Singapore Red Cross



The Singapore Red Cross (SRC) is a humanitarian organisation that provides assistance through relief operations in both local and international arenas in times of disaster. SRC also provides health and welfare services to the sick, afflicted and aged, regardless of race, religion or political affiliation.1 The organisation hosts and organises various programmes, initiatives and activities to advance its diverse humanitarian efforts. Even though SRC is a part of the world-wide Red Cross Movement, it is a fully independent local organisation that raises its own funds for its operations.2

Background
The Red Cross Movement was founded by a Swiss national named Henri Dunant. Following the Battle of Solferino in northern Italy on 24 June 1859, Dunant mobilised the local civilian population to assist the scores of wounded soldiers lying on the battlefield, irrespective of their allegiances. Dunant followed up on his efforts to provide non-discriminatory aid on the battlefield by forming the Red Cross on 9 February 1863. Dunant’s birth date, 8 May 1828, would later be designated as World Red Cross Day.3

The Singapore branch of the British Red Cross was founded on 30 September 1949.4 On 1 July 1965, it became a branch of the Malaysian Red Cross. After Singapore separated from Malaysia on 9 August 1965, the SRC began taking steps to be incorporated as a national society.5 This came with the passing of the Singapore Red Cross Society Act on 6 April 1973.6 The SRC was officially recognised as the 119th member of the International Red Cross Community in October 1973.7

In 1977, the Red Cross Society Act was amended to enable the president of Singapore to relinquish his role as president of the SRC. Nonetheless, the president remains the patron of the SRC and retains the authority to appoint the organisation’s chairman.8


In the late 1990s, the SRC began to adopt a more rigorous and comprehensive humanitarian role by expanding its health and welfare services locally and increasing its participation in relief operations overseas.9

Management
The SRC is governed by a council consisting of 19 members and headed by a chairman appointed by the president of Singapore. The role of the council is to ensure that the SRC carries out its activities according to the objectives stated in the Red Cross Society Act and the SRC’s constitution.10 Dr W. J. Vickers was the first chairman of SRC when it was still a branch of the British Red Cross.11 After the SRC became a national organisation in 1973, Dr W. R. Rasanayagam was appointed as its first chairman.12 The current chairman of the SRC is Tee Tua Ba, who assumed the role in 2008.13

The day-to-day administration of the SRC comes under a management committee headed by a secretary general/chief executive officer, who is also in charge of a secretariat that implements the policies and directives issued by the council. The secretariat comprises three divisions, namely Operations, Resources and the Red Cross Youth (RCY). The planning, organisation and execution of programmes under these divisions are carried out by the volunteer corps of the SRC.14

Volunteers and funds
The SRC is a volunteer-based organisation. Adult volunteers are assigned to the various SRC humanitarian services based on their interests while youth volunteers come under the Links, Cadets and Chapters sections of the RCY. In 2012, the total number of SRC volunteers was around 4,500.15

The SRC receives funds from both the public and the government. The Red Cross International Bazaar is one of the key fundraising events of the SRC and involves stalls and performances put up by various diplomatic missions, civic groups as well as local and international enterprises.16

Apart from having its accounts checked by auditing firm KPMG, the SRC has taken further steps to ensure good corporate practice. An internal check on its accounts in 2010 unearthed evidence which suggested that an administrative assistant with the finance department had misappropriated some S$90,000. The SRC tightened its regulatory processes following this incident.17

Roles, functions and services
Disaster relief
The SRC has provided relief to victims of natural disasters and conflicts in foreign countries in the form of funds raised through public donations and relief supplies. The SRC has also provided volunteers to assist in post-crisis reconstruction efforts. Recent relief operations carried out by the SRC include those for the victims of the Pakistan floods in 2010, the Japan earthquake and tsunami disaster in 2011, and the Christchurch earthquake in 2011.18

Community services
Domestically, the SRC provides first-aid support for national and community events as well as civil and national emergencies. SRC first-aiders patrol East Coast Park weekly on bicycles to render first-aid to those who require it.19

In addition, the SRC provides care for the disabled through the Red Cross Home for the Disabled (RCHD) located at Lengkok Bahru. The RCHD can trace its origins to the Red Cross Home for the Crippled Children set up in 1959 to care for disabled children. This children’s shelter eventually became the RCHD in 1988 and now provides long-term residential care to individuals of all ages, in particular those with severe neuro-muscular and cognitive disabilities.20


The SRC also runs other initiatives to help the disadvantaged segments of society. One of these is Project R.I.C.E, which is a nation-wide effort driven by SRC youth volunteers to collect rice and distribute them to the needy.21 Another SRC initiative is Transport Aid, which provides free transport services to the old and impoverished who require life-sustaining treatments.22

First-aid training
The SRC runs two academies that conduct first-aid courses at a subsidised cost to the public. The courses are conducted by fully certified and experienced first-aid staff and trained volunteers. The first-aid academy at Atrium@Orchard also runs courses on humanitarian intervention and international humanitarian law. These training programmes are part of the SRC’s efforts towards achieving the national objective of having “a first aider in every home”.23

Blood-donation programme
The SRC became the national organisation in charge of blood donation drives in Singapore after it was given the role of National Blood Donor Recruiter in 2001. The SRC works closely with the Blood Services Group of the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) to ensure that there is a sufficient supply of blood to meet the daily transfusion needs of all hospitals in Singapore. The SRC also regularly conducts programmes to encourage members of the public to become blood donors and bloodmobile organisers.24



Author

Terence Foo



References
1. S'pore Red Cross: Aims and efforts. (2008, December 27). The Straits Times, p. 45. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
2. Singapore Red Cross Society. (2013). Mission & Vision. Retrieved from Singapore Red Cross Society website: http://www.redcross.org.sg/articles/mission-vision
3. Salma Khalik. (1999, May 8). Singapore Red Cross wants to widen role. The Straits Times, p. 51. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Kogan, M. (1999, May 5). One man's dream. The Straits Times, p. 45. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Yeo, T. J. (1967, May 8). S’pore observes the annual event as national body. The Straits Times, p. 12. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
4. Red Cross branch inaugurated. (1949, October 1). The Straits Times, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Singapore Red Cross Society. (2013). Mission & Vision. Retrieved from Singapore Red Cross Society website: http://www.redcross.org.sg/articles/mission-vision; Singapore Red Cross Society. (2013). Our Governance. Annual Report 2012, 12. Retrieved from Singapore Red Cross Society website: http://www.redcross.org.sg/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Annual-Report-2012-Part-1.pdf; Tan, J. (2011, July 31). A reformer and star performer. The Sunday Times. Retrieved from Factiva.
5. Yeo, T. J. (1967, May 8). S’pore observes the annual event as national body. The Straits Times, p. 12. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
6. Singapore Red Cross Society. (2013). Mission & Vision. Retrieved from Singapore Red Cross Society website: http://www.redcross.org.sg/articles/mission-vision; Singapore Red Cross Society. (2013). Our Governance. Annual Report 2012, 12. Retrieved from Singapore Red Cross Society website: http://www.redcross.org.sg/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Annual-Report-2012-Part-1.pdf; Tan, J. (2011, July 31). A reformer and star performer. The Sunday Times. Retrieved from Factiva.
7. 119th member. (1973, October 6). The Straits Times, p. 11. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
8. Red Cross Society: New Bill. (1977, June 2). The Straits Times, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
9. Salma Khalik. (1999, May 8). Singapore Red Cross wants to widen role. The Straits Times, p. 51. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
10. Singapore Red Cross Society. (2013). Mission & Vision. Retrieved from Singapore Red Cross Society website: http://www.redcross.org.sg/articles/mission-vision; Singapore Red Cross Society. (2013). Our Governance. Annual Report 2012, 12. Retrieved from Singapore Red Cross Society website: http://www.redcross.org.sg/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Annual-Report-2012-Part-1.pdf
11. Red Cross branch inaugurated. (1949, October 1). The Straits Times, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
12. Red Cross now statutory body. (1973, May 18). The Straits Times, p. 17. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
13. Tan, T. (2008, December 19). Red Cross gets new chairman. The Straits Times, p. 61. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Tan, J. (2011, July 31). A reformer and star performer. The Sunday Times. Retrieved from Factiva.
14. Singapore Red Cross Society. (2013). Mission & Vision. Retrieved from Singapore Red Cross Society website: http://www.redcross.org.sg/articles/mission-vision
15. Singapore Red Cross Society. (2013). Annual Report 2012- Part 1, 11, 19. Retrieved from Singapore Red Cross Society website: http://www.redcross.org.sg/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Annual-Report-2012-Part-1.pdf
16. Singapore Red Cross Society. (2012, September 25). International Bazaar 2012 – Experience the world with Singapore Red Cross [Press release]. Retrieved from Singapore Red Cross Society website: http://www.redcross.org.sg/press_releases/international-bazaar-2012-experience-the-world-with-singapore-red-cross/; Red Cross International Bazaar 2012. (2012). Red Cross News, 3, 4–5. Retrieved from Singapore Red Cross Society website: http://www.redcross.org.sg/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/SRC_NL3-2012_2jan_low.pdf
17. Singapore Red Cross reports woman for pocketing $90,000. (2010, December 7). AsiaOne News. Retrieved from AsiaOne News website: http://www.asiaone.com/News/AsiaOne+News/Singapore/Story/A1Story20101207-251158.html
18. Singapore Red Cross Society. (2013). Past Projects. Retrieved from Singapore red Cross Society website: http://www.redcross.org.sg/articles/past-projects
19. Singapore Red Cross Society. (2013). Community Services – Community First Aid. Retrieved from Singapore Red Cross Society website: http://www.redcross.org.sg/articles/community-first-aid.
20. Singapore Red Cross Society. (2013). Community Services – Red Cross Home for the Disabled. Retrieved from Singapore Red Cross Society website: http://www.redcross.org.sg/articles/red-cross-home-for-the-disabled; Singapore Red Cross Society. (2011, July 11). Red Cross opens home for the disabled at family link @ Lengkok Bahru. [Press release]. Retrieved from Singapore Red Cross Society website: http://www.redcross.sg/press_releases/red-cross-opens-home-for-the-disabled-at-family-link-lengkok-bahru/; Tan, J. (2011, July 31). A reformer and star performer. The Sunday Times. Retrieved from Factiva.
21. Singapore Red Cross Society. (2013). Events Listing – Project R.I.C.E 2013. Retrieved from Singapore Red Cross Society website: http://www.redcross.org.sg/events/project-r-i-c-e-2013
22. Singapore Red Cross Society. (2013). Community Services – Transport Aid. Retrieved from Singapore Red Cross Society website: http://www.redcross.org.sg/articles/transport-aid; Leong, D. (2012). A service that made the difference. Red Cross News, 3, 16. Retrieved from Singapore Red Cross Society website: http://www.redcross.org.sg/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/SRC_NL3-2012_2jan_low.pdf
23. Salma Khalik. (1999, May 8). Singapore Red Cross wants to widen role. The Straits Times, p. 51. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Singapore Red Cross Society. (2012, October 11). Opening of Singapore Red Cross Academy @ Atrium [Press release]. Retrieved from Singapore Red Cross Society website: http://www.redcross.org.sg/press_releases/opening-of-singapore-red-cross-academy-atrium/; Singapore Red Cross Society. (2013). First Aid – Red Cross Academy. Retrieved from Singapore Red Cross Society website: http://www.redcross.org.sg/articles/red-cross-academy; Multiplying the power of human for community. (2012). Red Cross News, 3, 14–15. Retrieved from Singapore Red Cross Society website: http://www.redcross.org.sg/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/SRC_NL3-2012_2jan_low.pdf
24. Singapore Red Cross Society. (2013). Blood Donation – Blood Donor Recruitment Programme. Retrieved from Singapore Red Cross Society website: http://www.redcross.org.sg/articles/blood-donor-recruitment-programme; Singapore Red Cross Society. (2012, June 16). More Than 1,600 Blood Donors Recognised As Heroes [Press Release]. Retrieved from Red Cross Society website: http://www.redcross.org.sg/press_releases/more-than-1600-blood-donors-recognized-as-heroes; Tan, J. (2011, July 31). A reformer and star performer. The Sunday Times. Retrieved from Factiva.



The information in this article is valid as at 20 June 2013 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further resources on the topic.

 

Subject
Humanitarian aid
Associations, institutions, etc.--Singapore

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