The Birth
   Alleviating suffering, in war and in peace
The vision of humane society caring for in need, regardless of race, colour of creed
first took form in the mind of Henri Dunant more than 125 years ago.
Dunant was 31 when he came upon the scene of a great battle while travelling through Italy.
It was the battle of Solferino.
The Slaughter, the suffering and anguish of the wounded and maimed,
the sorry plight of prisoners of war moved Dunant deeply.
Finding a lack of medical assistance, he set to work with the help of village women and children.
Some, when faced with wounded enemy soldiers, were reluctant to help.
But Dunant implored them, saying in Italian "tutti fratteli", which means "all men are brothers".
Three years later, Dunant published his famous book "A Memory of Solferino".
In this, he asked if it was not possible to form a voluntary society to care for the victims of war.
His idea spread throughout Europe and quickly gained the support of some prominent Swiss citizens.
This was the famous "Committee of Five", the founders of the Red Cross
who later formed the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Although the Red Cross was born out of the anguish and suffering of war,
it was soon realised that such a movement could also play an equally important role in times of peace.

                                                                             Serving around the world

Soon after World War 1, the league of Red Cross Societies was formed in Paris
to assist in the improvement of health, prevention of disease, and relief from suffering in peace and in war.
Today, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent movement is at work in 149 countries.
The emblem of the Red Cross and Red Crescent is universally recognised as a pledge of neutrality and impartiality. More important, it stands as a beacon of hope and solace in times of unrest, disaster and emergencies.
That it has come to mean as such is not by chance.
It owes itself to the great humanitarian spirit of Henri Dunant and
the millions of people around the world who believe in it.