Hi, my name is Ahmed and I am an International Red Crescent volunteer in Syria. Many people don’t know but as the symbolism of the cross is used in countries with a Christian history, so we in the Muslim world use the symbolism of the Crescent to signify the ideals of the IRC in a way understandable for our culture and religion.
I became a volunteer with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent before the terrible conflict which plagues my country now. In those days it was kind of fun and not very stressful. I was young and we helped people and worked hard but we never saw danger and death around us.
Life changes so fast
It was in 2011. that all the trouble started and escalated so quickly it was hard to believe. Suddenly the Red Crescent was in the middle of a horrible civil war that got worst every day. Soon starving and sick people were coming in from all over the country, looking for help. Help that we as a national organization were not equipped to give in the extent that it was needed. We were low on everything, food, medicine, surgical equipment even water was in short supply.
Thankfully the Red Cross and Red Crescent are international organization committed to helping each other all over the world. A terrible war as in my country is the time for such an organization to show the strength of its principles and commitment. And show we did. Help was pouring in from all over the world, in equipment, manpower, and materials.
This helped us so much but we were still missing a lot of manpower and trained volunteers. The chaos had taken root. Many of my friends were called to the army, some rebelled against the president, some even joined ISIS. I was glad I had the opportunity to help people and not to shoot them, on any side.
When saving lives – no task is unimportant
I wanted to be close to danger, where I thought was the only place I could help as much as I felt I had to. But it was not for me to decide where I would be sent to help. My national Crescent sent me to a warehouse. Imagine my disappointment! There were people dying every day and was to be stuck in some warehouse where I couldn’t help. But I was so wrong in thinking that.
It was one of the key warehouses from which the aid got through to the operational centers in the field. Good management and round-the-clock work were essential. There were tons of supplies, shipping, exploration dates and other details to worry about, that I put in 18 hour days to keep it all together. And there was a war on too.
In the chaos of all that something wonderful happened to me, I met my wife Amalia, and after a year counting on each other professionally, we counted on each other emotionally and got married. It was in that same warehouse because we couldn’t find free time to organize the event in any other way. And so I learned that you can help in so many different ways, and good things will come from helping others any way you can.