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Red Cross vision for the youth

Each generation passes on the torch of development to the next. Hence it becomes the challenge for the present generation to groom the future of tomorrow and that is the 'Youth'. The Indian Red Cross which has in its fraternity 10 million Youth Red Cross (YRC) and Junior Red Cross (JRC) members keeps on organizing various programmes and activities for the youth.

The Pune District Branch of the Indian Red Cross Society conducted 'Humanitarian Values Youth Workshop for Youth Leaders' from December 13th - 16th, 2007 at Bel-Air Sanatorium and Hospital, Panchgani. The workshop was supported by the National Headquarters, IRCS through Maharastra State branch and by International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Thirty-nine YRC members along with seven YRC Councilors participated in the workshop. "Pune Disrtict branch was the first to set up Youth Red Cross wing in the year 1975 with just two colleges. Now it has its presence in 60 schools and 23 colleges" said Prof. Kulkarni, District Secretary, Pune branch. He was a principal of a college and had joined the Red Cross as a Councilor.

He aims at spreading awareness about the Red Cross principles and activities among the youth and is doing so for the past 30 years. He also shared that this workshop on humanitarian values would help in coming up with the Youth Council, which would have eight boys and eight girls as its members and would work on 'Health, Service and Friendship' objective of YRC. The council would be provided financial and technical support by the branch for carrying out its activities.

The workshop was designed appropriately as it covered all the aspects of the Red Cross like an introduction to the movement, its principles and activities, role of youth red cross as a volunteer and leader and the need to possess humanitarian values. Team building exercise was also organized. The recreational needs of the students were also met, as a debate on the kind of approach they would like to follow in their life, whether Gandhigiri or Rang De Basanti was conducted. Cultural programme witnessed strong participation by the students as songs, skit, jokes, dance and poems formed a part of it. Students were also taken to Mahabaleshwar for sightseeing.

Humanitarian values were an integral part of the workshop as the sessions helped the students to understand that 'Is it worthwhile having any values at all and secondly in a highly competitive world should we worry about them'. Humanitarian values are encapsulated in the seven fundamental principles of the Red Cross Movement and it is goal four of the global agenda of the International Federation.

Prof. Sheetal Pandir, 25 years of age and a Councilor of Youth Red Cross who attended the workshop shared her experience that Red Cross has played a significant role in her life. She said that 'Red Cross is like a sea of hope, happiness and service. I lost my elder sister to dowry. But in 1995, I happened to attend the JRC camp for the first time and I realized there are lot of problems like disaster, epidemic and poverty, which are bigger than mine. Since then there has been no looking back as I have got the direction and my confidence has been boosted because of Red Cross. I'll continue serving the humanity and wish to do something for the HIV infected patients'.

Aditi Choksey, 19 years of age and a second year student of microbiology was extremely enthusiastic for being able to attend the workshop. She said that "I may not have all the humanitarian values but I'll try to identify them in me and shall follow them in letter and spirit. I'll also work on the principles of the Red Cross and would like to reach the vulnerable people as a volunteer and help them at the time of need".

Navendu Mandal, 18 years of age and a student of First year B.Com aims to become an MBA professional. He said, " If we want that others should respect us then we should follow the humanitarian values. He also said that "the workshop helped me in making new friends and realizing how important it is to do selfless service as it gives a lot of satisfaction".

The participants made their own small world of friendship in four days of the workshop and hoped that they would share their knowledge with their other friends and would convince them to serve the Red Cross.
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