Malawi President Joyce Banda on Tuesday inaugurated the annual Red Cross flag week with a call on people and organizations to come forward and support the Malawi Red Cross to continue carrying out humanitarian services across the country.
Speaking at State Lodge in Lilongwe, President Banda who is also patron of the Red Cross Society said the importance of Red Cross cannot be over emphasized as it acts as an auxiliary to government to provide humanitarian and other services during times of emergencies and disasters.
“I have personally been involved with Red Cross in one of their projects in Neno where they distributed mosquito nets, I can attest that their interventions among the people of this country go a long way helping in poverty and human suffering,” said the Malawi leader.
The flag week is commemorated under the theme ‘Youth on the move’ which President Banda said is important to the country that has seen rise in population of young people.
“We have a lot of young people in the country; we have to encourage them in humanitarian services to use their skills and energy,” she said.
President Banda donated 1.5Million Kwacha to the Red Cross to support the cause of alleviating poverty.
President of The Malawi Red Cross Society, Levison Changole, said Red Cross is the biggest humanitarian organization in the country with 80 years experience which has helped a lot of people including the relocation of over six thousand from flood prone areas to safer uplands in Nsanje.
Changole said the organization has helped restore human dignity by bringing hope and optimism to those in total desperation and hopelessness.
“For the 80 years that Red Cross has been in Malawi, we have been able to reach a lot of people that are suffering, adding that over 500 orphans and vulnerable children are helped from all over the country,” said Chingole.
On the challenges that they face, the Red Cross president said lack of resources continues to hamper their service delivery.
“We used to receive funding from parliament until 1993 when government stopped the funding,” he said adding that this has derailed their programs are they are unable to help more people as they rely much on donors and well wishers.
He has since asked the President to consider government to fund the organization to ensure that a lot of people benefit from it.
Flag week is an annual event that takes place all over the world. Red Cross members and Red Crescent movement members, volunteers receive donation from the public to help the less privileged, and coincides with the birthday of the founder Swiss national, Henry Dunant.