The Greek Red Cross

red cross in greece

The Humanitarian Mission of the Greek Red Cross: A History of Support and Advocacy

The Greek Red Cross, also known as the Hellenic Red Cross, is a humanitarian organization that has been providing aid and support to people in need, since its establishment in 1877. Affiliated with the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, the Greek Red Cross plays a vital role in responding to both war and peace situations, offering assistance to the injured, the sick, the elderly, refugees, and other vulnerable groups in the population. With a focus on delivering relief and improving the well-being of individuals, the Greek Red Cross has been involved in various initiatives and programs throughout its history.

The Greek Red Cross operates on the principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity, and universality. These principles guide the organization’s actions and ensure that its services are provided without discrimination, based solely on the needs of individuals. The Greek Red Cross has a dedicated team of staff and volunteers who work tirelessly to deliver aid and support to those in need.

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History of the Greek Red Cross

  • The Greek Red Cross was founded in 1877 by Queen Olga and its first president, Markos Renieris.
  • During the Cretan Revolution in 1897, the Greek Red Cross established temporary hospitals to provide medical care to the injured.
  • During the Balkan Wars in 1912-1913, the organization opened hospital units to attend to the medical needs of the affected population.

These significant events in the organization’s history highlight its commitment to serving individuals during times of crisis.

Over the years, the Greek Red Cross has expanded its scope of activities to address emerging needs and crises. It has been involved in responding to natural disasters, such as earthquakes and floods, both within Greece and in other countries. The organization has also provided assistance to refugees and migrants, working to ensure their well-being and integration into society. Through its historical actions, the Greek Red Cross has demonstrated its resilience and adaptability in the face of evolving challenges.

Budget and Fundraising of the Greek Red Cross

The Greek Red Cross determines its budget through a comprehensive assessment of needs and available resources.It relies on a combination of governmental grants, private donations, and fundraising events to fund its activities. Fundraising methods employed by the organization include charity drives, corporate partnerships, and public campaigns aimed at raising awareness and gathering financial support. By diversifying its funding sources, the Greek Red Cross ensures the availability of resources necessary to carry out its mission of providing aid and support to vulnerable populations.

In recent years, the Greek Red Cross has faced financial challenges due to the economic crisis in Greece. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has listed the Hellenic Red Cross’s 2022 funding requirement in Swiss francs as 1.7 million (1). The Hellenic Red Cross has been supported by other organizations such as the German Red Cross and the Deutsches Rotes Kreuz (DRK) in providing relief items and hygiene measures to refugees in Greece (2).

The organization has implemented cost-saving measures and sought new funding opportunities to sustain its operations and continue its humanitarian work. Despite these challenges, the Greek Red Cross remains committed to its mission and continues to provide vital services to those in need.

Recent Actions and Initiatives

Throughout its history, the Greek Red Cross has been actively involved in providing aid and relief during various crises and disasters. The organization has supported vulnerable population groups through social welfare programs, collaborating with other organizations to deliver emergency assistance and healthcare services. Whether it is responding to natural disasters, assisting refugees, or providing medical care to those in need, the Greek Red Cross continues to demonstrate its commitment to serving humanity.

In recent years, the Greek Red Cross has been particularly focused on addressing the needs of migrants and refugees arriving in Greece. The organization has established shelters and reception centers to provide temporary accommodation and support services. These facilities offer basic necessities, such as food, clothing, and healthcare, as well as psychosocial support to help individuals cope with the challenges they face.

The Greek Red Cross also provides transportation services to reunite separated family members and facilitate their integration into society.

Multifunctional Centers for Migrants

Recognizing the challenges faced by migrants, the Greek Red Cross has established multifunctional centers to provide support services. These centers offer a range of assistance, including language classes, healthcare access, legal assistance, and social integration programs. By providing these services, the Greek Red Cross aims to facilitate the integration process and improve the well-being of migrants.

For example, one of the multifunctional centers operated by the Greek Red Cross is located in Athens. This center provides language classes to help migrants learn Greek and improve their communication skills. It also offers healthcare services, including medical check-ups and access to medications, to ensure the well-being of individuals. Additionally, the center provides legal assistance to migrants, helping them navigate the complex legal processes they may encounter. Through these multifunctional centers, the Greek Red Cross plays a crucial role in supporting migrants and refugees as they adapt to their new environment.

Engagement with Competent Authorities on Detained Migrants

The Greek Red Cross actively engages with competent authorities to address the needs and rights of detained migrants. The organization advocates for the well-being of this vulnerable population and works closely with authorities to ensure their access to necessary support services. The Greek Red Cross provides assistance in detention facilities, including access to legal aid and healthcare, to improve the conditions and well-being of detained migrants.

By collaborating with authorities, the Greek Red Cross aims to promote respect for human rights and dignity in the treatment of detained migrants. The organization conducts regular visits to detention centers to assess the living conditions and provide support to individuals. It also offers psychosocial support to help detainees cope with the challenges of confinement. Through its engagement with competent authorities, the Greek Red Cross strives to improve the overall well-being and treatment of detained migrants.

Volunteer Opportunities

The Greek Red Cross offers various volunteer opportunities for those interested in supporting its mission. To volunteer with the Greek Red Cross, individuals can visit the organization’s website or contact their local Red Cross chapter. The organization relies on the generosity of volunteers to support its humanitarian work and is committed to using donations and funds responsibly and effectively to help those in need.

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