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Towards better engagement, safeguarding individuals with disabilities!

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World Red Cross Day

By M Ahmad

World Red Cross Day is celebrated on the 8th of May each year in memory of founder of International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the first recipient of Nobel Peace Prize was- Henry Dunant- who was born on this day. It came into existence in 1919 and today it coordinates between the 192 National Red Cross Societies within the Movement, internationally in close cooperation with the National Societies. The International Federation Secretariat is based in Geneva, Switzerland and each entity works in its own area and according to the principles of international humanitarian law and the statutes of the international Movement.

The motive of celebrating Red Cross day is to reduce and terminate the sufferings among people and raise their dignity to the next level. It isn’t only about growing the dignity of an individual but it also aims for protecting the lives of the people from natural as well as manmade disasters like earthquakes, floods, storms, war, famine, diseases etc. Another primary reason for its celebration is to honour and commemorate the birthday of the founder of the Society.  It is celebrated worldwide by the Red Cross Organizations of each country.

Indian Red Cross Society is a member of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement with its branches/chapters in nearly every state and UT of the Country. Here I shall discuss the expected role of State Red Cross Societies, during COVID-19 Pandemic crises, in respect to individuals with disabilities in a simple and understandable way which could be very convenient for all the stakeholders to easily analyze. The expected role of State Red Cross Society include that it should give priority to reach the persons with disability for their health care and must collect the data of individuals with disabilities from the Government Departments associated with these persons.

Furthermore, it should collect the details of persons with disabilities from the Organisations and the Institutions working in this sector and create a separate cell to address the present COVID-19 Pandemic issues via their website by providing 24×7 helpline dedicated for these people.

Red Cross should have a language interpreter to understand the problem of the individuals with Hearing & Speech impairment problem and should associate with the Organisations and Institutions concerned, in addition to Govt Departments to have immediate reach to such individuals. It should highlight their programmes, in this regard, in print, electronic and social media for the information of general masses and the individual with disabilities.

Having a huge base of volunteers and workers, it should designate a separate group of volunteers to help, reach and deal with such individuals (Handicapped) especially in this COVID-19 Pandemic crises and develop and implement specific programmes and services for the persons with disabilities.

It is also very important that the organization should try to arrange assistive tools like wheel chairs, hearing aids, cane sticks, walkers etc. for the needy individuals with disabilities in this pandemic. This will definitely ensure that we, as a society are working and progressing towards better engagement with and safeguarding individuals with disabilities!

The writer is Principal(I/C), Abhedananda Home, Higher Secondary Institution for Specially-abled children, Solina, Rambagh, Srinagar, J&K email: [email protected])

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