Thanks for your great contributions to the blog ‘take-over’ last week.
I’m in Mongolia this week attending the Asian Ministerial Conference in Disaster Risk Reduction with Michael Annear who manages our Asia-Pacific programs. Half the world’s disasters last year happened in our region, leading to 15,000 deaths and impacting 162 million people. The trends are also daunting – climate change increasing the frequency and intensity of disasters, the vast majority of people shifting to urban areas by 2025, the disproportionate impact of disasters on marginalised populations, and fragile ecosystems less able to sustain the communities who depend on them.
We’re being hosted by Mongolian Red Cross and participating as part of the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement. We have clear objectives – more investment in disaster risk reduction, more focus on individual and community resilience, and prioritising new technologies and approaches.
Noel is acting CEO in my absence.
Changing Lives, Changing Minds, Changing Rules
Last week we bade farewell to our final SRSS asylum seeker clients and many team members – for now! We launched the report ‘Changing Lives, Changing Minds, Changing Rules’ which acknowledges and celebrates the first 25 years of our work supporting migrants in transition. We launched it at the Immigration Museum in Melbourne. It was an emotional time, recalling the contribution we have made to thousands of people seeking asylum over this time.
Our work with migrants is by no means over. But it was important to reflect and acknowledge what’s been done, even as we plan for the future.
My favourite quote from the report is this – “I think the most important support the Red Cross provided was empathy, connection on a personal level and wanting the best for us.”
We are also launching an appeal to support asylum seekers and refugees in crisis, and this features on the homepage of our website. Funds raised will particularly help us to support many people ineligible for funded income support and who are at risk of destitution.
Settling back into a good rhythm
If we reflect back to what we’ve achieved over the past 12 months, FY18 was a big year.
We were part of a massive effort to raise funds for and support 600,000 refugees in Myanmar/Bangladesh. We supported thousands of asylum seekers to get their visa applications in by an October deadline imposed suddenly by the government. We’ve been instrumental in securing continuity of care for 280,000 people at risk in the transition to NDIS. We’ve responded to every significant disaster and many other community crises.
Volunteers and members have been active in supporting people and communities all over the country every day in many different ways. We’ve encouraged more than 100,000 people to take action, get involved, learn first aid and ‘get prepared’ with Red Cross. And of course, who could forget that our ICAN friends won the Nobel Peace Prize for their work on the new treaty on eliminating nuclear weapons. In receiving it they thanked us for our contribution to this fantastic result.
These are just a few of our collective achievements. Now we are at the end of FY18 we can all draw breath and give ourselves a collective pat on the back.
I’ll be doing my best to tweet from Ulaanbaatar this week so if you want to follow what we’re up to, you can.