Polish Red Cross
00-950 - Warsaw
Annual Report 2013
Previous Annual Reports:
Annual Report 2011
Members of a Polish Red Cross rescue team after a railway accident in the Silesia region.
The Polish Red Cross is a National Society of the Republic of Poland, in keeping with the Geneva Conventions for the protection of war victims of August 12, 1949 (the Journal of Laws from 1992, No. 41, Item 171) and Additional Protocols to the aforementioned Conventions, from June 8, 1977 (the Journal of Laws of 1992, Nr. 41, Item 175).
The Polish Red Cross operates on the basis of the Polish Red Cross Act of November 16, 1964 (the Journal of Laws No. 41, Item 276), as well as of its Statutes enacted by the ordinance of the Council of Ministers of October 25, 2004 (the Journal of Laws No. 41, Item 2372).
The internal principles of functioning and detailed competences of the Society’s statutory bodies are defined by Regulations approved by the National Council of the Polish Red Cross Representatives.
The Fundamental Principles are well known in the Polish Red Cross and are applied throughout the country. The Federation Strategy 2020, as well as the Strategy of the Movement were translated and disseminated among members, volunteers and staff in the whole National Society. The Polish RC cooperates with several departments of the state administration within the scope of the goals and tasks set by the Movement. Polish RC branches cooperate with local administrative authorities, which commission them to execute tasks, mainly in the area of community relief.
The Polish RC covers the whole national territory. It has its headquarters in Warsaw, 16 district committees and 250 branch committees.
The Polish RC has its general program 2010-2013 and respective strategies. Each committee draws up an annual plan of action, taking into account the local situation. The common priority is providing assistance to the vulnerable, in particular to children.
The council of representatives meets twice a year and governs the society’s activities. It has 56 members, of whom 49 are from the regional committees. The 10-member central committee meets monthly. Councils of representatives and committees are at all levels. There are also commissions and councils at different levels.
Due to economic and social changes in the early 90s , the Polish Red Cross faced new problems in new circumstances. The system of financing social care institutions changed. Polish Red Cross was employing about 24,000 nurses to care for the sick at home, administering a number of medical and social care facilities and institutions. The changes in the system were required by the Act on social care, which brought huge difficulties regarding the organization’s functioning. Polish Red Cross nurses lost their jobs and persons under their care were left unattended. New problems appeared and additional activities became necessary.
Despite of all the modifications, the organization still provides social care services for about 13,000 bed-ridden. Polish Red Cross also manages 12 social care facilities, 6 night shelters and more than dozen of day centres for children. Every year it organizes holiday camps for about 10,000 children from destitute families.The social poverty area, as well as respective numbers of unemployed and homeless have increased. The number of underfed children in families, schools and educational institutions rose as well. Polish Red Cross tried to meet the community’s needs. It took part in bringing aid to the poverty-stricken in new ways, like the "We help the needy, be with us” campaign. It appealed to the generosity of the public, organizing the "Helping hand” campaign and seeking sponsorship to a number of charity actions.
Active since 1995, the Council of Polish Red Cross Ladies (created in accordance to the pre-war traditions) played an important and unique role in fundraising. PRC headquarters and branches spent a considerable amount of time and energy to seek out financial help for their activities at all organizational levels. Some of the activities ranging from social care to blood donorship and training are being performed under contract with the government or with local authorities.
The Polish RC has about 500 staff at headquarters, in district and local branches (in total). In addition, there are 1,110 " PLRC nurses”.
Moreover, 250,000 volunteers are involved in all core Red Cross activities, in particular in welfare, relief, health promotion, first aid, rescue and blood donation. The number of volunteers has fallen over the last five years whilst the need for Polish RC assistance has risen. The strongest ranks are youth and blood donors, who being integral parts of the National Society, have their own structure and election procedures.
There are 120,000 members.
The blood program has 1,800 blood donors’ clubs with over 180,000 members and volunteers in different social groups.
The Polish RC has IHL dissemination and emblem protecting commissions. Together with the ICRC we hold an annual international summer school, having also its Polish edition. Training and lectures for journalists at the universities are organized, as well as, special competitions of Master's and Doctor's theses on IHL issues. Young people are also targeted with dissemination workshops. Information is spread in different ways in order to raise the population’s awareness of the Red Cross ideal and purpose as well as to promote activities aimed at protecting the emblem. As the dissemination tools we use as well our quarterly magazine and the website.
PRC’ IHL Dissemination Centre: runs a specialist IHL library;coordinates activities of International Humanitarian Law Dissemination Commission under the auspices of the PRC Governing Board;coordinates actions of the Commission for the Red Cross Emblem Protection;conducts activities in the field of the red cross emblem protection and intervenes in cases of its abuse; organises academic conferences, lectures, workshops and trainings;develops and implements educational programmes; participates in international campaigns and programmes; cooperates with the International Committee of the Red Cross, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, local structures of the Polish Red Cross, the Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies, Ministries, universities and non-governmental organisations.
Education promoting a healthy lifestyle is targeted at children and young people. A special program "Super Squirrel" aims at children in kindergartens and early classes of primary schools (app. 140,000 members of Squirrel clubs). Since 19 years we conduct national competitions of healthy life style, involving each year thousands participants. Polish RC takes part in International Federation's campaign "True about AIDS. PASS IT ON". Polish RC is the only institution in Poland that provides first aid training according to European standards.
The Polish Red Cross provides assistance to victims of natural disasters and catastrophes abroad. It creates projects for the development assistance which are a response to the problems of poverty and lacks in education. It organizes social campaigns for the countries with a high malaria burden. Finally, it exchanges knowledge and experience with other Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to strengthen the Movement and achieve full readiness to cooperate wherever the help is required.
The Red Cross's welfare aid reaches over 200,000 people each year. Our goal is to supplement the social care provided by the state, guaranteed in the Polish Social Security Act. Needs for this sort of aid are always huge. To meet them we obtain funding and goods (food, household appliances etc.) from the civil society and then redistribute them to those in need. The scope and scale of aid we can provide depends on the generousity of the public.
Year-round aid:Feeding the hungry - hot meals or food-packages containing basic products are handed out in Red Cross's centres, school canteens and bars. We also organise occasional meetings, e.g. Christmas Eve suppers or Easter breakfasts for the lonely or the homeless.Short-term aid - we collect and distribute clothes, household appliances, detergents, sanitation products, furniture among those in need and aid centres. Short-term help also includes annual campaigns such as: "Outfit for a Schoolmate" during which children from the poorest families receive packages of school equipment and "Operation Summer" which enables children to go to holiday camps.Red Cross centres which include: night shelters, day care centres, crisis intervention centers for women and children, children's therapy centres.
Apart from offering shelter and meeting basic human needs our centres often provide medical and psychological care.Home care services - for decades we have been training Red Cross assistants ready to provide care to the ill or elderly and help them in their everyday lives. To render these services the Red Cross works with local authorities. To obtain home care aid you should turn to your local social welfare centre. All formal issues (setting the time and scope of aid - and optionally also the fee for these services) are negotiated and agreed upon between the social welfare centre, Red Cross care centre and the beneficiary or his/her family.
Help for foreigners - we also do not forget about those who fearing for their lives had to flee their country leaving behind all their possessions. These people are usually left with nothing to live on and are not able to find work. We try to provide them with at least basic resources. We help them in contacting their families or state authorities, e.g. while applying for refugee status.
Major responsibilities of the PRC Tracing Service:tracing and establishing the fate of victims of war, armed conflicts and natural disasters (including World War II victims and refugees/migrants)issuing certifications about the fate of missing persons based on our documents and documents obtained due to the efforts undertaken searching for war graves inside and outside of the country transferring so-called Red Cross messages, i.e. family messages to countries involved in armed conflicts or tormented by natural disasters participating in exhumations of war victims organising co-called humanitarian tracing (a search carried out when the closest family has suddenly lost touch with a relative from abroad, although, it is in possession of the relative’s last permanent address) including searching persons who have recently migrated abroad for economic reasons (so-called economic migrants)searching for migrants from other countries who have gone missing on the Polish territory.
The PRCY’s strategic aim is to help those who in need through promoting humanitarian attitudes among children and young people, and their activation for the needful. Anyone who wants to do something for other people can join us. You can become one of our members since your early years and stay with us until you’re 30. Regardless of your age and interests, you will always find something suitable for you:The youngest proudly wear badges of the "Squirrel Club”, Being a PRC School Club member you will pass from primary school to lower-secondary school and later to high school with a PRC (Polish Red Cross) membership card in your pocket, Student times are great times, especially when you’re a member of Academic PRC Clubs,Do even more and become a leader of a Community Youth Instructors PRC Group.
What is more, you can educate yourself and the others in the fields of the first aid, help in organizing and conducting events in old people’s homes, children’s homes, emergency shelters, schools at hospitals or take part in all-Poland actions and campaigns like "School starter kits for pupils”, "Hungry Day”, "Gold Rush”, "PRC Christmas”, "Easter with PRC”, "Truth about AIDS. Pass it on”.
Working for the Polish Red Cross gives an opportunity to achieve your goals, develop your abilities, and overcome your weaknesses. It allows you to taste success and defeat, and an amazing feeling of fulfillment. The diversity of our work and the organization’s dynamics do not allow our everyday activities to become a routine.
Membership in RCRC networks:
Climate Change Center; Cooperation in response to Human trafficking; ELSG – European Legal Support Group; ENPS – European Red Cross Societies Network for Psychological Support; EPSG – European Public Support Group; ERNA – European Network of Red Cross/Red Crescent Societies on HIV/AIDS; European Reference Center on First Aid; Reference Center on Psychological Support
Population: 38.190 million
GDP per capita: € 10,300
Life expectancy: 73.9 years
Infant mortality rate: 8.9 ‰
Accession to the EU: 2004