Be human kind

The greatness of humanity is not in being human, but in being humane.

– Mahatma Gandhi, Indian anti-colonial nationalists

With all the daily doses of news about the atrocities inflicted by humans on each other, it is easy sometimes to accept the belief that there is no hope for humanity.

Much of these atrocities have their origins in hate politics, be it ideological, religious, racial or territorial.

On the other hand, there are also many acts of kindness by individuals and humanitarian organisations.

The acts of these people and organisations give faith that there is another side to human nature.

As I am sure you do, I do believe that the majority of humankind is of a fundamentally decent nature and cares about the wellbeing of others.

The actions of these decent people and humanitarian organisations give hope to many disadvantaged people and save lives across the globe.

One such humanitarian organisation is the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. It is composed of the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the 192 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies worldwide.

Since its origins in 1863, its sole objective has been to ensure protection and assistance for victims of armed conflict and strife. This 159-year-old organisation initiated the development of humanitarian action globally, the historic and significant Geneva Conventions and the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

Only a few days ago, on May 8, we just celebrated the World Red Cross Red Crescent Day and the efforts of its 80 million volunteers.

The date also marks the anniversary of the birth of Jean-Henry Dunant, born on May 8 1828. He was the founder of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the first Nobel Peace Prize recipient.

This year’s theme focuses on kindness and encourages people around the world to #BeHumanKind.

This humanitarian organisation operates based on the following seven fundamental principles humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality.

These seven fundamental principles have been the guiding light for an ethical, operational and institutional framework. They have been at the core of its approach to helping people during times of armed conflict, natural disasters and many other emergencies.

Worldwide the volunteers have been involved in mitigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Sarawak Chapter of the Malaysian Red Crescent (MRC) under the chairmanship of Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri George Chan Hong Nam has also been active via its 11 branches.

They assisted the government in the vaccination programmes and various other welfare programmes.

The volunteers of the MRC Miri branch were one of the active branches during the pandemic. Its volunteers were stationed in three vaccination centres for up to nine months.

The the MRC Miri branch blood donor recruitment committee also took over responsibility for most mobile blood donations during the lockdown. Initially, from March 25 2020 onwards, there were three blood donations each week held at its premises.

Now, with the support of some NGOs, these blood donations are still being carried out at the MRC premises. To date, 204 blood donations have been carried out here. A total of 10,461 donors registered during this time, and 8,760 pints have been collected. An organ donor pledging registration campaign was also carried out.

In the initial MCO phase, the MRC Miri branch disaster management committee also provided temporary shelter to the homeless to keep them safe from the Covid 19 virus.

The MRC Miri branch kidney dialysis centre under the chairmanship of Datuk Seri Lee Kim Shin also remained open to all its 327 patients despite significant challenges. It operates 76 dialysis machines. A new centre in Tudan, Miri, with a capacity of 40 kidney dialysis machines, will be opening soon.

These are just some of the many efforts and activities MRC Miri branch undertook via its volunteers and staff.

There was also much kindness shown by the public throughout Sarawak during the pandemic via cash and food donations and donation of medical items and materials.

I was on hand to witness to see some of this outpouring of humanitarian assistance. It shows that we can come together in times of need.

The Sarawak government, under the leadership of Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg played the most significant role in being kind to its citizens. They extended numerous welfare programs that helped many survive the last two years of the pandemic.

Even in the darkest of times, we see acts of kindness. No matter how small these acts of kindness might be, every act can make a huge difference.

On World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day, we pay tribute to those who show us the power of kindness.

Do get involved! Together we can spread the flame of humanity and act with the power of kindness. #BeHumanKind

The views expressed here are those of the columnist and do not necessarily represent the views of New Sarawak Tribune.

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