Malawians should embrace the spirit of volunteerism at all levels of society if the country’s governance aspects are to benefit everyone, says President Arthur Peter Mutharika.
He was speaking on Friday at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe when he officially launched the 2016 Red Cross Flag Week.
Mutharika said Malawi and the world at large are in a better place today because of some of the work that humanitarian organizations like the Red Cross movement carried out among the communities.
The President said he was greatly pleased with the role that Malawi Red Cross Society was doing in improving lives of vulnerable people in the country despite its numerous challenges.
“Last year we experienced extensive flooding in a number of districts and Red Cross successfully supported the victims. However, I am informed that the Society is facing many financial challenges in carrying out its humanitarian work in the country.
“This is attributed mainly to two things: the world financial crisis that has affected most donors, and the withdrawal of government funding to the Malawi Red Cross Society in 1994.
“Let me therefore appeal to all Malawians, to please begin to volunteer your time, resources, or talents for charitable, educational, or other worthwhile activities, for the sake of others, for our umunthu,” the President said.
In his speech the President described volunteering as one sure way of serving humanity.
“ Volunteering is at the heart of governance and good citizenship. I therefore appeal to all Malawians, to please begin to volunteer your time, resources, or talents for charitable, educational, or other worthwhile activities, for the sake of others, for our umunthu. If we have many volunteers in our villages and towns, we will be responding better when there is need for intervention,” said President Mutharika who is Malawi Red Cross Society Patron.
He hailed Red Cross for its unceasing contribution to humanitarian endeavors since the year 1863.
The Red Cross, the world’s largest and oldest humanitarian organization, was founded in 1863 by a Geneva businessman, Henri Dunant, in response to the suffering of injured soldiers abandoned on the battlefield of Solferino in northern Italy.
Since then, it has grown to become the largest humanitarian organization in the world with millions of volunteers and employing thousands of workers across the world.
In Malawi Red Cross was formed as a national humanitarian society by Act of Parliament number 51 of 1966 and has over the years helped vulnerable societies mainly during natural disasters such as floods.
The theme for this year’s flag week is “Humanity everywhere for everyone”
Levison Changole, President of the Malawi Red Cross Society said the organization has been able to reach to over 1 million people where it has managed to build stronger communities through community based health care, water sanitation and hygiene, first aid as well as disaster risk management.
Changole said, if well supported, the organisation could go beyond the numbers and reach out to every needy Malawian.
“We are financially constrained but if we could be given enough resources am sure that we can go far and beyond,” he said.
The Red Cross President then appealed to the Malawi leader to direct government to resume annual subvention so that it can amicably responds to the national calamities and reach out to the needy.
Mutharika then assured that government will look into the matter.
President Mutharika – a long serving member of Red Cross himself-noted the challenges the organization is facing and called upon stakeholders to offer a helping hand.
The President kick-started the fundraising by donating to Red Cross K1 million. –Additional reporting by Solister Mogha, Mana
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