Safeguards humanity for a bright future
“A hands-on leader” best describes Mrs Ivy Wu, JP, Chairperson of the Hong Kong Red Cross (HKRC) since 2017. Mrs Wu adopts this management approach in both her career and the positions she takes up for various social welfare organizations. She notes, “Humanity is the service principle of the HKRC. That is why I went to the frontline of the disaster area to gain first-hand knowledge of the affected people’s needs and give them love and care.”
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Mrs Wu’s devotion to helping the needy is never dampened by her packed work schedule. Being active in different charity organizations, she joined the HKRC in the 1980s. Mrs Wu recalls, “I served as an adviser for the HKRC at first. At that time, its service scope covered fewer aspects than present day, focusing on local services such as blood donation, special education and first aid training. It was not until the flood in Eastern China in 1991 that the HKRC expanded its service provision.” When the HKRC deployed a disaster relief team to the flood-stricken areas, Mrs Wu decided to join the mission.

“I was shocked to see all the land covered by water”

– Ivy Wu, Hong Kong

“When I arrived at the disaster area, I was shocked to see all the land covered by water. I could only see roof and tree tops above the water. There was a long line-up of people evacuated to crammed spaces on raised grounds or dykes, some only surrounded by sand bags.”

“Disaster relief work is very meaningful. No matter how hard it is, just think about the victims to be benefited from your help. Such a sense of satisfaction can only be understood by those who have participated in it. More importantly, humanitarian service is not limited to material support, but also the emotional wellbeing of the vulnerable.”

Mrs Wu has thereafter joined the disaster relief teams in the wake of numerous earthquakes and natural disasters in China. “At that time the manpower of the HKRC was limited, but different departments were enthusiastic to mobilize staff members for relief work. I was moved by their devotion.”

As a pioneer of the overseas relief teams, Mrs Wu witnessed how the International and Relief Service Department of the HKRC gradually grew in scale and professionalism. She is grateful for the support from all parties. Having been to different areas affected by natural and human disasters around the world, Mrs Wu says, “Each country has its own culture and needs. We can only learn what the disaster-affected people truly need and help them solve immediate and long-term problems after communicating with the local Red Cross society and conducting on-site assessments. For instance, we would help establish a prosthetic and orthotic hospital in countries plagued by mines, and more importantly, teach local children how to avoid mines and reduce the injuries caused by mine explosion. For our long-term plan, we would improve the local capacity for emergency response in the disaster-prone area.”

“We want to make Hong Kong a healthier and safer city”

– Ivy Wu, Hong Kong

Since she became Chairperson of the HKRC, Mrs Wu has had it as her first priority to strengthen the humanitarian spirit and power of helping others. “I want to pursue the 5-year strategic goal set out by the HKRC and strive to unite all our staff and volunteers to make Hong Kong a healthier and safer city.” So far, the 5-year Strategic Plan has made good progress since its launch in 2017. It serves as a blueprint for all service departments of the HKRC, strengthening the synergic effect among services. To take this forward, the HKRC has organized an induction program for over 100 people from different committees. The organization mobilized staff and volunteers to help households in remote areas affected by Typhoon Mangkhut in 2018. It has provided first aid and psychological support services to those affected by the protest actions since June 2019. In addition, the HKRC will launch its first Mobile Disaster Preparedness Education Truck in October 2019 to promote and enhance public awareness on disaster prevention. Mrs Wu stresses that the HKRC endeavours and makes every effort to help build Hong Kong a safe and resilient city with enhanced capacity and participation in humanitarian work.

Mrs Wu is aware that every mission requires the support of new blood from the next generations, so passing on the humanitarian spirit to the youths is very important to her. Only by strengthening the humanitarian force can the humanitarian spirit of the HKRC - “Protecting human life, Caring for the health of the vulnerable, Respecting human dignity”, and the spirit of volunteering carry on. Mrs Wu sees the motherhood nature of women as an added value to humanitarian service and the provision of love and care to the underprivileged. She therefore appeals for more women to come forward to joining and leading the movement to safeguard humanity for a bright future.

Ivy Wu

Hong Kong, 1980

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Globally, women are currently 118 years away from closing the gender gap.

– When Women Thrive, Businesses Thrive: The World’s Most Comprehensive Research on Women in the Workplace.

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