On the occasion of the 24th of June 2020,

A thought, a word,

to the leaders of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and to the volunteers of the Movement around the world.

One year ago, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies celebrated its 100th anniversary and the 160th anniversary of the Battle of Solferino.

The weather in Milan, Italy, was beautiful in June 2019 as the summer heat was beginning to be felt – together with the human warmth.

We arrived in Solferino. I remember it like it was yesterday. The welcome by the organisers and the radiant smiles of volunteers from all over the world, eager to meet each other. The leaders of the Federation, as well as of each branch of the Movement, seen with notorious humility.

The emotion of representing the Burundi Red Cross and participating with thousands of volunteers of the Movement in the Fiaccolata march. The opportunity to meet people you may only see once, but who remain in your heart. The unique experience of retracing the same journey of those who carried the wounded in the battle of Solferino in 1859, thinking of all the battles in which the Movement has already contributed to alleviating human suffering and those yet to come.

Sadly, this month of June 2020 Covid-19 is raging around the world, claiming victims and preventing us from being gathered in Solferino.

During this battle, which is not yet over, we, the volunteers, remain steadfast. I know that the inspiration of Henry Dunant in Solferino 161 years ago is still guiding all the volunteers of the Movement in meeting the needs of the most vulnerable today.

Let us always keep our torches burning so that the whole world can live the epidemic of Humanity and positive solidarity, celebrating the strength of being together even when physical distancing is necessary.

My sincere greetings to leaders, especially to Federation’s President Francesco Rocca, whom I had the chance to meet, and to all of the wonderful Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers whom I hope to see again one day again – who knows? In Solferino, in Burundi or somewhere else.

Let us now pass the torch around the world and celebrate, today more than ever, our shared humanity! Long live the Red Cross and Red Crescent!


Christine NTAHE
Burundi Red Cross Red volunteer
President of the RED CROSS Bujumbura Town Hall Branch
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