. The program serves 47 communities in Xinjiang, Sichuan, Qinghai and Gansu, with a total of 100,000 beneficiaries.

Yason, who is one of the programme beneficiaries, stresses that being a volunteer is not only a sacrifice – “It has also been very good for me personally because I learned some valuable construction skills when we were building the garbage collection facilities. Contributing to my community has been a very rewarding experience,” he says. Yason believes that by teaching people to use the designated garbage collection points, they will reduce the spread of communicable diseases and improve the village’s environment. Yason, who struggles to support his extended family, lost both his parents when he was only 14 years old.  

Despite their difficult lives and the struggle to earn a living in one of Xinjiang’s poverty-stricken regions, the men are dedicated to their voluntary work. Yason and other vulnerable community members have helped facilitate the programme by identifying improper garbage collection and disposal as one of the biggest health risks in their community. This has strengthened their motivation, and they regard the completed projects with pride.

“It has been a great pleasure to work here as a volunteer,” says Aimaiti, another volunteer taking part in the programme. “I will continue to work for the Red Cross while I can, especially because there are no strings attached to the assistance they provide. The Red Cross only aims at making life better for everyone, and I find that to be very satisfying.”