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The Red Cross is a volunteer association which is made up by people who spend their free time in helping those in need. There are thousands of volunteers in Italy and in the world, and all the people who take part in it are the force of the movement. The Red Cross acts both in time of peace and in war. The association is famous mainly for first aid and healthcare which provides health service, ambulance transport . However we are responsible for services and activities that a lot of people don’t know about , for example we look after old people, sick children and minority groups.The Italian Red Cross is divided by age groups : the over thirties are rescue volunteers which mainly take care of first aid, and the teenagers are “pioneers” . I’m 22 years old, so I’m a pioneer. The “ Pioneers “interact first of all with young people, but we also do other activities that are carried out to assist older people, refugees and homeless. We are open-minded and we are able to adapt to different situations, that’s why we are called “pioneers”. We are like people who climb a mountain reaching the top without knowing what’s at the end. We explore new places and we are the first to settle. Nevertheless it isn’t simple to help other people especially in our society where there are a lot of problems. Each volunteer must be trained in order to face problems in a professional way, and such training takes place at the training camps. Camps are really useful thanks to the instructors who are volunteers with lots of experience. They give us great advice and excellent material which we need to improve our knowledge. Camps are also important because we get the opportunity to meet lots of volunteers who come from different parts of Italy and in this way we can discuss and exchange experiences .For example, last winter was a very cold one, and as a consequence there were many homeless people who died for the severe temperature! So we made a project called “The Guardian Angels” which consisted in patrolling the roads in order to check out on them, and providing them with hot meals . In the last few years the number of homeless people is increasing as lots of people are loosing their jobs due to the recession, so they are left with no money at all, neither to pay rent, nor to buy food, so they find themselves living on the streets. However they are people like us, but they are alone. During patrols they asked us only for some covers and very often to keep them company: sometimes they just need only someone to talk to about their life, I think that behind their simple need there is the desire to regain their dignity which they lost living in the streets. I personally think that governments should provide more council houses for those in need. Up to now they are setting up only food distribution ,but it still isn’t enough! I think they should do more !However “The Guardian Angel” was a good project and we are all proud of it! In fact other Italian teams/groups are still using it! This is only an example and it isn’t simple to describe all our efforts we put in to make this project come true. It was a hard job, but no one felt the pressure because we all helped each other. We usually use the theory of the ”five fingers” of Verga (an Italian writer). Well in ” Malavoglia” he writes that family is like a hand: each member helps each other out, like every finger helps the other to do an action! It’s an interesting theory and I use it to explain what Red Cross is about. When some of us is in difficulty, we try to put our forces together to make people feel better! The Red Cross isn’t only a way through which you can help other people! It’s a lifestyle and all volunteers are a big family! In addition in the last months we are studying a project made by the English Red Cross that is called “talk it”. It’s a project aimed to help immigrants integrate . We live in a social contest where people are scared of who is different from the mass. For this reason they try to exclude them. By using the project we want to awaken public opinion to such social problems. I live in a city where most people are close-minded and where foreign people are considered differently. For example once I was on a bus and the driver didn’t stop at the bus stop because there were black people waiting. I still remember when I decided to become a pioneer. Well the site of the Red Cross in Rome was near my school and I used to see them every day, so I started to become curious about that world made up of people all dressed in red so I decided to join them. There is also another reason why I decided to join the Red Cross. Some years ago my brother was in hospital. I remember he was very scared about what could have happened to him. and of course we were all worried about his health too. But one day things got better as a group of clowns came to see my brother and all the children in his ward. These clowns were red cross volunteers who with their “red nose” and funny wags made the children forget for a while the reason for which they were in hospital through gifts and jokes. I was really impressed by the way the clowns acted although the situation was dramatic and difficult.
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