Almost in every century, every nation there is war in this world. We can not count anymore how much sadness, injury, pain, sorrow, dread that they get. But with International Red Cross many souls can be helped. Red Cross decreases their injuries, their pain and their sorrow with love. And all of that started, was inspired by Jean Henry Dunant.
Jean Henry Dunant was born in Geneva, Switzerland on 8th May, 1828. His father was Jean Jacques Dunant and his mother was Antoinette Dunant Colladon. Dunant came from a rich Calvinist family. Dunant’s parents were active as social workers. They helped orphans, parolees and many other unfortunate people. Following his parents, Dunant started his social activity since he was young by joining the Geneva Society for Alms giving.
Then, how did Dunant form the Red Cross? What made him inspired to form the Red Cross?
On 24th June, 1859 Dunant arrived in Solferino, North Italy to visit France Caesar, Napoleon III. At that time Solferino was in a bad war, Italian and French soldiers versus Austrian soldiers. About 40,000 people were injured, dying and dead. Trembling with that condition, Dunant worked together with local civilians, especially women and girls, to provide assistance for the injured and sick soldiers. Dunant, with his own money, made temporary hospitals and bought needed materials. Back in Geneva, Dunant wrote a book about his experience in Solferino. The title of that book was “A Memory of Solferino” (Un Souvenir de Solferino). In this book, Dunant filed two opinions, first about making an international organization to help injured soldiers in war. Second, he promoted an international agreement to protect injured soldiers and for volunteers in war. In 1863, four Geneva civilians with Dunant formed the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
In 1901, the first Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Dunant as the founder of Red Cross. One of the officials gave a commentary about Dunant: “There is no man who more deserves this honour, for it was you, forty years ago, who set on foot the international organization for the relief of the wounded on the battlefield. Without you, the Red Cross, the supreme humanitarian achievement of the nineteenth century would probably have never been undertaken.” After that, Dunant lived in the nursing home at Heiden (Canton of Appenzell, Switzerland) until his death. Dunant died on 30th October, 1910 at ten at night. According to his wish, he donated the prize money and his funds all for charity.
Nowadays, the Red Cross has already spread all over the world, including in my country, Indonesia. Red Cross in Indonesia works especially in gathering blood and distributing it to everyone who needs it. And I am very thankful to Red Cross that distributed some packs of blood when my mother was infected with Dengue (DBD). Without Henry Dunant, there would not be Red Cross organization. Without Red Cross, there might be still a million injured people who would not have been helped. So for me, Henry Dunant and Red Cross is very important. This organization not only supplies much assistance for many people, but also invites us to participate together in helping another.