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1. About us/ A self-portrayal of the Red Cross
The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement
With 190 national societies the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is the largest humanitarian organisation in the world. The German Red Cross is part of this global community, having provided comprehensive aid for more than 150 years for people in conflict situations, disasters and health or social emergency situations, solely based on their level of need.
Under the banner of humanity, we campaign for life, health, welfare, protection, peaceful coexistence and the dignity of all human beings. Our idea is borne worldwide by over 100 million volunteers and members. Approximately four million members are active in Germany alone. The GRC, in its capacity as the National Red Cross Society and the umbrella organisation of the free welfare care system, is committed to the seven principles of the Red Cross:
- the voluntary service,
- unity and
Areas of work
In its capacity as the National Society and humanitarian organisation the GRC observes extensive national tasks. These include the following:
- rescue services and first aid,
- health services, including a blood donation service,
- aid for the elderly, including care and a visiting service,
- aid for children, young people and families
- a tracing service and
- the Youth Red Cross.
The GRC is also operational worldwide in the field of humanitarian aid - both in acute emergency situations (disaster relief) and in long-term development cooperation projects. The GRC is currently working in about 55 countries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. The aid projects abroad are focused on:
- disaster relief and disaster reduction,
- the supply of drinking water,
- basic health,
- fighting epidemics, including HIV/Aids and Ebola,
- fighting poverty,
- rehabilitation and reconstruction.
The federal structure of the GRC
The German Red Cross has a federal structure. It consists of the federal organisation (GRC National Headquarters) and its member societies (19 state societies and the society of nurses) and their respective member societies (almost 500 branch societies, 33 nurse societies and more than 4 500 local societies).
2. The seven principles of the Red Cross/ Fundamental Principles
Proclaimed in Vienna in 1965, the seven Fundamental Principles bond together the National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, The International Committee of the Red Cross and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. They guarantee the continuity of the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement and its humanitarian work.
The Red Cross, born of a desire to bring assistance without discrimination to the wounded on the battlefield, endeavours – in its international and national capacity – to prevent and alleviate human suffering wherever it may be found. Its purpose is to protect life and health and to ensure respect for the human being. It promotes mutual understanding, friendship, co-operation and lasting peace amongst all peoples.
It makes no discrimination as to nationality, race, religious beliefs, class or political opinions. It endeavours only to relieve suffering, giving priority to the most urgent cases of distress.
In order to continue to enjoy the confidence of all, the Red Cross may not take sides in hostilities or engage at any time in controversies of a political, racial, religious or ideological nature.INDEPENDENCEThe Red Cross is independent. The National Societies, while auxiliaries in the humanitarian services of their Governments and subject to the laws of their respective countries, must always maintain their autonomy so that they may be able at all times to act in accordance with Red Cross principles.VOLUNTARY SERVICEThe Red Cross is a voluntary relief organization not prompted in any manner by desire for gain.UNITYThere can be only one Red Cross Society in any one country. It must be open to all. It must carry on its humanitarian work throughout its territory.UNIVERSALITYThe Red Cross is a world-wide institution in which all Societies have equal status and share equal responsibilities and duties in helping each other.
3. Home emergency call
Staying at home- Feeling safe and secure at home
If you wish to remain in your own four walls but would appreciate the security of knowing there is immediate assistance available in case of an emergency, our home emergency call service could be the answer for you. This emergency call service will summon help at any time around the clock at the press of a button. Using a mobile transmitter which you can hang around your wrist or neck, you can make contact with the emergency call centre staff at any time in case of an emergency. If needed, helpers can attend to you at home, often avoiding the need for a visit to hospital.
4. The Tafel Idea
Despite still being perfectly edible, tons of food are destroyed in Germany every day. At the same time, there are millions of people in this country who do not have enough to eat. The Tafel are working on bridging this gap between excess on the one hand and lack on the other. They collect qualitatively good food that would otherwise land in the garbage and distribute it for free or a symbolic amount to socially and economically disadvantaged people. There are currently more than 900 Tafel in Germany. All of them are nonprofit organizations. The Tafel support more than 1.5 million people in need of food throughout the country – nearly one third of them are children and youth.
All the involved parties benefit from the Tafel idea: Grocers and producers take on social responsibility, and people in need receive much needed high quality groceries. Furthermore food waste is reduced, which protects the environment and valuable resources.
The Tafel are one of the largest volunteer based organizations in Germany. They are financed by donations and receive no public financing. Only food that is donated to the Tafel can be distributed to those in need; no food is purchased. Rent, transport and admin-istrative costs of the Tafel are covered by private donations and the business community.
5. Clothing Store
German RC volunteers collect clothes donated by the public and distribute them at local centres. The main beneficiaries are the homeless, the unemployed, recipients of social benefits, low-income families, asylum seekers and immigrants.
6. Tracing Service
The GRC Tracing Service supports people who have become separated from their family due to armed conflicts, natural disasters, escape, displacement or migration. It helps to trace family members, to put them back in contact and to reunite families.
Every year, tens of thousands of people turn to the GRC Tracing Service. Even seventy years after it ended, many of the inquiries concern the whereabouts of people with whom contact was lost in the Second World War. Thanks to its extensive records and newly available information from Russian archives, the GRC Tracing Service can in many cases provide information which clarifies the fate of such people.
In the case of tracing requests from refugees and migrants who have lost contact with their family members, the GRC Tracing Service works closely with Red Cross/Red Crescent societies around the world and also with the International Committee of the Red Cross. If family reunification in Germany is desired, the GRC Tracing Service can advise on the legal requirements and provide support with the visa application process.
Ethnic German repatriates and their family members receive competent advice regarding all questions related to the procedure of entering Germany. In many cases, records held by the GRC Tracing Service document decades of individual family history and provide information regarding the procedure for recognition as ethnic German repatriates.
Following disasters or major incidents in Germany, the GRC Tracing Service activates its nationwide network of volunteers in the District Offices for Disaster Tracing Inquiries (KAB) to respond to questions regarding missing family members.
The Tracing Service has been a core task of the Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement for over 150 years.
At the GRC Tracing Service offices in Hamburg and Munich, as well as throughout Germany in around 80 Tracing Service support centres in the GRC district branches, those affected by any tracing service related issue can receive competent advice and support. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding the services we offer.
7. Voluntary Work
The German Red Cross is offering the possibility to work as a volunteer since 1964. Every year about 10.000 people embrace that offer.
Voluntary work offers the chance to imminently enter work life on the basis of personal contact with people. Practical aspects of learning processes are combined with vivid seminars that accompany the work as a volunteer. Helping and learning inspire eachother.
Personal effort is in this context worth more than testable knowledge or marks. The volunteers get responses to their actions. They see and feel what they cause and achieve as well as they recognize what they are able to do. They develop a feel for their own strenghts and weaknesses