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Stories of Life

Stories of inspiration, strength and kindness from around the world. Meet our volunteers, aid workers, staff and the people they support through tough times.

Abdalla - Nigeria

After two attacks on his community, Abdalla lost his son, home and livelihood; but he survived.

Abdel - Greece

“I used to have a toy shop in Damascus. Making children smile as I help the doctors with vaccinations makes me happy while I'm here.”

Adam - New South Wales

Adam has farming in his blood. But with a drought hitting hard he is worried what the future holds.

Agaba Derrick - Uganda

Agaba Derrick uses science to save lives. “If the refugees can't have clean water then life will not be good for them,” he says.

Ahmad - India

“I’m volunteering for humanity because I want to serve my community,” says Ahmad (37).

Ali - Syria

Brothers don’t get much better than four-year-old Ali.

Amanda - Australia

“I hadn’t dreamt of becoming a nurse. I hadn’t pictured myself dressing wounds by lamplight with a little red cross embroidered over my heart.

Andrew became a Red Cross volunteer after moving to Australia from Philipines.

Andrew - Western Australia

“When we moved here, it was a big change. Our family back home is very close but we didn’t know anyone here ...

Anton - Australia

"The change I had was through sport, through boxing, stick fighting and kick boxing."

Arnesta - South Sudan

“Some people really like the drama and they come up to us to tell us that they want to change their behaviour after watching the performance."

Aung - Bangladesh

Aung lost his crop-growing land after hundreds of thousands people fleeing violence in Myanmar started pouring across the border into Bangladesh.

Ayuen - South Sudan

“There’s nothing that men can do that women can’t do."

Barnabe - Democratic Republic of the Congo

Barnabe, who surely has one of the toughest gigs around, has many reasons to smile this week.

Benildo - Mozambique

"People are very traumatised, they have lost everything. I went out immediately to save people and I brought them home to safety."

Bob - Queensland

“My first memories as a child was my mum and dad operating a young drop-in space in the city during the 50s and 60s …

Carmen - South Australia

“One Friday afternoon I saw an Anangu man in a wheelchair with a busted tyre, outside the office,” says Carmen.

Cesarina - South Sudan

Meet Cesarina, we call her ‘Mama Federation’ and she surely has Red Cross in her veins.

Cheenee - Philippines

“Even kids need to be prepared. If they know how to give first aid and what to do when there’s a typhoon ...

Christina - South Sudan

Christina, one of our brave volunteers in South Sudan, teaches people how to maintain hygiene in difficult conditions.

Christine - Lebanon

“I’ve chosen to be a nurse because it means giving hope to patients.”

Conrad - Uganda

"When we arrived there was nothing here, just mud …

Denise - Bangladesh

It’s the human moments that make all the difference.

Dr Abdilahi - Somaliland

Somaliland’s no longer in the grip of a life-threatening cholera outbreak thanks to the hard work of people like Dr Abdillahi.

Dylan - Northern Territory

Dylan Lewis lost two of his footy team members to suicide.

Elizabeth - South Sudan

"I joined the Red Cross in order to help my people. We need to have humanity in our hearts.”

Elsin - Nigeria

Elsin has her sights set on a brighter future. “I want to become a doctor one day."

Enoch - Vanuatu

“The noise when it blew it shook the whole house. We ran out, we saw the volcano blowing, the mountain was very red."

Erwin - Philippines

“Everything was flattened. There was nothing left save for the shells of a few concrete buildings."

Evgenii - Ukraine

When Evgenii, a former soldier, returned home from the conflict in Ukraine’s east everything had changed.

Francesco - New York/Italy

”This criminalisation of compassion is extremely worrying and could undermine more than a century of humanitarian standards and norms."

Fudin - Indonesia

Fudin has had trouble sleeping at night ever since a series of massive earthquakes hit his village.

Gabriela - Mexico

“That day was desperation. The city collapsed." When a massive earthquake hit Central Mexico in September ...

Hakim - Bangladesh

“I came here 30 days ago, after eleven days of walking.”

Hannah-Rose - Australia

Musician, artist and Auslan student, Hannah-Rose is a woman of many talents

Hauwa - Nigeria

“To be a volunteer it is very good because you meet people from different backgrounds, different conditions."

Hawa - Nigeria

“Smiling alone cannot express how happy I am, because I have never received any help like this in my life.”

Heather - Northern Territory

“There’s damage everywhere. The thing that has really struck me is the level of destruction a category 2 cyclone can cause.”

Helen - Australia

Helen grew up in a family where volunteering was important, and it’s something she has been doing all her life.

Hemi - Queensland

This is Hemi, he's a bit of legend in our world.

Henry - South Sudan

"I was operated on for a hernia and when I survived I found this cap and felt that I deserved it."

Jack - Vanuatu

“We still think about Ambae, but we are too scared to go back.”

Jamie - Democratic Republic of Congo

“Understandably, people are scared. It’s an incredibly tough time for them and we are trying to keep them safe.”

Jess, a Red Cross humanitarian worker

Jess - Somalia

“The word famine is not used lightly," says aid worker Jess. She’s recently returned from East Africa ...

Joe - Iraq

Venturing into countries at war, aid worker Joe Cropp has many stories to tell. “I’m a humanitarian reporter and storyteller."

John Paul - Kenya

If resilience wears a human face, the chances are you’re looking at it. Meet John Paul, a farmer and father-of-five.

Jon - Mediterranean Sea

After three months working in Libya without pay, Jon wasn’t sure things could get worse. But they did.

Joy - Nigeria

“We called her Light because of how she has made us feel,” says Joy of her three-day-old baby girl.

Julia - Norway

“We think a lot about the families of the victims – that they get their loved ones home is the biggest driving force for us.”

Justo - Uganda

"Charlie Olara, my son, was my firstborn. He went missing in 1998."

Karabo - Lesotho

After her dad died and her mum left to find work, Karabo became a surrogate parent for her two younger sisters.

Kauy - Laos

“My father woke me and (we) went to my brother’s house … I was very sacred at the time.”

Krishanthy - Sri Lanka

“I had to learn how to stand on my own feet and take care of my young daughter."

Lena - Israel

“I constantly check my phone for alerts. Even at night."

Lenor - Mozambique

“Life has been very hard because of the drought … In this field, we cultivate it with our own hands, but it has yielded nothing ...

Lesley - Queensland

“I slept rough on the streets of Brisbane for three and a half months but I came off the streets a couple of years ago."

Libby - Somalia

Job description: six weeks in the Somalian heat, 16 hour days, no days off, limited water.

Lisa - Australia

“I’ve become a lot more confident. I have people I trust now,” says Lisa.

Louise - Queensland

Poppies, history and Red Cross are close to Louise’s heart. “I’m a history teacher and I’m particularly interested in World War One,” says our volunteer archivist.

Lucinda - Indonesia

“It’s difficult in this place. Here (we need) clean water, houses, light, roads.”

Madelena - South Sudan

"The Red Cross represents humanity to me," says Madelena, a volunteer at a Red Cross camp for displaced persons.

Madina - Afghanistan

“Despite all the challenges of my life, I remain hopeful.” Madina radiates confidence and her voice is certain, it’s easy to forget she is just 17.

Mark - Bangladesh

“I’ve lost count of how much trauma I have witnessed. It’s evident on people’s bodies and in their eyes ...

Mary - South Sudan

Becoming a mum is an event to celebrate but when you live in Yambio, South Sudan - not far from the border with Democratic Republic of the Congo - life is far from easy.

Mathias - Zimbabwe

“I feel it's hard to trust in nature anymore. The past three years have been so unpredictable."

Matt - Queensland

“What the brain can conceive and believe, you can achieve,” says Matt.

Merciana - Indonesia

Every day Merciana has to lug heavy containers of clean water home to her family.

Michael - South Sudan

Water is the source of life. Just ask Michael, who heads up Red Cross' South Sudan country office.

Michi - Bangladesh

Michi was born in a Red Cross hospital and works in a Red Cross hospital.

Mo Mo - Bangladesh

“My hope for my daughters is for them to feel safe, get educated, and live peacefully,” says Mo Mo, who fled violence in Myanmar nearly two years ago.

Mohammad - Philippines

Last May, armed clashes, lasting five months, broke out in Marawi City, where Mohammad lives.

Narayan - Nepal

Meet Ambulance Uncle — if disaster strikes this is the guy you want to have around. He has saved more than 115 people's lives.

Neville - Australia

“Life can be tough sometimes,” says Neville Jetta.

Nick - Queensland

Two years ago Nick dropped out of high school. “I just wanted to get to year 10 and drop out so I can do something else. Back then I didn’t care at all about passing or anything.”

Nikolay - Ukraine

These days a piercing silence sits over this ghost town, once home to some 300 families.

Nur - Bangladesh

“I want my children to get an education and serve their community like I am doing,” says Nur, a cyclone preparedness volunteer in the camps of Cox’s Bazar.

Nurnobi - Bangladesh

“People like me, who have been living in this camp for a long time, feel settled. But it’s painful to see new families arriving and to hear the sad things they have been through.”

Paek - Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

“I’m worried that if the drought continues just for a few more days the maize crops will be affected.”

Paraskevi - Greece

"When we were running from the fire, my grandson stopped and pointed at the house."

Paul - Queensland

“I come over if I’m lonely. I have someone to talk to and I do programs."

Pauline - South Australia

"I thought bushfires only happened to other people," says Pauline.

Peter - Western Australia

Sudan, Rwanda, Kyrgyzstan … Peter has been around.

Peter - Worldwide

“I've listened to men, women and children speak about the devastating impact of conflict and violence on their lives."

Ray - New South Wales

Some of Ray’s family thought it might be a good idea for him to move into a nursing home – but he had other plans.

Rhonda - South Australia

Rhonda is a volunteer who provides support for at-risk 10 to 17-year-olds when they are being interviewed by police.

Richard - Gaza

“I saw cleaners helping medics with patients. I saw management putting on tourniquets to stop people from bleeding to death.”

Rob - New South Wales

“Pretty proud, most farmers…they might think they might be a failure if they have to ask for help, so they are reluctant to do that."

Robert - Uganda

“These refugees are our neighbours and they're suffering, so I couldn't just sit there and do nothing.

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Changing lives by having a yarn

Robyne volunteers with our Teleyarn service.

Romm - Western Australia

“Neither of us were working. The house was trashed. A friend of ours took stock of our situation and organised a roster of people to volunteer to cook for us.”

Rosa - South Sudan

This is the first time Emmanuel has been able to hug his mum in a year and half.

Rosaria - Bangladesh

Rosaria is an aid worker running a men’s group in a simple open-plan bamboo and tarpaulin structure in a Bangladesh refugee camp.

Ruth - Australia

"You watch the news with almost your bags half packed. You're ready to go at the drop of a hat."

Sajid - Pakistan

"They commandeered our ambulance at gunpoint, loaded the body of their dead family member in it and forced us to drive them all over the city for at least five to six hours."

Senka - Bosnia and Herzegovina

“I talk with them, listen to what they’re saying and sometimes all they need is to be heard.”

Setara - Bangladesh

For single mum Setara a bamboo and tarpaulin shanty is home, for now at least.

Silvestre - Mozambique

Silvestre Chivite is blind and can’t see the day-to-day struggles of his community.

Sirwan - Greece

”I speak four languages,” says Sirwan. “So I help people register at the Red Cross clinic and let them know about vaccination campaigns.

Soe - Myanmar

Every neighbourhood needs someone like 18-year-old Soe. “I became a volunteer because I want to be able to help people ...

Sofi - Bangladesh

“I want to be a teacher when I grow up because I want to give education to kids and communities who don’t have it."

Portrait of Stanley

Stanley - Northern Territory

Mental health is a hard subject and one that is rarely spoken about. That’s why Stanley’s work is so important.

Stuart - Timor-Leste

If you’ve had to trek hours each day to find fresh, clean water, taking back home as much as you carry, you might already know Stuart.

Sy - Switzerland

“Numbers and figures will never tell the stories of a deprived child in a protracted crisis; of a child that grows up knowing nothing but war … ,” says Elhadj As Sy

Tabitha - Cook Islands

Red Cross' office administrator by day, eco-warrior by night, and on the weekends ...

Tabu - Uganda

"That's when the soldiers entered the town. Anyone they saw, they shot."

Teresita - Philippines

“My house was hit by falling coconut trees. We didn’t evacuate because we weren’t expecting the typhoon to be that strong."

Toni - Bangladesh

"This hospital is the pointy end of the stick. It's the only surgical hospital that runs 24/7," says our nurse, midwife & aid worker.

Tracy - Sierra Leone

Tracy spent weeks fighting the 'disease of love' in Sierra Leone.

Vernon - Queensland

“Nothing bad happened to me, I had the best loving parents ever …. I just loved everything about destroying myself.”

Willi - Queensland

Over the last week Willi has met dozens of people who have fled their homes because of flooding in Townsville.

Yonas - Ethiopia

Rivers have dried up, cattle are dying, crops haven’t been sown and people have used up whatever stockpiles of food they had.

Yorely - Peru

“I could not eat, but the day I did not get any food or medicine for my daughter, I decided to leave."

Youhana - South Sudan

Youhana is a man of many talents. “I had lived in a miserable condition, and when I became a volunteer, my objective was to support others not to suffer."

Zeki - Serbia

Dad-of-four Zeki built a gym in the woods to help fellow migrants stay healthy in their stressful situation.