It is not the first time that I am asked this question. But why is it always so difficult to answer? Is it because we think it might be boring to the person asking the question? Is it because we do so much on a daily basis that we cannot really quickly sum up what it is that we do? Or is it simply because we have no time to think about and realize how much we do every day?
Yesterday I was confronted with this question yet again. I was almost done with all the articles for this newsletter, but still one article short. Really? My segment was called “How do we Help”. Coincidence or an opportunity? So this is the first time, I am just writing from my personal perspective, and not as the editor of the quarterly newsletter we call “The Nightingale”. This is me, Indra Anthony-Pereira, Operations & Marketing Manager of the Red Cross for the past seven years.
The Red Cross I joined in 2009 has since grown so much that it is sometimes difficult to keep up with. Growing means a lot of different things. We grew in volunteers, in buildings, in vehicles as well as in equipment. However, this growth also means more work, more classes, more training, more projects etc.
To make all this growth possible, one of the most important things, the backbone of it all, is fundraising.
Fundraising becomes a key issue during our daily operations, whether it involves placing or picking up one of our many donation boxes, marketing our courses or offering our first aid assistance services for the many events taking place on Aruba. We also count on a few strategic partners who sponsor on an annual basis and we are always looking for new ones to join the Red Cross family. Furthermore, we stay in touch with our association members, by keeping them informed of our activities through this newsletter or through social media. We also have annual fundraising events and collect monthly donations from Red Cross members.
We have projects for specific target groups, such as our First Aid for Children (FACT) camp, our activities for the Elderly Group every other month and our truck parade for the disabled every November. We also provide social assistance to those who need us, we organize food drives, we have a fully-functional emergency home and we have a thrift shop. Maybe now you understand that there is no way we can sum up all that we do in 2 minutes…
For the sake of better understanding, a bit about our organization. Red Cross Aruba was officially established on October 31, 1957 and is affiliated with the Netherlands Red Cross, and the International Federation of Red Cross & Red Crescent Societies. The main goal of the Red Cross is to provide humanitarian assistance where needed. So, our business is to alleviate human suffering amongst the most vulnerable regardless of race, creed, nationality, religion or political belief of the recipients and without adverse distinction of any kind. We are a non-profit organization with more than a hundred volunteers, a Board and a management.
When I started working at the Red Cross Aruba seven years ago, I had no idea how much impact the Red Cross has on our community. It is an organization that works behind the screens most of the time. Sometimes that is a challenge for me, as my marketing instincts tell me to expose, boost and promote! I have learned when to do that and when not to. It is especially difficult because I am proud of our volunteers, proud of what they accomplish and of how selflessly they help others. I want to tell the world and let them know what wonderful work our people do. I want to let everybody know when our volunteers close yet another case successfully…… but still I cannot share it with you.
I know in my heart what we stand for and what we achieve and I realize how blessed I am to be involved in everything this organization accomplishes. It is a never-ending learning experience.