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You can do more than you think!

Monday January 14, 2008

In a world faced with seemingly endless problems, it's easy to believe that you can't make a difference.

But you can do more than you think.

One simple donation to the Red Cross Calling Appeal in March, and you can provide relief in times of crisis, give care to the frail, sick and elderly and show commitment when others turn away.

The Red Cross Calling Appeal is the organisation's major appeal for funds to support its work in Australia and overseas, with a target of $9 million in 2008.

Australian Red Cross CEO Robert Tickner said Red Cross was unique because of its global reach, and ability to reach so many vulnerable people in times of crisis.

Most recently, Red Cross has been active supporting communities in the following emergencies: the flooding in central Queensland, the Kangaroo Island fires, the WA bushfires, Cyclone Helen in the NT, and flooding on NSW's north coast. Red Cross help includes personal support, outreach, setting up relief centres and registration of evacuees.

'Our volunteers are out there every day helping people in all sorts of ways -- providing breakfast for school children who might otherwise go without, making daily phone calls to elderly and isolated people to check on their health and well-being, and helping teenagers in drug or alcohol-related emergencies,' he said.

'In 2007, Red Cross volunteers worked around the clock to man relief centres for people evacuated after the severe storms and flooding in New South Wales and Victoria.

'And our volunteers provided emergency first aid, registration, personal support and meals for workers following the fatal train crash near Kerang in northern Victoria.'

Red Cross also is working with communities in Australia and overseas to help prepare for disasters.

'We can't predict when or where the next disaster will strike, but we can help communities be better prepared through community education and training so they can identify and develop their own emergency plans and projects,' said Mr Tickner.

Give to the Australian Red Cross Calling Appeal and help people in need -- from isolated, elderly people living alone, to communities lacking safe clean drinking water.

Donate online today at, phone 1800 811 700 or at Coles Supermarkets.

How does Australian Red Cross help?

  • Red Cross has been active in emergencies, most recently the flooding in central Queensland, the Kangaroo Island fires, the WA bushfires, Cyclone Helen in the NT, and flooding on NSW's north coast. Help includes personal support, outreach, setting up relief centres and registration of evacuees.
  • In 2007, Red Cross was involved in emergencies such as the Tasmanian and Victorian fires, the Hunter, Central New South Wales and Gippsland Floods, and the Kerang train disaster in Victoria. Following the train crash in June, Red Cross was on hand to provide emergency first aid, and fed emergency services workers through the night and early morning. Volunteers also registered passengers so their families could check how they were and provided emotional support for those affected. The Red Cross effort was described as 'the glue that is keeping the whole thing together'.
  • Papua New Guinea has the highest rate of HIV in the Pacific; almost 2 per cent of the population is living with the virus. As with China and Cambodia, Red Cross' focus is on HIV awareness, and stigma and discrimination reduction. Support includes running training workshops for communities in 12 remote provinces, where they can work to develop a community response to the HIV problem.
  • In February 2007, Red Cross adopted new principles for working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. These principles commit Red Cross to forming partnerships, helping develop holistic solutions and most importantly, only entering communities by invitation. Red Cross now has 40 programs working with communities across the country to develop relevant solutions to their challenges. Red Cross is partnering with organisations and indigenous agencies, to deliver effective programs and services for the homeless in North Queensland, and a trial employment, housing and family support program in Brisbane.
  • The save-a-mate program works to promote the health and wellbeing of young people by providing education, service and support on key current and emerging health issues, particularly those related to alcohol and other drug use and mental health.
  • Red Cross is working with beyondblue, the national depression initiative, on a groundbreaking mental health project targeting young people in drought affected areas across Queensland, NSW and Victoria. The project trains young people to provide support to peers who may be experiencing depression, anxiety or other mental heath problems.
  • Australian Red Cross is working with the International Red Cross Movement to roll out a disaster preparedness program in the Pacific. Incorporating education and awareness programs, the Pacific Strategic Engagement Program will see 60 shipping containers filled with disaster relief materials including blankets, cooking sets and tarpaulins, strategically placed around 11 nations in the Pacific region to better prepare those communities to respond to disaster.
  • In April, an international Red Cross team including Australians assisted the Solomon Islands Red Cross with the distribution of aid, health supplies, and water and sanitation following the earthquake and tsunami which killed 50 people and saw around 5,500 people displaced. Australian Red Cross continues to assist the Solomons -- a country with rising sea levels due to climate change and one of the highest rates of malaria outside Africa -- in disaster preparedness and health promotion.

How much does what?

$25 can provide a phone call every day for a month to check the wellbeing of an elderly or isolated person living alone.

$40 will train one Red Cross volunteer in Myanmar (Burma) in community based first aid.

$70 provides a healthy breakfast for 4 months for one child who would otherwise go hungry.

$100 can help volunteers provide first aid and support to fire fighters and other disaster relief workers.

$180 will provide a family in the Solomon Islands access to safe drinking water, as well as hygiene and sanitation training.

$500 can equip a save-a-mate team to provide emergency assistance and peer support to teenagers exposed to alcohol and drug use.

$1000 can train 20 volunteers in first aid so that they can respond during times of emergency.

$2000 can equip a personal support team to make outreach visits to isolated homes after a disaster to check on the wellbeing of residents.

$2500 will build ten toilets for families in Timor-Leste, alleviating the spread of illness and disease.