International Humanitarian Law Essay Winner – Local Red Cross Youth Volunteer

By Carol Grinage, volunteer contributor, American Red Cross North Texas Region

As a volunteer in the International Services Department of the North Texas Region of the Red Cross, Riya Addula is a member of the Youth Action Campaign (YAC), which raises awareness about International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and education in war.

Riya Addula
Photo Courtesy of Addula

She began volunteering at the Red Cross in June 2020 to make a positive impact in her community and to spread awareness of issues facing society. 

“Being able to meet peers who share similar passions as me and seeing the impact volunteers make really motivates me to continue volunteering,” she said. “Volunteering is incredibly rewarding and helps foster my interests.

“I’m the lead advocate of virtual outreach on my team. I manage communication between my group and our volunteer coordinator to ensure that our plans are effectively implemented,” said Ms. Addula. 

Not only does she manage the communication, but she also created and manages the IHL website as part of the campaign. 

She also writes blog articles and creates social media posts “to help us maintain a strong online presence.”  

As a lead advocate, she uses her skills to help her team run a successful campaign. 

Ms. Addula’s work with the International Services is impressive, and, like many new volunteers, she did not know the extent that the Red Cross helped people domestically and internationally.

“When I was first introduced to the YAC, I had never heard about international humanitarian law,” she explained, “and I knew very little about education in war.”

As she learned more about IHL and how it affected education in war, she recognized its significance and wanted to raise awareness of its importance. 

The importance of the IHL cannot be overstated as it can “determine the life and death of citizens in conflict zones,” she said.

“With attacks on education rising, international law is becoming increasingly important,” Ms. Addula said. “Through our campaign, we hope to raise awareness about IHL and the importance it plays in our world.”

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