Volunteers have been the backbone of the Red Cross Movement since its birth in 1863 and the organisation currently has around 12 million active volunteers.
They are central to all activities of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, contributing to the success of its National Societies and assisting millions of vulnerable people in times of greatest need.
This year’s volunteer day theme, “volunteers build resilient communities”, acknowledged the vital role of volunteers in preventing, preparing and responding to disasters and building resilience within their communities.
In the Cook Islands, core volunteers are based in the Pa Enua communities.
A spokesperson for the organisation said these Red Cross branches are run by dedicated volunteers who build resilience within their communities as a result of providing First Aid training, water and sanitation hygiene (WASH) awareness through programmes at schools, community health agendas and disaster preparedness and response training.
Cook Islands Red Cross volunteers and school students who have completed a number of disaster preparedness training sessions in household assessments, First Aid, logistics. They will have the opportunity to test their disaster response skills on December 13th with an emergency response exercise designed as a refresher for volunteers.
“Volunteer work is different from paid work, the spokesperson said. “They have a strong personal motivation, work part-time and most people only volunteer a few hours each week.
“Volunteers are local and are part of the community, they understand the needs and resources in society because they are already there.”