Qatar’s First Humanitarian Org Celebrates 40 Years

Last March 20, Qatar Red Crescent Society or QRCS held a grand celebration of its 40-year anniversary at the Katara Cultural Village in Doha. Attended by the country’s government officials, business leaders, senior officers and volunteers, and other representatives, it was an important event in the field of development and humanitarian advocacy. But it marked even more important achievements.

Established on March 20, 1978, QRCS “boasts of a track record of achievements, lessons learnt and milestones”, it has said in a statement. “These successes have shaped the arena of charitable and social work in Qatar, and enriched the country’s bright image as a major humanitarian player around the world.”

Committed to its slogan “Saving Lives and Preserving Dignity,” the QRCS—as a member of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)—has helped develop zones afflicted by disasters, conflict, and poverty.

“Being Qatar’s first humanitarian organisation, QRCS became a pioneer in its vision, principles and efforts. Now, it serves as an auxiliary to Qatar in its humanitarian policies both locally and internationally. Also, it has become a role model for many NGOs and humanitarian service providers, which follow its strategies and operations,” the statement adds.

The day’s highlights include a special ceremony to honor the organization’s chief contributors and volunteers, the opening to a public exhibit of QRCS’s timeline and history at the Katara Corniche, a showcase and invitation for volunteering opportunities, and even kid-friendly activities.

However, humanitarian advocacy is not only enacted on the organization level, but some powerful individuals constantly do their share, exemplified by other recent milestones in philantropy such as charity auctions for the homeless and benefit concerts for diverse causes. Perhaps even in our smallness, we could wonder about the small ways we could contribute to the giant mission of relieving the suffering of others.

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Islamic Cultural Center Aids Homeless Awaiting Storm

With over 100 million on the streets, it’s places like Studio Elmo Vemijs that are providing them with temporary refuge. In the absence of shelters in Dublin, an Islamic center in Clonskeagh is welcoming anyone in need of sanctuary as Hurricane Ophelia hits.

“We provide food and soup,” said [administrator Malek Madani]. “It’s the minimum that we can do as humanitarians. We try to contribute along with council organizations, who have helped us with beds, too.”

One of the worst storms to hit Ireland in just over 50 years, Ophelia will likely be devastating. To avoid casualties, the city has closed schools, cancelled flights, and advised motorists to refrain from being on the road. Madani is encouraging other centers across Ireland to follow suit.

“They are part of society and they should too,” he said. “We never know [who will come during the storm] but we try to do our best.”

With over 100,000 homes off the power grid, the Islamic center is setting the benchmark for other groups.

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After 20 Years 132-Year-Old Lobster Finally Free

I am a sucker for contemporary Good Samaritan tales. Just a few days ago, a video of firefighters rescuing a tiny kitten from inside a PVC pipe plagued social media and left me sifting through YouTube for clips of passers-by saving animals caught in conundrums. Most recently, Butch Yamali of Peter’s Clam Bar in Hempstead paid it forward to a 132-year-old lobster named Louie.

“Today I’m announcing an official pardon for Louie the Lobster,” announced Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony Santino. “Louie may have faced a buttery fate on a seafood lover’s plate, but today we are here to return Louie to a life that is better down where it’s wetter,”

Prior to his release, someone had offered to pay a hefty sum of $1,000 for Louie to be the star of his Father’s Day dinner. Yamali politely declined, claiming Louie was more like a pet.

Having lived 112 years in the Atlantic beach reef, experts deem that Louie will have no trouble adapting to a life in the wild.

“He’ll be just fine. There aren’t many predators who want to eat a big old lobster like that,” says Bob Bayer, executive director of the Lobster Institute in Maine. “Hopefully, he finds a mate – and lives happily ever after.”

Now, why don’t we talk about freeing up Louie’s buddies?

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