The Red Cross in 2021 in pictures

Fourteen aid workers wearing masks and Red Cross gear at Helsinki Airport.
Photo: Sakari Piippo / Suomen Punainen Risti

In 2021, the Finnish Red Cross carried out extensive aid work in Finland and abroad.

The following images are excerpts of what we achieved together during the past year. Huge thanks to all volunteers, employees, supporters, partners and friends of the Red Cross!

In early 2021 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Finland faced an exceptional situation where the aim was to vaccinate a large share of the population as quickly as possible. The authorities were responsible for the vaccinations, but the Finnish Red Cross volunteers were able to support the effort.

Person coming to be vaccinated talking with two Red Cross volunteers.
Red Cross volunteers Laura Laine and Inkeri Metsäpelto greeting people coming for their vaccinations in Vantaa. Photo: Leena Koskela / Suomen Punainen Risti

We took part in providing important healthcare services to Syrians in the midst of a war that has lasted ten years.

Three smiling Syrian children being helped by two Red Crescent employees.
6-year-old Ibrahim from Syria has just learned to stand on his own. His mother Um Salah is proud of all her three children. Life has not been easy, since each child has cerebral palsy. They are aided by the physiotherapy team of the Syrian Red Crescent. Photo: Syyrian Punainen Puolikuu

The trained volunteer friends from the Red Cross friend activities brought joy to the everyday lives of lonely people. Each of us needs the company of another person, and even a single positive relationship can stop the cycle of loneliness. First and foremost, the volunteer friend is a listener and someone to talk to.

Three smiling elderly people sitting side by side.
“You are truly heaven-sent to me.” Raimo, who did his life’s work as a forestry worker and seaman, has no family or relatives in Varpaisjärvi. This is why our friend volunteers Hillevi and Eero have a special meaning in Raimo’s life. Photo: Katri Viitaniemi

In the summer, the Voluntary Rescue Service (Vapepa) coordinated by the Red Cross took care of the food supply and maintained the protective clothing of the rescuers working in the wildfire in Kalajoki. The fire brigades could focus on their operation with support from the volunteers.

Two Voluntary Rescue Service volunteers wearing yellow vests walking in a badly burned forest.
In July, Vapepa volunteers took care of the food supply and maintained the rescuers’ equipment around the clock. Photo: Maiju Pohjanheimo / Suomen Punainen Risti

We helped a total of around a thousand young people at our Youth Shelters. A great and growing group of volunteers joined in on helping and influencing. The year saw up to 350 new volunteers join up.

The worst coronavirus situation cancelled our house calls at young people becoming independent. When the pandemic eased up a bit in summer 2021, Piia and Veera from Espoo Youth Shelter delivered independence packages to each young person who became independent with the help of Espoo Youth Shelter during the coronavirus pandemic! Photo: Minna Brusiin / Suomen Punainen Risti

The coronavirus pandemic highlighted the fact that there are groups of people in Finland that are not easily reached during a crisis. Some sections of the immigrant population were unable to access information related to the coronavirus. The multilingual coronavirus communications project of the Finnish Red Cross began to produce coronavirus communications to as many people as possible in a language that they understand.

Photo: Finland-Somalia Association

The chronic humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan worsened rapidly this summer due to the escalating conflict and the subsequent coup. The country has also been plagued by the COVID-19 pandemic and prolonged and severe drought.

The International Red Cross Movement remains in the country helping people, and the Finnish Red Cross also supported this aid work.

Two Afghan Red Crescent employees talking to a person living in a tent.
Red Cross employees investigating the need for cash grants in northern Afghanistan. Photo: Meer Abdullah Rasikh / Afganistanin Punainen Puolikuu

On Hunger Day, thousands of collectors and numerous donors gathered together to support the aid work of the Finnish Red Cross in Finland and around the world. The collection raised a whopping 2.3 million euros.

Four smiling people standing in front of a shopping centre. Two are holding a Hunger Day collection box, three are wearing red collecting vests of the Red Cross.
Hunger Day box collectors in Porvoo. Photo: Päivi Waldvogel

In August, Haiti was struck by an earthquake causing widespread devastation. Thanks to donor support, the Finnish Red Cross was able to send a field hospital and dozens of aid workers to the site.

Two people in Red Cross clothing packing large pallets at the airport.
A field hospital is being packed into a transport plane at Helsinki Airport. “The packages contain practically everything you need in a hospital. Not just medical material but all required infrastructure: tents, administration, waste management and so on,” explains Jari Koiranen from the Red Cross Logistics Centre. Photo: Sakari Piippo / Suomen Punainen Risti

The field hospital in Haiti offered both basic and special health care services. The hospital treated patients e.g. in the fields of surgery, internal diseases, children’s diseases, communicable diseases, gynaecology and maternity care.

A doctor wearing Red Cross clothing examines a newborn baby held by its mother.
It’s a girl! ❤️🎂 The staff of the Red Cross field hospital in Haiti have been waiting for the first baby to be delivered. Boderince Carré gave birth to her third child with the help of Doctor Leena Alanne (pictured) and midwives Jaana Laine and Medegine Marie Mara. A total of 114 babies were born in the hospital. Photo: Tiina Leinonen / Suomen Punainen Risti

We increased our food aid operations in Finland. We also worked together with local operators in many towns.

Person wearing a Red Cross volunteer vest packing food items at a table.
“Do not be afraid to join. While helping, you learn the language and get to know Finland and Finnish people. I highly recommend it," says Victor Cabrera, who moved to Finland from Peru. He works as a food aid volunteer in Tampere. Photo: Kaisa Kuuppo

The SOS MEDITERRANEE organisation and the International Red Cross together helped migrants in distress at sea in the Mediterranean. The role of the Red Cross was to offer people rescued from the sea with e.g. basic and maternity health care services as well as psychosocial support.

Aid worker wearing Red Cross work clothing standing in front of a ship in a harbour area.
“This operation is extremely important. People are still drowning in the Mediterranean, and the journey at sea is done on bad boats full of people," explains Finnish Red Cross aid worker Caroline Haga. Photo: IFRC

The coronavirus pandemic made life more difficult for many families with children in Finland. The Good Holiday Spirit collection helped distribute 36,000 food vouchers for low-income families with children.

Two people wearing masks and holding food vouchers. One person is wearing a Red Cross vest and Christmas hat.
Katja and Mikko are smiling because the Kuopio branch of the Finnish Red Cross just delivered more than 400 Good Holiday Spirit vouchers to the City of Kuopio’s services for families with children. Photo: Suvi Kuusela

...And this was of course just a small look at the year of the Red Cross! Read more about what we do on the Our work page and follow our social media channels.

Helping will continue in 2022. Join us as a volunteer or help by donating. Thank you!


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