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World Red Cross Day: 8th May

World Red Cross Day is an annual celebration of the principles of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. World Red Cross Day is celebrated on 8th May each year. This date is the anniversary of the birth of Jean Henry Dunant, who was born on 8 May 1828. The Swiss humanitarian was the founder of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the recipient of the first Nobel Peace Prize.



Henry Dunant organized local people to bind the soldiers’ wounds and to feed and comfort them. On his return, he called for the creation of national relief societies to assist those wounded in war, and pointed the way to the future Geneva Conventions.

On 5th May 1919, the League of Red Cross Societies was created in Paris.  From the ruins of the First World War, five founding national Red Cross societies – those of France, Great Britain, Italy, Japan and the United States – launched the huge but simple idea that the great body of Red Cross compassion and expertise that had already been shown in war, could be shown in peace-time too.

The League was the brainchild of an American banker, Henry Pomeroy Davison, who had headed the American Red Cross War Committee.  It took him less than six months – from the genesis of his idea in December 2018 – to turn it into reality.  Today, we celebrate his and all his colleagues’ passion, vision and determination. 

The Federation’s sole purpose is to help people in need, without fear or favour.  It responds to and prepares for disaster, it brings health services to local communities, it lobbies for best humanitarian practice, it ensures the dignity of people on the move.  

The Red Cross programmes are grouped into four main core areas: promoting humanitarian cause principles and values; response to disasters; disaster preparedness and health and care in the community. 


7 Principles of Red Cross Society

1. Humanity: The main purpose is to protect life and health and to ensure respect for the human being. It promotes mutual understanding, friendship, cooperation amongst all peoples

2. Impartiality: It makes no discrimination on the basis of nationality, race, religious beliefs, class, or political opinions. The main motive is to help individuals solely on the basis of their needs and to give priority to the most urgent cases of distress. 

3. Neutrality: In order to enjoy the confidence of all, the movement does not engage in controversies of political, racial, religious, or ideological nature.

4. Independence: The movement 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 the principles of the movement.

5. Voluntary service: It is a voluntary relief movement not prompted in any manner by desire for gain.

6. Unity: The Red Cross society must carry on its humanitarian work throughout its territory.

7. Universality: The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, in which all societies have equal status and share equal responsibilities and duties in helping each other, is worldwide

Indian Red Cross Society was constituted 100 years ago on the 20th of March 1920. For over hundred years, IRCS’s volunteers have dedicated themselves to ‘Minimizing, Alleviating & Preventing Human Suffering’, wherever it may be found. 

“IRCS has always supplemented the efforts of the government in its various health programs. This time also its performing a major role during Covid-19 side-by-side with the government”, Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan said. 

Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS) is playing its role as auxiliary to the Government by deploying more than 40,000 volunteers across the length and breadth of the country on this World Red Cross Day which is special for IRCS as IRCS commemorates its centenary year. I salute all the volunteers who are working tirelessly to provide humanitarian service.” Secretary-General R. K Jain said


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