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Tippy taps on Tiwi Islands | Global concert series | Poetry in COVID-19

7 May 2020

Taking action on World Red Cross Day

Hi everyone,

I wrote last week to ask you to consider doing an act of kindness to mark World Red Cross Day tomorrow. I’d like to know what you're doing – please share these acts and how you're finding new ways to connect with friends, family and colleagues. Send them to me via askjudy@redcross.org.au.

You can also join Ross Pinney (President) and me at 3.30pm tomorrow, for a live streamed event on our social channels. 

We will be  joined by Jacqueline de Gaillande (Secretary General, Vanuatu Red Cross), Rhonda Hill (Service Manager, Woorabinda) and Nordov Bolormaa (Secretary General, Mongolian Red Cross) who will be sharing their stories and personal reflections around COVID-19: The importance of connection, our humanitarian response, and the challenges of supporting communities already vulnerable because of events such as Cyclone Harold and the Black Summer bushfires.

If you’d like to join us, head over to our FacebookTwitter or YouTube tomorrow.

Tippy taps on Tiwi Islands

Gregory Orsto (Community Development Officer – Red Cross in Tiwi Islands) with the tippy tap on Tiwi Islands.

I’d also like to share this lovely story from our team in Tiwi Islands.

Our response to COVID-19 in the Tiwi Islands includes the escalation of key messaging for handwashing, where access to soap and taps is sometimes limited.

The team has been working to distribute soap in a stocking that can be hung onto the tap in the house to remind family members to wash their hands. Also, the communities have been building “tippy taps” which is helping to stop the spread of COVID-19. These can be created with just a five-litre water container, some local materials, soap and disinfectant.

By having tippy taps at the entrance to homes, not only will the current urgent needs be met, but also their ongoing presence will continue to improve hygiene in the long term.

This is amazing. Thank you to our Tiwi team who has been delivering our programs with a strong cultural focus of Ngaruwanajirri, caring for one another with love and respect.

Headspace app for free

While we are working hard to make sure that the world overcomes COVID-19 as soon as possible, on some days, it can get a bit much for some of us. That is why it’s important to manage your wellbeing and mental health.

If you are a Red Cross staff member, you can now access Headspace for free. Sponsored by ICRC for Red Cross Red Crescent Movement, Headspace offers 1000+ hours of mindfulness and sleep content, mini exercises for busy schedules and is proven to reduce stress.

Headspace is your personal guide to health and happiness. It’ll help you focus, breathe, stay calm, perform at your best, and get a better night’s rest through the life-changing skills of relaxation, meditation, and mindfulness. It’s especially helpful during these strange times we are in.

Here’s how you can join:

  • If you have not used Headspace yet, please go to work.headspace.com/icrc/member-enroll, fill in your details (using your Red Cross email) and sign up.
  • If you already have a Headspace account, you also need to go on the new platform work.headspace.com/icrc/member-enroll and log in instead of signing up for a new account. You will then be able to connect your existing account to your Red Cross email. Please note that all existing users need to log in to the new platform to continue to benefit from Headspace.

Global concert series for COVID-19

Australian Red Cross with several other national societies are working with the International Federation to launch a global campaign. A digital global concert series will be streamed over the internet featuring hundreds of artists in support of the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement.

The concerts will run over 60 days to give people who join in the opportunity to help communities affected by COVID-19 around the world. The International Federation of the Red Cross is doing this in partnership with the Coca-Cola Foundation who will match donations up to US$3 million.

Look out for the concert series, which will be streaming online very soon. And don’t forget to spread the word to your friends, colleagues and family.

Poetry in COVID-19

Have a read of this lovely poem below. It has been circulated on the web as being from the time of the Spanish Flu but we researched it and understand it was written recently by Kitty O’Meara, depicting life during the current pandemic. It really picks up the idea that we have begun talking about on many levels of taking the best out of this situation with us when we move forward.

And people stayed at home
And read books

And listened
And they rested
And did exercises
And made art and played
And learned new ways of being
And stopped and listened 
Most deeply
Someone meditated, someone prayed
Someone met their shadow
And people began to think differently
And people healed.
And in the absence of people who
Lived in ignorant ways
Dangerous, meaningless and heartless,
The earth also began to heal
And when the danger ended and
People found themselves
They grieved for the dead
And made new choices
And dreamed of new visions
And created new ways of living
And completely healed the earth
Just as they were healed.

COVID Collective - Episode 2

I encourage you to have a listen to Episode 2 of COVID Collective: The Community in your Living Room.

In this episode, Sue-Anne Hunter (trained social worker and founder of Aboriginal Cultural Consultancy), discusses the enduring sense of community among First Nations peoples, while Dr Catherine Barrett (founder, Kindness Pandemic) talks about how a Facebook page turned into a viral kindness movement.

This episode will lift you up and make you smile.

Of knitted socks and art therapy

Before I end this blog, I’d like to share these wonderful feature stories that were in the media recently. Australian Red Cross Camden Branch Chair Judy Wilson shared these clippings with me. Judy cleared a room in her house and together with the branch members, filled the room with art and

craft supplies including our Trauma Teddies, to suit every creative style and age group. These items were then passed along to the Cobargo Community Arts Centre, which was hit hard by the recent bushfires. The array of craft items will be used as therapy for the locals.

Another story that was in the news dates back to wartime when Australian Red Cross played a crucial role in organising knitted socks for the soldiers. Knitted socks were part of the soldier’s bag that Red Cross volunteers signed up to supply in 1914. Red Cross knitters in Camden and across Australia supplied thousands of pairs of socks to the soldiers then.

It’s amazing to look back in time and see how far we’ve come and how we’re still continuing the craft of knitting, be it socks or Trauma Teddies.

Take care and I’ll see you at our live streamed event tomorrow.

Judy