My Experience of Working With The Red Cross Society

This article is written by Sumi Trvedi of UPES, Dehradun. If you want to share your law school related experiences, feel free to share them over email: [email protected]

Red Cross Society: An association which inspires encourages and initiates, at all times, all forms of humanitarian activities so as to create a climate for peace (although I came to know about the mission of this society on the first day of my introductory session).

Those 21 days of my life taught me how to love people, not only our near and dear ones but also those, who not being a member of our family, not our friends, not our relatives but those who just need a few words of our love and a few moments of our care. There I got to know that love is not only what which we share with our people or our boyfriends, but it’s something which can be shared by people “being humans”. Care and concern is not only to be defined with our families, but also with those who don’t have a family.

Initially, the only reason of doing my internship with the Red Cross Society of my hometown was to be with my family (because even passing out of the first semester could not teach me, how to live without parents). And that is why I entered the office of the association on the first day without any hopes (of working there), and it was an introductory session of 2 HOURS. I was thinking of that an introductory session of TWO FULL HOURS (sometimes we study the whole syllabus of our exams in two hours) is going to take my breath away from me. When I entered the auditorium of the association, I found a few more people, probably of my age, sitting there and one thing was common in all of them, everyone was busy in their mobile phones with the same uninterested kind of expressions on their face. Subsequently, a number of people (seemed to me as students) got settled in the room and then entered the Director, of the branch with a very calm and composed smile on his face (because he didn’t need to wait for an hour, for the next two hours of an introductory session). And then he started his kind words (which was a lecture sort of, for me) but, his words and the attitude, with which he was speaking were influential and the quality of his explanation at least brought me to the conclusion that he was an outstanding speaker. Contrary to what I had thought about the introductory session, those two hours flew as winds, and there was the true picture of the real India, where people even die for love, for care, for peace.

The history of Red Cross Society was in front of us, its establishment in India during World War I till its latest conventions in Geneva and the only difference which came to my mind was that, during its establishment, people needed it because of the first aid facilities required to heal their injuries and now people need it overcome their emotional injuries also.

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love”, were the concluding words of the Director Sir which compelled me to work for this And on the second day, I entered the office with the same anxiety which I had a day before, while leaving the association; and then we were told about the branches of Red Cross Society in the city and the major areas of their concerns. It not only provided for Health care facilities, but also worked as a non- governmental organization (although not being an NGO). Students were divided into groups and each group had to work in its different branches for three days with the principles of the society which were Humanity, Impartiality, Neutrality, Independence, Voluntary Service, Unity and Universality.

My first destination was the orphanage and old age home (“How can children be so selfish to leave those people because of whom they are standing in this sphere and how can parents be so selfish of leaving their children who are a part of them” was the first question which came in my mind). People living there lacked the feeling of love and being loved. Some were the fathers whose children were basically living in abroad and who didn’t even bothered that how their fathers were while some were the grandmothers whose children asked them to leave their house just because their families were getting larger and they could not afford a new residence or whose wives were getting irritated just because of the interference of their mother-in –laws in their personal matters. Talking to such people, who are deprived off their homes or their families or who don’t have a family make them feel better, because they realize that they even have people to listen to their words and to understand their feelings. Different people with different stories, and every story was having a sad ending; but the only good thing which was common in all of them was that they all were a part of a single family. There I realized that you are a daughter for a woman who lost her daughter on the railway station or a granddaughter for a man who was compelled to leave his house by his own children, and the dreams they have in their minds for their children never changes, whether it be the marriage of their daughter or the birth of their grandchildren; these stories can even make you cry at times. And that was the motto of our internship, to make them happy.

Children there didn’t even know from where they belonged and who were their parents. Achievement is when you give your best, and at that time, it hardly matters whether you lose or you win. I don’t know that what actually the presence of me and my group made on those people residing there, but I am sure that we made the best possible efforts to make them happy and to resolve their grievances (whether when they wanted to talk to their son or when they wanted to meet their granddaughter, we did all which we could). People, although not being a part of our life, even becomes a part when we share a few sweet moments with them.

Our next destination of landing was when we had to plan the distribution of blankets to the poor people, basically in those bastis where we can’t even think of spending a night in that freezing cold and where thousands of people were living without any mode of survival. A survey report clearly depicted that more than 1/10th of the population of these bastis die every year because of the chilling winters. And that is why we planned a budget which was to cope up with the requirement of the blankets and had to order the same directly to the manufacturing company (because we got huge discounts and that is why we ordered in large quantities).

When the order was dispatched to us, it was the time to distribute them, and all the members of the internship program made the best possible efforts, so that no one could be left behind.

It’s not always a payment of money from your recruiters which can make you happy, but sometimes it’s even a smile on people’s face when you are providing them with the greatest necessity of that moment.

After all these, it was the turn of the Red Cross Hospital, which provides medical facilities to those people, who could not afford it. It not only provides medical facilities to those people who need it, but also files a complaint for those females who are the survivors of acid attacks and domestic violence. And that day I met a few lawyers who provide free services in these kinds of cases so as to establish the rights of these survivors (at that time I was corrected by one of the lawyers that these people were not the victims but the survivors of the violence against them) and I understood that legal profession does not only mean that you need to sit in the office and prepare for only those cases for which you are paid well, rather it involves those cases also which according to you, is an injustice with others and they are not able to fight for the same. We even established a few campaigns for making women aware about their rights (even realized that sometimes it’s difficult to make an Indian woman understand that they can move against their husbands) and also that every time they are not a cup of tea for their husbands. But, it was all a success at the end and this success even led to a few more.

I would even like to share what people think about these organizations and also about the people working with it. When I was doing my internship there, a number of elderly aged people asked about my internship and what they told me that being a law student, I should basically focus on those places to intern where I would be getting some legal knowledge and these organizations never do anything for the welfare of the people; but how could I make them understand that although there was no legal knowledge I got from my experience, but I have learnt a number of other things about myself and people, their behavior, their needs and, also that how can I handle things around me.

Also I would like to question those people who have a doubt about the working of these organizations that, if these Organizations don’t do anything for the welfare of the society, then have you ever done something towards the welfare, other than yours???

It’s very difficult to make up with those situations when you know that things going around you are wrong but still you can’t do anything to change those situations; what you need to do is just to make yourself understand that a time will come, when you will be able to fight for those rights which a person has been deprived of.

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