Thursday, November 21, 2013

World Hello Day

By Kelly Norton, Volunteer Contributor 

Today - November 21st - marks the 40th annual World Hello Day. This holiday was founded in 1973 as an opportunity for people worldwide to promote peace and encourage the global community to resolve conflicts through communication rather than war or force.

Anyone can participate in World Hello Day by simply greeting 10 people. I encourage you to do that today!

In the spirit of the holiday, today I'm sharing some information about the work the American Red Cross does internationally. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) coordinates the efforts of national Red Cross and Red Crescent societies in 189 countries, including the American Red Cross here in the U.S. The IFRC's work focuses on four core areas:
  1. Promoting humanitarian values
  2. Disaster response
  3. Disaster preparedness
  4. Health and community care
The unique and strong network of the IFRC, - which covers almost every country in the world - allows for cooperation between National Societies. One of the efforts that is made possible through this global network is IFRC's ability to help reunite loved ones who've been separated by armed conflict and international disasters. The American Red Cross, with the help of the IFRC, works tirelessly to help reconnect people who so desperately want to say "hello' to a missing loved one. This work is done through the Family Links Network.

The American Red Cross helps families separated internationally when:
  • War, disaster, migration, or other humanitarian emergencies take place
  • Families have already tried normal channels of communication to the extent possible with no results
  • The family member making the request is able to provide essential information on the missing person
  • The family member making the request is a relative who had been in direct contact with the missing person before the crisis occurred

The work of the Network includes searching for family members, reuniting families, restoring contact, and trying to find out the fate of those who remain missing. The Network makes a priority to the family members of unaccompanied or separated minors and other vulnerable people at the onset of an emergency. The American Red Cross Family Links Network has brought comfort to thousands of families by delivering both simple messages like "I am alive," as well as coordinating incredible reunions like these:

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