Our Partners 150 Years of the SRC – Promoting Compassion

150 Years of the SRC – Promoting Compassion

The Swiss Red Cross was founded in Bern 150 years ago. Since then, they have compassionately provided assistance to vulnerable and disadvantaged people around the world. Over 72,000 volunteers are working towards their mission – and by donating Bonviva points, you too can help make a difference.

The world's most important and renowned charitable organizations have their roots in Switzerland: after the 1859 Battle of Solferino in Northern Italy, Genevan Henry Dunant coordinated aid for wounded soldiers. This experience inspired him to found the Red Cross in 1863. The Swiss Red Cross was subsequently established in 1866. Now that 150 years have passed, the organization continues to work both in Switzerland and elsewhere to care for those in need.

Volunteer aid workers in Switzerland

The SRC also has active operations in Switzerland. 23-year-old Larisa Rychener joined the Red Cross Youth Zurich after earning her secondary school diploma. Initially, she helped out at a transit center for asylum seekers in Oerlikon. The Red Cross Youth would come every Saturday to play games, bake treats, and make handicrafts with the children. “The group introduces you to the work gradually. You get to decide for yourself how involved you’ll be,” Rychener explains.

Since last year, she has organized a semiannual holiday week of sports and cooking activities, geared primarily to children from families with a migrant background.

Of course it takes a lot of time, but I also get a lot in return. The children are so thankful. When the week is over, many of them ask if they can come again next year.

Even with a small commitment, you too can help out and make a difference.

On the website, you can easily select your canton and find an overview of all opportunities for involvement in your region. Would you like to help someone learn English, keep an elderly person company, or invite a family over for lunch?

Volunteering inspires hidden talents

Annemarie Huber-Hotz, former Federal Chancellor and President of the SRC since 2011, is convinced that volunteer participation is crucial for a humanitarian organization. "With volunteering, the people being helped directly aren't the only ones who benefit." The volunteers also learn new things about themselves. "While working with refugee children, a manager might discover an aptitude for teaching, or a retiree can take on a new role as an SRC driver," she states.

For the future of the SRC, she hopes that new, creative modes of volunteer work will be developed so that more even more people can be reached. "This will enable us to continue to reach those who are the most vulnerable and most in need of our help," says Ms. Huber-Hotz.

For eight years now, Credit Suisse has been an official partner of the SRC

Credit Suisse has actively supported the SRC since 2008. In recent years, they have developed an extensive collaboration in the area of corporate volunteering. For example, every year more than 300 CS employees help pack and sort gift packages for the "2 x Christmas" campaign. Additionally, Credit Suisse employees regularly donate blood and participate in SRC's transport service, in the REDOG (search and rescue dogs) organization, and in the "mitten unter uns" ("in our midst") youth outreach program.

Credit Suisse gives all its employees in Switzerland up to four working days a year to participate in the corporate volunteering program, thus encouraging them to contribute to social causes, as well as to develop both personally and professionally.