By Faranak Bakhtiari

THANK YOU volunteers

December 5, 2020 - 18:38

TEHRAN – Volunteers are dedicated to building a better global community; they are always at the forefront to fight against bad events without any expectations, even during the coronavirus pandemic, they made great efforts which needs to be appreciated more than ever.

Over the last months, as the epidemic has ravaged across the world, volunteers have been at the forefront of medical, community, and societal responses. Headlines in the world’s media have paid credit to volunteers for all kinds of work, from helping to provide medical care, to doing shopping for vulnerable neighbors, or checking up on elderly people living alone.

International Volunteer Day (IVD) mandated by the UN General Assembly, is held each year on December 5. It is viewed as a unique chance for volunteers and organizations to celebrate their efforts, to share their values, and to promote their work.

This year's IVD campaign thanks volunteers worldwide and also shed light on the difficulties and needs of volunteers during the pandemic with the message "Together We Can Through Volunteering."

IRCS Volunteer Organization

In Iran, the Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS), which was established in 1922, is one of the first and oldest members of the movement and is currently one of the top five societies in the world due to its significant activities in the national and international arenas.

In 2005, the IRCS received the Henry Davison Award for outstanding humanitarian services, and the IRCS initiative of volunteers was selected as the best project (out of 50 projects from 45 national societies), by the General Assembly of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

The IRCS Volunteer Organization takes a set of coherent and organized actions that are done with the help and support of volunteers according to the needs of the disadvantaged areas and villages to meet the main needs of the community.

In addition to offering services to the victims of natural disasters in the country, it has taken numerous missions in international disasters and incidents helping the people of Afghanistan, Palestine, Iraq, Southeast Asia earthquake, Lebanon, Gaza, Somalia, and Yemen.

In case of natural disasters or for provision of medical services to the deprived, it dispatches medical teams, which consist of doctors, paramedics, nurses, social workers, and health experts who are sent to provide free health care to disadvantaged areas and villages identified and assessed by other volunteer groups.

In order to achieve humanitarian goals, on special occasions with the cooperation of donors and philanthropists prepares food packages and distribute among families in need.

Since a joint memorandum of understanding was signed between the Red Crescent Society with the Blood Transfusion Organization years ago, the IRCS volunteer organization has contributed to donate an average of 10 percent of the blood required by the country annually.

At the beginning of each Iranian school year (September 23), volunteers and donors support underprivileged students by providing free medical services, and packages consisting of stationery and health-protective items.

A program is also launched by this organization which aimed at supporting patients suffering from incurable diseases, providing part of the medical and living expenses of patients and families.

The IRCS also launched a campaign three times to solicit public donations to ease water stress in drought-stricken provinces of the country, to provide their water from tank trucks delivering water to the areas.

The campaign, called Nazr-e Ab (literally meaning water donation), was launched 2 years ago, following the drought crisis in the southern and southeastern provinces of the country, with the aim of supplying fresh water to deprived areas with the help of the people and the IRCS.

Moreover, the Volunteer Organization has so far implemented numerous public calls for donations in favor of the victims of natural accidents, in addition to providing services in emergencies and incidents.

Volunteer efforts in light of pandemic

In the fight against coronavirus, the IRCS, along with the Ministry of Health and other responsible organizations, has undertaken important activities, from rapid diagnosis and screening to providing medical services and shelter, but the most important activity of this population has been informing the public about healthcare and treatment.

Since the onset of the outbreak, more than 980 voluntary plans and projects to contain the epidemic has been implemented across the country, with 72,694 volunteers participating in the implementation of these projects, Karim Hemmati, the head of the Iranian Red Crescent Society said in May.

The first phase of public donations was allocated to provide health and essential items for the deprived and unprivileged areas, and besides, 500,000 patients suffering special diseases were provided with essential health items, he stated.

Through the second phase, the IRCS, to provide medical items for COVID-19 patients in hospitals, purchased 100 ventilators worth approximately 160 billion rials (around $3.8 million), 52 devices have been provided with the help of charities and public participation, he added.

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