My name is Jelena Milic, I am 28 years old and I am a Volunteer of the Red Cross of Serbia since February 1998. I still remember my first contact with the Organization: I was in primary school, when volunteers came and promoted First aid. Their training was so inspiring, that I wished to become just like them. I accepted and it was love at first sight. As I learned more of the activities performed in the Red Cross, I decided I wanted to be a part of this magnificent movement and help people in need, and so, after training in First aid, I became a volunteer myself.
When I came to volunteer in the Red Cross, I had a big “problem” with deciding which activities I should take up, so I decided to take part in all of them. As time passed by, I realized that the areas which inspire me the most are: First aid, Disaster management, Water rescue which I currently carry in the provincial Red Cross of Vojvodina. Besides these, I recognized the strength and importance of working with Youth and promoting non-violence behaviour in people, both young and older persons. So I am in charge as a peer educator in the Program of the Serbian Red Cross – ‘Promotion of Human Values’.
I must say that before the training of First aid, my knowledge about the work of RCS was small. Due to the fact that this period was after the war, the RCS was for most people, including me, an organization associated with refugees and humanitarian help. It was only after I came to the First aid training that I realized that the RCS does much more and helps people in so many ways.
When I first came to the office of the RCS I saw that the values that I had been taught by my parents were shared by others, on a bigger scale then I thought possible. The current Youth Officer of RC in my home town disseminated the values of Red Cross and inspired and encouraged me to become what I am today- a volunteer.
We live in a world where people are often selfish, living in a hurry and not realizing that someone, somewhere has different, existential problems, preventing them to carry on and live life to the full. As a volunteer, I came to realize that the world has no boundaries when it comes to people in need. If we all did as much as we can, we could make this Earth a great place to live in. Growing up in a country which was often in conflict, demolished and ruined, I got a firsthand input in how war and conflicts can meddle and destroy a person’s life. As a volunteer of the RCS, I got an opportunity to bring a smile back to a child’s face and put a cooked meal onto a family’s table. It may not be much, but the realization that I helped a complete stranger in making his or her day decent, is more than I can ever describe.
My favourite experiences as a volunteer of the Red Cross are the Promotion of Human values program, on a national level, because it gave me the possibility of working with children and introduce them to the ideas of the RC/RC Movement, teaching them to be more tolerant, to solve conflicts in a calm way, not to discriminate and to recognize violence. I had a feeling I did something really important for the future of those children, providing them with better tools to live and act as adults. While on an international level, my favourite experience was FACE 2003, where I was a part of a 6 member team and represented my country in First aid. But the best of all was my ATLANTIS VIII participation in Andorra, where I felt that all of us volunteers are members of one great family and that between us, no matter how far we live and work from each other, there are bonds which can’t be broken. I believe that our international meeting was a best representation of Henry Dunant’s efforts.
I honestly and strongly believe that the strongest aspect of our Movement is that regardless where we are from and what language we speak, the 7 principles of RC/RC are understood and respected. By doing so, we create an universal language which we all understand- the language of Red Cross and Red Crescent- we are one big family united in doing good wherever we are. In the words of Henry Dunant - “Tutti fratelli”.
Serbia Red Cross