Red Cross committee marks 150th anniversary


To commemorate the events, the Red Cross Society of Seychelles sent us the following features and pictures which shed more light on its role in Seychelles and what the mother organisation does abroad, with the remarkable contribution of Seychelles, for example through Chrystold Chetty in his leadership of the finance commission of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent.

The pictures also show the training efforts the Red Cross is involved in, close ties with the local and international communities and partners, as well as examples of the support it gets from well wishers and gives to the needy especially during disasters.


Red Cross president thanks supporters

Red Cross president Barbara Carolus AndreRed Cross Society of Seychelles president Barbara Carolus Andre has thanked all those who support the organisation, through the following message which she issued to mark World Red Cross Day which fell on May 8.

“Reaching people in need is the aim of the ICRC and it is not an easy task. It is therefore essential to be in close proximity to communities. The ICRC has its own staff but it is through the Red Cross and Red Crescent national societies that this proximity is achieved. In times of conflict this helps the society to understand the needs and respond appropriately and efficiently and for staying close to the people served by the Red Cross.

“National societies have the duty to help everyone understand the fundamental principles guiding the movement – humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity, universality – and to respect international humanitarian law and Red Cross Red Crescent emblems in times of conflict. The movement does not take sides and members are only interested in helping impartially those suffering consequences and requiring humanitarian assistance.

“In line with the current expectations and direction of the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement, the national society strategy for the current five-year period places emphasis on empowering people, so that activities undertaken takes into account the local context and the needs of the communities and the people. Building resilience, preparing for disasters, preparing and adapting to climate change, learning first aid, preparing to cope with crises, all help to avoid disasters turning into catastrophes. This is the ideal way for maximum impact and the challenge that the Red Cross has set itself is to partner with beneficiaries so that the impacts have long-lasting benefits for communities. At this point I would like to say a special thank you to all those who have trusted and partnered with the Red Cross in humanitarian actions for helping us reach the people in need.

“We thank the government for its encouragement, support and recognition for the national society as auxiliary to the government, as well as for the recognition of volunteers and staff who give their services to the community through the Red Cross.

“I wish to thank all Red Cross staff who organised the Red Cross day event, the volunteers for their continued contributions and all government and non-government partners, the international committee of the Red Cross, the International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent Societies, sister societies and the media who help us promote the Red Cross and fund the organisation allowing us to carry out humanitarian activities on the ground.”


Seychellois set to head global Red Cross body for 10 years

Mr ChettySeychellois Chrystold Chetty was elected head of the finance commission of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in 2005 and is set to run the body for 10 years.
In the following interview he shares aspects of his role and how the Red Cross Society of Seychelles (RCSS) and this country are likely to continue benefitting from his association with the humanitarian movement.

How long is the term of office of the finance commission and how many terms have you served so far?

The finance commission of the international federation has a mandate of four years which is renewable. I was elected as its chairman in 2005 but with the revision of the Statutes of the Federation my first mandate was extended for two years. In 2011, I was re-elected to the position and my mandate will end in 2015. I will have served as chairman for 10 years.

From 2010 until now what are the major developments, if any, on the finance commission?

First of all the finances of the federation are in better shape than they were 10 years ago. The present finance commission has brought many changes in the federation. An audit and risk committee, as a sub-committee of the commission has been established to give closer oversight on all risk matters which the federation may encounter. A whistle blowing mechanism has been put in place and an accountability framework has been adopted.
For a few years the commission has strongly advocated and pushed for efforts to ensure the sustainability of the federation and Red Cross and Red Crescent national societies. The federation has developed, has adopted and is implementing a resource mobilisation strategy. Last but not least, the commission has spearheaded the re-thinking for better management of our human resources.

Is there anything interesting that has happened to share with the people of Seychelles?

The Red Cross and Red Crescent has recognised the necessity of promoting what we call Humanitarian Diplomacy: Persuading decision-makers and opinion leaders to act, at all times, in the interests of vulnerable people, and with full respect for fundamental humanitarian principles.

This should be no different in Seychelles where the local Red Cross society is expected to engage fully in its role as auxiliary to the government. Many governments in the world have enacted the international disaster response law, and it is of utmost importance that Seychelles seriously considers doing the same so as to be better prepared in case there is a major disaster.

What experience have you gained from being the chairman of the finance commission?

The chairmanship has provided me a great insight in international finance, in the growing importance of transparency, accountability, sustainability, and also the need for frugal innovation; that is doing more with less. It has allowed me to have a greater insight for the governance of the federation and the ability to pursue my ambition to take future leadership of the organisation.

How do you see the progression of the RCSS, generally and financially?

The RCSS has great potential and will no doubt continue to grow. Its potential rests with the youth, and as a believer in the capacity of young people, I am happy to see that most of the volunteers of the RCSS are youth and they are doing their best to promote a culture of change in all aspects.

What is your message to the government, donors and partners?

My message is simple: Understand and join the Red Cross in promoting humanitarian diplomacy – act always in the interest of the most vulnerable. Let us accept that in the framework of our daily interactions we share the concepts, which I have mentioned, that is, transparency, accountability, sustainability and frugal innovation.




150 years of humanitarian action

The International Day of the Red Cross and Red Crescent May coincides with the anniversary of the birth of Henry Dunant, the Swiss citizen who in 1963 founded the Red Cross.

After the launch he was extremely moved by the horrors of the Battle of Solferino which drew the world's attention to the necessity of establishing relief societies and promote an international agreement for the relief of the wounded and for those who care for them; one of the founders of the International Committee for the Relief to the Wounded which later became the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

As customary, each year all the national societies around the world organise an activity to commemorate this important day in the history of the Red Cross. The theme for this year’s celebration is 150 years of humanitarian action.

It was 150 years ago that the ICRC was formed since then many humanitarian acts have been done all over the globe. Millions of people have been assisted and helped to relieve them from their suffering and crisis. Initially it started during the fight of Solferino whereby the wounded had to be given help no matter which side they had been fighting for. It is for these simple reasons that the Red Cross and the Red Crescent movements carry out their humanitarian acts under seven fundamental principles:

Humanity: The desire to bring assistance without discrimination to the wounded on the battle field, endeavours to prevent and alleviate human suffering. Its purpose is to protect life and health to ensure respect for human dignity. It promotes mutual understanding, friendship, cooperation and lasting peace among all people.

Impartiality: It makes no discrimination as to nationality, race, religious belief, class, political opinions. It endeavours to relieve the suffering of individuals, being guided solely by their needs, and to give priority to the most urgent cases of distress.

Neutrality: In order to continue to enjoy the confidence of all, the movement may not take sides in hostilities or engage at any time in controversies of a political, racial, religious or ideological nature.

Independence: The movement is independent. While being auxiliaries to the government, must always maintain their autonomy so that they may act according to the principles of the movement.

Voluntary: It is a voluntary relief movement not prompted in any manner by desire for gain.

Unity: There can be only one Red Cross or one Red Crescent in any one country. It must be open to all. It must carry on its humanitarian work throughout its territory.

Universality: The International Red Cross and Red Crescent movement – in which all societies have equal status and share equal responsibilities and duties in helping each other – is worldwide.

 To mark these cornerstones we are highlighting the richness of our past and engaging in global conversation about today’s humanitarian challenges and how to make a real difference for people affected by ongoing and emerging crisis.

History of the Red Cross Society of Seychelles
The Red Cross Society of Seychelles is a voluntary aid society which empowers its members to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable and advocate on their behalf, nationally and internationally. It was founded in 1989 and established as a corporate body by the Red Cross Society of Seychelles Act 1991. The society was then recognised by the ICRC in 1992 and admitted into the international federation in 1993.

The Red Cross Society of Seychelles has gone through different stages of development to reach where it is today. Since its existence it has never had a place of its own until 2013 saw the opening of its building based at Providence’s zone 18. It also has three main branches on Mahe, Praslin and La Digue.

As the RCSS is a non-profit making organisation, it depends mainly on volunteerism. So far there are at least 400 registered members, and see a variety of volunteers from different scope of life with diverse background and abilities.

Like other international Red Cross and Red Crescent movements, the RCSS is challenged by diverse phenomena to which a national society should be able to respond. The RCSS covers diverse activities such as first aid, disaster risk reduction, health and hygiene related issues like HIV/ Aids, psychosocial support, blood donation and water rescue among many other interesting activities.

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