If you have had the good fortune to visit the Monaco Red Cross 70th anniversary Expo you cannot come away without feeling how much the Monaco Red Cross is woven into the very fabric of the Principality.
Since the Monaco Red Cross was founded in 1948 by Prince Louis II, the Princely family have taken special interest in the organization and the Monaco Red Cross shares many of the same values as the Princely Family. Prince Rainier III from 1949 took the step of involving the Royal Family very closely with the humanitarian activities of the Red Cross, also making high profile appearances at their Galas. The Presidency then passed to Princess Grace in 1958 who added serenity as a gift that the Monaco Red Cross distributed in turn to the many people in distress that it serves. Prince Albert from 1982 took over at the helm and we see many new initiatives in the international sphere as well as at home and with an emphasis on youth involvement and awareness and sustainability.
The Red Cross is the quiet element that binds our society together, that is ready to take care of us when the unforeseen strikes and makes us most vulnerable – that enables us to live dignified lives when fate pulls the rug under our feet. But how is it possible with just over 50 employees and a budget of approximately 3 million euros that the Monaco Red Cross achieves the impossible and does so many helpful things to make all our lives better, healthier, safer and “catch us if we fall”.
Yourself or a loved one are victims of an accident, burned, bleeding, fall or unexpectedly taken ill. At these critical times, there is comfort and trust in the knowledge that you are in safe hands receiving trained and expert care, be it in an ambulance, at the roadside or at an event. Over 2000 first aid specialists receive training in the course of a year by the Monaco Red Cross.
Over 1.200 volunteers are involved in the Grand Prix alone. If there is an accident in the Grand Prix or an accident on Monaco roads these brave, expert and kind first aid workers are first on the scene to take care of us. And Monaco first aiders rush to the support of other communities when they are overwhelmed. The terror attack in Nice was a shining example when the Monaco Red Cross immediately sent 92 first aiders to support the families of the victims and population in shock.
“Let’s celebrate life, let’s donate our blood” is the motto that underpins the efforts of the Monaco Red Cross under the guidance of Ms. Christine Boggiano to mobilize the 6000 donors in the Principality – all to give hope to wounded victims. The stakes are high “Life or death” and because of the Monaco Red Cross and the 6000 blood donors – it is Life!
Relieving abject distress around the clock is their calling. 1000 cases, 2000 people in desperate need, nearly 700 households with isolated and poor victims, single parent families or retired and defenceless people, alone in misery. With 4 employees, 2 social workers and 20 volunteers contributing over 3000 hours under the guidance of Mrs. Paul Leguay, the Monaco Red Cross stretches itself to the limit to handle the most precarious situations to help victims of economic, social and even emotional poverty.
Nursing and Retirement Homes and the Rainier III Centre for Gerontology
Hours of presence enrich the lives, indeed often are the most important feature in the lives of the retired community. Volunteers support the dignity of hundreds of nursing home residents in the most vulnerable period of their lives. The Monaco Red Cross provides teams of these volunteers, more than 60 in total. They manage to provide daily care, 7000 hours of kindness during the year, constantly organizing activities and treats and guided by Mrs. Benedetto, Mrs. Boisbouvier, Mrs. Lachkine and Mrs. Santero.
Princess Grace Hospital
The Monaco Red Cross has a big presence in Princess Grace Hospital to deal with the forgotten, alone and sick and they manage to care for the patients in many different languages. 20 volunteer ladies often acting in teams of two under the guidance of Dr. Philippe Brunner manage to spread their wings to bring kindness and often serenity to between 9.000 and 10.000 patients who are so glad to see their compassionate faces.
The Monaco Red Cross Day Care Centre in Fontvielle is a source of great pride to its staff, and to Ms. Malika Pesquerel who manages it under the guidance of Mr. Philippe Narmino.
The Centre instils qualities of independence, creativity and cooperation that is the foundation for a bountiful, future life for the 90 children. It stimulates, promotes expression and paves the way for the future roles of these wonderful children in society.
There is also a special Monaco Red Cross organization called “Avenir” guided by Mrs. Dominique Martet. “Avenir” encourages and develops young people in every aspect of getting involved in the Red Cross Movement, and to take an interest in mankind. At least 533 young people have benefited from Young Leaders Training and from related events, all of which create enthusiasm to discover the Red Cross. Mobilizing youth is one of the key goals of the Monaco Red Cross for the future.
Emergency Help Across Frontiers
The Red Cross is the largest humanitarian organization in the World. The Monaco Red Cross plays a vital roll in helping the Red Cross in other countries, especially when their resources are overwhelmed by major calamities such as earthquakes, floods, drought due to wars etc. and major terror attacks. As Sy, Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross has described as exemplary the Monaco Red Cross support for its Italian sister organization at the Roya transit camp in Ventimiglia where between 500 and 1000 people have been housed, treated and fed on a daily basis. 110 volunteers from Monaco worked 550 shifts and spent 2850 hours in the camps at Ventimiglia. Similar initiatives by Monaco have brought great relief to victims of earthquakes in Italy and Nepal and alleviated widespread distress and deprivation in Armenia.
Burkina Faso needs to build up its own Red Cross organization and The Monaco Red Cross is helping with this specific challenge in a very creative way. Having won applause and awards for its Pavilion at the World Expo in Milan, it has transported and reinstalled it in Burkina Faso. It will be the Centre of a multi-purpose Training and Accommodation Centre for the Burkina Faso Red Cross so they themselves will be able to deal independently with their own humanitarian crises.
Two Monaco objectives married in one project, the high profile of which increases awareness – a worthy goal in itself. Monaco’s SMEG has also contributed by laying the foundation of a solar hybrid solution to supply the Centre with Electricity.
Certainly, one way of showing our appreciation for the 60.000 hours of kindness that flows our way during the year is to turn out for the big annual rummage sale in May on the occasion of the World Red Cross Day. HelloMonaco will see you there!