Last week I introduced our new Board members Cris and Melissa. This week they’ve been attending their first Board meeting held in Hobart. It must be daunting to join a Board for an organisation like Red Cross with such widespread work - from our role in the community to our work on international humanitarian law and what we are doing to adapt to the future. But Cris and Melissa were active contributors from the start, joining a Board of amazing people who contribute so much to Red Cross.
At a session in Tasmania, the Board was asked to fill a form written in a language they are not familiar with as an example of the challenges faced by many migrants in transition.
The Board had a great session with the team in Tasmania before our meeting. We heard more detail about their work supporting migrants in transition, and were challenged to fill in a form written in Hindi. It was an example of what migrants in transition have to grapple with. The Tasmanian team also talked through their learner-driver initiatives and other programs.
Our full agenda started at 7.30am on Saturday and covered progress on our Strategy 2020 (more on that soon), work on our international program strategy and our efforts to fix the pay systems. The Board also approved our new Reconciliation Action Plan with great support and enthusiasm. We will now take this to Reconciliation Australia for approval.
2018 Red Cross Oration
Red Cross volunteers Kerry and Mashuka with their Humanitarian Action pledge.
I attended the Red Cross Oration on Thursday with Ross Pinney, Red Cross staff and other members of the Board and Tasmanian Divisional Advisory Board. The Red Cross Oration, now in its 10th year, is a collaboration between the University of Tasmania and Australian Red Cross. It aims to advance public understanding and interdisciplinary dialogue concerning issues of human significance in the contemporary world– be it human distress, suffering, dignity or respect, or perhaps human understanding or engagement.
These orations focus on an issue that broadly connects back to the values and principles of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. Every year, an internationally renowned speaker presents the oration. This year Jono Nicholas of ReachOut spoke about loneliness in the digital age. This ties in with the work we do at Red Cross to beat loneliness. There is a direct link between declining health and increasing loneliness and social isolation. A panel discussion followed, with Ebony Gaylor, our Community Mobilisation Manager and Dr Peta Cook, a Senior Lecturer of Sociology at the University of Tasmania expounding on the issue of loneliness and social isolation.
Our team from Tasmania prepared a Humanitarian Action pledge board, encouraging attendees to bring more good by making a personal pledge to do something positive to benefit others. This can be as simple as saying hello to your new neighbour or something more involved like organising a fundraising event or initiating a regular social chat with someone in need. The Humanitarian Action pledge aligns with our goal to see 2.5 million people taking voluntary humanitarian action.
30 years of Red Cross at Brisbane City Hall
Hannah-Rose, artist, musician, Auslan interpreter and advocate for people with a disability.
Last week Red Cross celebrated 30 years of service out of Brisbane City Hall, The Night Café there provides support, hot meals, showers, referral to other services and a safe space for young people aged 12-25 experiencing homelessness. We also run a café in the morning with funds supporting our work to help young people experiencing homelessness.
One of the people celebrating was Hannah, pictured above. Hannah was a regular at the Night Café. She said it started as just a place for a meal, but became a place to connect with people and often motivated her to get out of bed.
“At the time, the night cafe meant a safe space. I could be who I wanted to be. No judgement,” said Hannah.
Hannah helped us celebrate the place that once gave her support, safety and friendship. Red Cross workers helped Hannah enrol in a fully subsidised Certificate in Individualised Disability Support and Aged Care. Stories like Hannah’s reaffirm the value of the work Red Cross does. Hannah now works with people with a disability and hopes to start volunteering at the Night Café soon. She is a member of the Queensland Youth Advisory Committee and said that she would like to see more support for people aged 26 to 35.
Talk again soon.