The Junior Red Cross is the youth's branch of the Red Cross. Like the parent organisation, it is non-official, non-political, non-religious, non sectarian and international. It has been defined as "a movement for extending the peacetime work of Red Cross Societies so that school children may share in it for the sake of their own education in a broader humanitarian citizenship".

History

The Junior Red Cross has an interesting history. Strange as it my seem this world-wide organisation for teaching and fostering good citizenship and humanitarian service was born of that ghastly tragedy the great European War.

It was in the province of Quebec in Canada that the movement has its origin, for it was there in 1914 that children first participated in Red Cross work by making bandages, dressings and comforts for soldiers. The idea soon spread to the Canadian provinces the first Junior Red Cross charter issued by a national organisation being granted to the province of Sskatchewan in 1915. By this time the movement has begun to spread to Europe, but to America belongs the distinction of having made contribution to it in its initial stages and having obtained the first national Junior Red Cross charter. This was in 1917, when no less that eleven million school children in the United States were organised for such activities as providing dressings and comforts for soldiers, furniture for hospitals and clothing for refugee children in Europe.

On the conclusion of hostilities the question arose of continuing the Junior Red Cross in schools, its retention was warm advocated by educational authorities themselves who had watched with interest and approval its good effects on the minds and character of the children.

America's example was followed elsewhere and by 1920 the movement had become international since that time it has grown steadily both in size and in influence. To-day there are some 100 national sections of the Junior Red Cross in various countries all over the world with a membership of over eighty two million indeed, the number of "Juniors" exceeds the number of adult members of the Red Cross.

The Junior Red Cross Movement in India

The Indian Red Cross Society took up Junior Red Cross work in 1925. Junior Red Cross groups were first organised in the Punjab in 1926 where the ideals of the movement appealed strongly to the young Punjabis and the movement spread rapidly. The example of the Punjab was later followed by the United Provinces. C. R and Bearer Delhi. Maharashtra and other States. Total number of Junior Red Cross members in India at the end of 1987 was 56, 83, 998.

Like its parent body the Junior Red Cross too came into being to overcome human suffering wrought by wars. It originated in 1914, was formed in India in 1925 and came to Maharashtra the following year. The Junior Red Cross in Maharashtra covers 122 schools and 34 Youth Red Cross Groups.

Aims

The General Council of the League of Red Cross Societies has defined the aim of the Junior Red Cross in the following terms :

  • To inculcate in children the basic concept of health and hygiene
  • To imbue in youngsters the value of Social Service to the community
  • To bring about an intermingling of young people of different castes, creeds, religions, age and sex
  • To enc ourage various objectives which bring about national integration
  • To create an atmosphere of international understanding through pen friends, exchange of pictures and booklets of various countries, participating in international exhibitions and wherever possible sending representatives to international camps, seminars, etc.