by Shannon Randol, intern contributor, American Red Cross
The International Services serves vulnerable communities around the world. We are in more than 73 countries and help more than 100 million people a year. This program has worked with the global Red Cross and Red Crescent network to meet the needs of the world for more than 130 years.
Restoring Family Links is a program dedicated to reconnecting families separated by natural disasters, armed conflict, migration or other humanitarian emergency. The program also has a blog for success stories, read about restoring family links, here.
Restoring Family Links Process:
- A refugee, family member or other sources (shelter managers, etc.) contact the Red Cross because they heard about the program and need assistance finding a lost loved one.
- The Red Cross conducts an in depth interview asking: Where the family might possibly be, how they were separated, and any other pertinent information to finding the lost family members. A simple handwritten not is attached saying, “I’m alive.”
- The information is passed to the National Headquarters of the Red Cross in Washington D.C., where more extensive research is conducted and eventually sent to the country hosting the lost family.
- Volunteers then knock on doors and do the ground work in order to find the family. This process can take a few months or a few years to complete, but the search doesn’t stop until answers are found.
“What a lot of people don’t realize is how diversely populated the North Texas region is. We have a large Iraqi population, and a large Burmese demographic north of Amarillo. The demand for restoring family links is in high demand,” said Program Manager of International Services, Jack Wilson.
International Services also focuses its efforts with educating youth groups and college campuses about the International Humanitarian Laws — the rules of war and how the International Committee shaped those laws.
The Measles and Rubella Initiative also educates the importance of donating $1 for vaccinations. “Many folks don’t realize measles is the number one killer of children under four,” said Wilson.
The International Services expands a greater reach to the population than just one area of need. Each program needs the dedication from volunteers wanting to serve.
The American Red Cross is always looking for more helping hands who want to initiate our cultural motto, Sleeves Up, Hearts Open, All in. If you would like more information on how you can assist the International Services, please sign up to volunteer today!