Displaying 1 - 9 of 9
30/06/2023 | Article

Transforming lives behind bars in Mexico

Incarceration can be a bleak and isolating experience. But a new project by the Mexican Red Cross is providing detainees a unique opportunity to make a positive impact and find new meaning even within the prison walls. “There aren’t many groups you can join here to help others” says Julian Gonzalez Moreno, one of the project’s participants who has spent 18 years in prison. “So, this is one of the few where you can really help someone.” Sometimes that even means saving someone’s life. Participants in the programme recently recounted an incident where they successfully resuscitated a person who was suffering a heart attack – just eight days after receiving an updated CPR course. The training is part of the Community Health and First Aid project that is being implemented various penitentiary centres across Mexico City by the Mexican Red Cross. By providing training and workshops on first aid, civil protection, and psychosocial support, the project equips prisoners with life-saving skills and empowers them to become first responders inside detention centres. The programme challenges preconceived notions and helps reshape public perceptions towards prisoners. “The programme has also been beneficial in addressing the social stigma they might face,” says Jesus Enrique, a Mexican Red Cross volunteer and participant in the SPAC project who lives in Mexico City. “For us, it is important to share relevant information, and for the rest of the community inside the prison to see that they are trusted when it comes to providing first aid or helping others.” Equipping inmates with life-saving skills Raquel Jaimes, with 14 years of incarceration, expresses her gratitude for the training she has received. “Today, I know how to place a bandage on a wound, and I can do CPR. The Mexican Red Cross has taught me how to provide first aid”, she says. “I can now teach this to my children and to my grandchildren.” The project not only imparts practical skills but also fosters a sense of confidence and self-reliance, project leaders say. Detainees learn to handle emergency situations such as heart attacks, injuries and accidents, ensuring that they are well-prepared to respond swiftly and effectively. For women’s prisons, the SPAC programme provides specific first-aid courses for new-born babies, given that mothers in prisons are allowed to live with their children when they are up to 3 years and 8 months old. Saving lives and fostering change The SPAC training extends beyond individual skill-building. It cultivates a collective sense of responsibility and compassion among inmates, inspiring a shift in mindset, according to inmate Julian Gonzalez Moreno. “When people realize that you care about them, without any self-interest, they start doing the same with others, and you create a domino effect,” he says. -- This story was produced and originally published by the Red Cross Red Crescent Magazine. To learn about the Magazine, and to read more stories like this,click here.

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01/08/2022 | Emergency

Mexico & Central American migration crisis

Since the beginning of 2022, there has been a massive increase in the number of refugees, migrants, and returnees in transit by land northwards through Central America. People are mostly moving through irregular channels, and along the way face bureaucratic barriers, suffer accidents and injuries, face extortion and sexual violence or disappear and are separated from their families. Tragically, others are killed or die from diseases or the harsh environmental conditions. This Emergency Appeal supports the Red Cross Societies of Panama, Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico to scale up humanitarian assistance and protection to 210,000 people along migratory routes.

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04/01/2021 | Article

Volunteers: the cornerstone of the response of the Red Cross in the Americas

In the Americas, Red Cross volunteers have proven to be the cornerstone for responding to communities in the region: carrying out inter-hospital transfers to COVID-19 patients in Mexico, working to rescue people affected by hurricanes Eta and Iota in Honduras, Guatemala, and Nicaragua, and more. The International Federation has witnessed unprecedented humanity and goodness throughout 2020: Hundreds of thousands of volunteers have signed up to volunteer in their national societies, proving that even in these darkest times, there are incredible stories of hope. Volunteering in times of COVID-19 In Mexico, more than 6,641 volunteers have worked in the response to the emergency created by COVID-19 in inter-hospital transfers, patient care, health education campaigns, and more in the 32 states of the country. In the relief area, many of the paramedic volunteers have decided to isolate themselves from their families, to continue helping in the emergency response, and avoid infecting their loved ones. "I've been living in a rental house for three months with other colleagues," says Diego Arcos, head of the motorized section of the Mexican Red Cross. "I think the most complicated thing for us in caring for COVID patients is that you don't see what you're fighting against, and you don't see the end of it." “I understand the desperation of being at home, the desperation of being locked up, but what we want is to go home, and we are only going to achieve it if people take care of themselves and follow safety protocols: wearing masks, washing hands, using antibacterial gel. If we all follow the instructions that are being put forth by the health sector, not just in Mexico, but also worldwide, we are sure that sooner we will be able to go outside or go home for us working in the response.” Volunteers like Diego, during this pandemic, have made a selfless, supportive, and humanitarian effort to combat COVID-19: their work has been fundamental in education and prevention tasks, as well as in treating patients suspicious or positive. Volunteering in Emergencies: Responses to Hurricanes Eta and Iota Climate-related disasters have not stopped in times of COVID-19: 28 of the 35 countries in the Americas are classified as medium, high, or very high risk in terms of exposure to climate-related disasters according to the latest World Report from Disasters, and hurricanes Eta and Iota that hit Central America and Colombia in November, are an example of the risk in the region. Volunteers from the Americas have been an example of solidarity action in the response to the emergency caused by hurricanes Eta and Iota. During the month of November, the tropical phenomena ETA and IOTA made landfall in Nicaragua, and then caused floods, landslides, damage to infrastructure, homes and crops in Central America and Colombia, with great damage especially in Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala. In Nicaragua, more than 180 people have been volunteers in Operation Eta and Iota, supporting more than 33,000 people in the North Caribbean areas of the country: Prinzapolka, Bilwi, Waspan, Rivas. As part of the response to the hurricanes, the volunteers carried out tasks for the preparation prior to the impacts of Eta and Iota and humanitarian actions after the passage of both storms, such as: psychosocial support, water and sanitation, and hygiene promotion. In this way, the volunteers of the Nicaraguan Red Cross continue to demonstrate the true commitment of humanity in the movement. “To help others, it is important to stay united, have a positive mind, be persistent and empathetic. We do everything with love and always committed to health for everyone,” explains one of the psychosocial support volunteers from the Nicaraguan Red Cross. Volunteers in the Americas, and around the world, have witnessed unprecedented humanity and goodness: they are the engine of humanity, perseverance, and solidarity of the Red Cross movement in every corner of the continent. -- For more information, visit the Volunteering Development Platform (VODPLA), where an interactiveVolunteering mapof activities and projects displays the humanitarian initiatives, activities and projects carried out by volunteers in the region.

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23/10/2020 | Article

National Society Investment Alliance (NSIA): Funding announcement 2020

The National Society Investment Alliance (NSIA) has today announced the National Societies to receive investment from the fund in 2020, with the Steering Committee approving Accelerator funding to: The Colombian Red Cross Society The Georgia Red Cross Society The Mexican Red Cross Society The Somali Red Crescent Society The Co-chairs of the NSIA Steering Committee, Xavier Castellanos, Under-Secretary General for National Society Development and Operations Coordination at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), and Katrin Wiegmann, Deputy Director-General of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), said: “We are pleased to announce this second group of National Societies to receive support from the NSIA. We have selected National Societies responding to ongoing crises in some of the world’s major humanitarian emergencies, such as Somalia and South Sudan, as well as Georgia Red Cross Society pursuing an entrepreneurial response to the unprecedented global pandemic that we continue to face. These investments build on those made in 2019, and we are already seeing how such funding can have a catalytic effect, such as in supporting the Lebanese Red Cross’ efforts to mobilize support in response to the double impacts of Covid-19 and the recent Beirut port explosion As we begin to see the value of the NSIA on the ground, there continues to also be demand from National Societies thinking strategically about their development during unprecedented uncertainty. We call on our partners in the Movement and beyond to join us in expanding this important mechanism for supporting strong and principled local humanitarian action.” The IFRC and the ICRC jointly manage the NSIA to provide substantial, multi-year development support to National Societies, especially those in contexts with heightened humanitarian needs. The NSIA helps strengthen the organisational and operational development and capacity of National Societies so they can increase their impact. To respond to the varied development needs of National Societies, the NSIA can award up to one million Swiss francs of Accelerator funding to any one National Society over a five-year period. In addition, Bridge grants of up to 50,000 Swiss francs over 12 months can help National Societies prepare the ground for future investment from the NSIA or elsewhere. To date, NSIA has been supported by generous contributions from the governments of Switzerland, The United States, and Canada. Second Round of NSIA Funding This second call for proposals received 49 applications from National Societies across all regions, with a range of contextual challenges and organizational development needs. The application process was adapted to take account of exposure to Covid-19 related risks and again involved an independent and objective process of consultation and review against the criteria, working with colleagues from the IFRC and the ICRC at the national and regional level, as well as National Societies themselves. The selected applicants will undergo further due diligence steps, which in the case of Accelerator investments will include the Federation’s Working With Project Partners approach, as well as the meeting of certain conditions linked to their specific applications, such as securing sufficient co-funding. Selected National Societies Accelerator Funding The Colombian Red Cross Society will receive funding to build on the resource mobilsation work conducted under their ongoing Bridge Award, including individual giving and digital fundraising. The Georgia Red Cross Society will receive funds to support the commercial production of sanitizer products at the national level. This funding is conditional on securing loan-based co-finance. The Mexican Red Cross Society will receive funds to invest in systems for Planning, Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting, as well as learning, as part of their wider NSD strategy. The Somali Red Crescent Society will receive funds for the redevelopment and commercialisation of their national HQ, as part of a wider NSD strategy, and contingent on co-funding. Bridge Funding The Lesotho Red Cross will receive funds for the development of a Resource Mobilsation strategy and investment plan exploring national level income generating activities The South Sudan Red Cross will receive funds for the initial investment in IT capacities at HQ and branch level, to support remote management, and focused on longer term branch development efforts. The Syrian Arab Red Crescent will receive funds to roll out a new approach to branch development.

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03/08/2020 | Article

A volunteer on wheels in the fight against the pandemic

By Olivia Acosta. Gina Mejia is 27 years old, an architect by profession, and has been a volunteer with the Mexican Red Cross for three years in Mexico City, the country's capital, a city with a population of nearly nine million. According to Gina, she has always felt the impulse to support those who need it most: "I have always had the spark to help and on many occasions, when I was working as an architect on construction sites, I thought: if I have an accident, I really wouldn't know how to act to help the injured person". And that is how she decided to join the Red Cross and started first aid training. She has even given courses in her company and always makes her colleagues and friends aware of the importance of first aid. Later, she joined "Volunteers on Wheels", a solidarity programme that she carries out together with other 20 volunteer colleagues, travelling all over the city by motorbike. "I have my own bike and the programme consists of going around different areas of the city, together with other volunteers, to support the people who need it most. For example, we distribute bread and coffee in the hospitals and slums, or we distribute toys to children from poor families. With the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, everything changed, including the "Volunteers on Wheels" programme in which Gina participates: "At the Red Cross, we quickly identified the need to provide information and protective measures to the population, especially to people with few resources who spend a lot of time on the street, such as street food vendors". And so she and her colleagues began to ride their motorcycles around the city, this time to take the temperature in the markets, distribute masks (or "mouth covers" as they say in Mexico) and hydroalcoholic gels, as well as offer truthful information and advice on how to protect themselves against the virus. Initially, many people didn't wear masks because they didn't really know how important it was to protect themselves against the pandemic. According to Gina: "We realized that a lot of awareness raising was needed to explain to people the importance of protecting themselves against COVID-19 and to offer protective measures. The Mexican Red Cross is a reference organization in the country and we noticed that if we were the ones who advised them to wear a mask or respect distances, they would listen to us," she says proudly. The volunteers of the Mexican Red Cross protect themselves with all the protective measures they need to carry out their work safely. And they know where to go to help those who need it most. In addition to crowded areas such as hospitals and markets, one of the points on her route is the "Glorieta de Insurgentes". There are palapas that offer access to wifi and it is an area where many people with few resources gather, which means a high risk of contagion. Many of these people live on the streets. According to Gina: "It's very nice to see how homeless people come to us to ask for masks and ask us about how to protect themselves against the pandemic. Many of them ask us for more than one, because at the beginning there was a shortage and also they cannot buy them, and they are very grateful when we give them the masks and they can put them on". "For me, being able to help at this time, even if it seems like a small thing, is very important, and now I know that the work of Red Cross volunteers is crucial in a situation like this," concludes Gina. Now more than ever, she says, it is clear to her that she will stay with the Red Cross forever.

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27/07/2020 | Article

Mexico: violence and attacks against health workers are on the rise in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic

By Fernando Gandarillas. In Mexico, Red Cross paramedics are used to dealing with cases of violence. However, since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, health workers are increasingly faced with personal attacks. "Sometimes we've had to treat people with gunshot wounds. We have to learn to manage risks in this context because these are very tense situations in which people become very aggressive. I have never had a gun pointed at me, but I have been attacked," said Alejandro, a 21-year-old paramedic from the Huixquilucan branch of the Mexican Red Cross. "The effects of the pandemic have made the job more difficult. People are desperate. The lockdown and the fact that people are becoming infected is creating a lot of unrest", he explains. A few months ago, Alejandro faced an incident while attending to a patient who was over 60 years of age and had COVID-19. "When we arrived at his home, the person was in a critical state, with severe breathing complications. His symptoms also showed other health problems that had been dragging on for weeks, making his condition worse". Because of the man's condition, Alejandro suggested that his family move him to the nearest hospital. They resisted and began to get upset, wanting him to be taken to a hospital they knew, but which was located much farther away. Finally, they agreed to have him moved to the nearest hospital. Along the way, the patient died, despite all the efforts made by the paramedics to keep him stable. Upon arrival at the hospital, family members became aware of the event and exploded into rage. They attacked Alejandro and another doctor at the hospital, claiming that he died because of them. "Attacks on medical personnel are becoming very common. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the situation is getting worse," explains Alejandro. Social isolation is another reality that paramedics have to deal with. Many must move away from their families. "We're handling it. However, it's hard not being able to see your loved ones and being away from your friends. The demands of work and isolation damaged my relationship," says Alejandro. The Mexican Red Cross has invested a great deal of effort to provide emotional support to people like Alejandro, who must work directly on the streets and in areas where the virus is ravaging. In addition, the National Society has worked hard to train its staff in safe access and handling of biosecurity protocols. "We are not going to stop, we are going to continue working to help, but we are going to do it in a safer way," he says. The night begins to fall, and Alejandro goes to the hostel where he is staying as a preventive measure to avoid being in physical contact with his relatives. He has finished his 24-hour shift and now has two days off, which he will use to study. He is pursuing a career in aeronautics and he spends most of his free time studying. "I like to keep busy, I don't like easy stuff," he says. He inherited his vocation as a paramedic from his parents, who have also been involved in the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement for many years. Faced with the difficult situation, he remains positive. Despite the complications, Alejandro is determined to continue doing his best to cope with the pandemic. "I do my job with love and passion. It is normal to be afraid in the current circumstances, but it is very fulfilling to do what I do. It's great to be able to help people.

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11/04/2019 | Article

Empress Shôken Fund announces grants for 2019

About the Fund The Empress Shôken Fundis named after Her Majesty The Empress of Japan, who proposed – at the 9th International Conference of the Red Cross – the creation of an international fund to promote relief work in peacetime. It is administered by the Joint Commission of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the International Committee of the Red Cross, which maintains close contact with the Japanese Permanent Mission in Geneva, the Japanese Red Cross Society and the Meiji Jingu Research Institute in Japan. The Fund has a total value of over 15 million Swiss francsand supports projects run by National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to benefit their communities in various ways. The first grant was awarded in 1921, to help five European National Societies fight the spread of tuberculosis. The Fund has assisted more than 150 National Societies thus far. The imperial family, the Japanese government, the Japanese RedCrossand the Japanese people revere the memory of Her Majesty Empress Shôken, and their enduring regard for the Fund isevident inthe regularity of their contributions to it. The grants are usually announced every year on11April, the anniversary of her death. This yearthe announcement isbeingpublished earlierdue to the weekend. The selection process The Fund received 47 applications in 2019, covering a diverse range of humanitarian projects run by National Societies in every region of the world. This year the Joint Commission agreed to allocate a total of 395,782 CHF to 14 projects in Bolivia, Cyprus, Guinea-Bissau, Iraq, Lebanon, Mexico, Mozambique, Sao Tome and Principe, Singapore, Slovenia, Suriname, Thailand, Ukraine and Vanuatu. The projects to be supported in 2019 cover a number of themes, including displaced people, disaster preparedness in vulnerable communities, and social cohesion and inclusion. Moreover, nearly all of the selected projects seek to strengthen the volunteer base of National Societies, with a view to building on the unique role played by the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement in communities everywhere. Going forward, the Joint Commission will continue to focus on innovative projects that are geared towards learning so that the broader Movement canbenefit from project findings. The 2019 grants The Bolivian Red Cross is currently working to address the issue of gender-based violence among young people. It will use the grant to set up a permanent programme for schools and youth organizations in order to conduct educational sessions, raise awareness, and provide support and assistance to victims of violence. Cyprus has become an important destination for trans-Mediterranean migration. Using the grant, the Cyprus Red Cross Society will train refugees and asylum seekers in standard and psychological first aid to enable members of the migrant community to help each other and relieve some of the pressure on the health-care sector. The Red Cross Society of Guinea-Bissau will use the grant to strengthen the resilience of coastal communities threatened by extreme weather. The funds will go towards drawing up an emergency action plan, building up stocks of relief items and training at-risk communities so that they can respond rapidly in times of need. In Iraq, displaced people and those living in remote areas have limited access to water, sanitary facilities and health care, which increases the risk that diseases such as cholera will spread. The Iraqi Red Crescent Society will use the grant to set up a health-education programme to raise children’s awareness of communicable diseases and the importance of personal hygiene. The conflict in Syria has significantly increased the number of refugees in Lebanon, which has put a strain on blood-related services in the country. The Lebanese Red Cross is a major provider of these services and will use the grant to enhance its ability to deliver them free of charge to all those in need. Hundreds of schools in Mexico were damaged by a major earthquake in 2017. The grant will help the Mexican Red Cross to set up a programme to prepare school communities for disasters and other emergencies, promote healthy lifestyles and develop skills to facilitate peaceful co-existence. Young people account for more than 70% of the volunteers of the Mozambique Red Cross. The National Society will therefore use the grant to strengthen its youth-oriented initiatives by running training camps and information campaigns, and setting up Red Cross activities in schools. In 2004, the Sao Tome and Principe Red Cross opened a social home for the elderly, which plays an important role in reducing this community’s vulnerability. The grant will allow the National Society to renovate the building and improve the services on offer. The Singapore Red Cross Society runs a large-scale programme to deploy volunteers overseas during disasters. It will use the grant to scale up the training programme for these volunteers, adding more specialized and in-depth training and team-building sessions to ensure the volunteers can work as effectively as possible. The Slovenian Red Cross plans to take an innovative approach to social cohesion by tackling hate speech and its consequences, with a special emphasis on hate speech against migrants. The grant will go towards a training programme within schools, designed to encourage students to become young cultural ambassadors and further spread the message. The Suriname Red Cross Society will use the grant to address disaster preparedness in vulnerable schools in Paramaribo. The National Society will help schools and communities to draw up disaster plans, deliver first-aid training to teachers, and set up and train school emergency brigades made up of teachers and students. The Thai Red Cross Society has a proven track record in conducting water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) activities in emergencies, through its widespread network of registered nurses. It will use the grant to scale up this campaign, as well as to create a WASH manual, together with general and menstrual hygiene kits. The armed conflict in Ukraine has led to a substantial rise in the number of volunteers working for the Ukrainian Red Cross Society. The grant will go towards a new, more sophisticated system for registering, managing and training the National Society’s growing volunteer base. People with disabilities are at greater risk during disasters. The Vanuatu Red Cross Society will therefore use the grant to improve and promote disability and gender inclusion in National Society projects and programmes concerning volunteers, recruitment, capacity building, participation and access.

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19/11/2018 | Press release

IFRC condemns killing of Mexican Red Cross volunteer

Geneva, 19 November 2018 – The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) strongly condemns the attack on a Mexican Red Cross relief distribution yesterday (18 November) in Guerrero State that claimed the life of one volunteer and injured six others. According to the Mexican Red Cross, the distribution was taking pace in the town of San Juan Tenería, in the municipality of Taxco when it came under armed attack. IFRC President Francesco Rocca said: “Our thoughts are with the families and friends of the victims of this incident. This attack on humanitarian personnel is completely unacceptable and we join the Mexican Red Cross in calling for an immediate investigation. “Above all, we stand in solidarity with our Mexican Red Cross brothers and sisters. We are one global family, and today we all feel their loss deeply. “National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies are neutral and impartial organizations. Their only focus is on serving the most vulnerable. Humanitarian volunteers and staff are not a target.”

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