20 May, 2023
Special day for Red Cross on founder’s birthday
Gilgandra Red Cross are holding a very special morning tea next week.
is because, each year, this date is marked
as “World Red Cross Red Crecent Day”,
by the the International Red Cross and
Red Crescent Movement.
The Day is designed to highlight the
role of the organisation and its staff and
volunteers in saving lives and assisting
vulnerable communities around the
The day was chosen for that of the
birthday of the group’s founder, Henri
The Red Cross actually came into
being one afternoon in 1859 in northern
Italy, when a Swiss banker, Henri
Dunant, carried-out what we would now
regard as the first Red Cross action in
caring for the wounded.
Dunant had arrived at Solferino in
northern Italy the day of a fierce battle,
and saw 40,000 men lying dead, dying,
or injured where they had fallen.
As the respective armies’ medical
corps were overwhelmed and able to
assist only a very few, Dunant knew that
something had to be done to alleviate the
terrible suffering he was witnessing.
He organised local civilians and the
women from the nearby town of
Catiglione to care for the wounded and to
care firstly for those most in need,
regardless of rank or nationality which,
in those days, was a most unusual step.
He thus carried out his work in an
impartial and neutral manner.
This experience spurred Dunant on to
try to think of a way to train volunteer
medical teams during peace-time so that,
during wars, they would be available to
care for the wounded.
The Geneva Public Welfare Society
then took an interest in Durant’s idea,
and set-up a committee to look at ways to
put the idea into action.
It was called the “Committee of Five”
and consisted of Henry Dunant, plus four
This committee organised an international
diplomatic conference in Geneva,
where initially 12 countries signed the
historic first Geneva Convention, which
is now the basis of Red Cross in action in
And this is why, some 160 years after the Battle of Solferino, Henri’s simple act of kindness led to there being a Red Cross or Red Crescent Society in 192 countries across the globe today.