Comment: Moved by Maldivian generosity

This article is by Isha Afeef

I volunteered on Saturday to help fundraise for the Nepal earthquake relief effort in Malé. It was heart-warming to see the immense public support for the event. People of all ages stop by the donation box where I sat, from children with fistfuls of coins to a sick elderly man who stopped by the Galolhu football stadium just to donate. Some migrant workers also chipped in.

The Maldivian Red Crescent (MRC) and the Maldives Medical Association (MMA), have now collected more than MVR1.7million (US$109,677).

Nearly 9,000 people have died since an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.8 on the Richter scale struck Nepal on April 25. Another tremor measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale struck on May 15, leading to more deaths.

“When the international appeal with the lists of items and funding that Nepal needed came out from International Red Crescent, we evaluated we could deliver at our capacity, and decided that it was funding,” MRC president Ali Nashid said.

“Our sum had to be realistic. We considered two main things: the economic state of the country, and that the donors we would be asking for funds would also be assisting with our projects in the future. So we set a target of $200,000,” he said.

The MMA was the first to take the initiative, as many of its members had gone to medical school in Nepal. The MRC’s volunteers walked door to door in Addu City and Fuvahmuah Island this month, while others in Thaa Atoll Veymandhoo and Meemu Atoll Kolhufushi held children’s evenings to raise funds.

Dhiraagu and Ooredoo set up a system where customers could donate via text messages.

On Saturday, the Maldives media held a telethon. A children’s evening was held at Malé’s Raalhugandu and a music show was held at night. Fund boxes were placed at the Galolhu Stadium and ten other locations in Malé. The veterans of the Maldivian national football team and MPs also played a football match.

Nepal boduberu

At the fund box at Galolhu, people who stopped by were warm and sincere in their well wishes. To me, it showed how dear Maldivians hold the values of generosity and kindness, and how willing Maldivians are to help people affected by natural disasters, no matter where disaster strikes in the world.

Mothers donated multiple times on behalf of their children. One elderly man stopped by with a Bangladeshi man who works for him. When the expatriate worker donated, the elderly man stepped up to the box and made a generous contribution. He said he was very sick, but that he had not been able to resist coming to the stadium to make a donation with his own hands.

Hundreds also bought tickets to watch the football match between the veteran Maldivian national football team and the Maldives’ parliamentarians.

“Our main focus now is to make sure that every penny reaches Nepal Red Crescent, and we will be accountable for it,” Nashid said.

The MRC estimates the final figure to reach MVR1.9million.

A young MRC volunteer, Ahmed Shamau said, he, too was moved by the extraordinary display of kindness by the public. “It’s shown strength, all these people uniting for humanity.”

“When the Tsunami struck the Maldives, Nepal was one of the countries that contributed to help us. And now that they’re in need, we’ll do the best we can in our capacity,” he added.

The chairperson of the MRC, Mohamed Junaid, thanked all of the volunteers.

“The biggest role in these efforts in being done by these dedicated individuals. We had over 50 responses to the call for assistance by Malé branch alone. And we are proud to say that our volunteers work just for humanitarian values, as seen by their dedication to the telethon in these past four days.”

Two MRC volunteers who work with the regional disaster response team are in Nepal at present. Mariyam Aisha, the first female volunteer to be deployed on a regional mission, reached Nepal on May 16. Moosa Shifaz has been active in Nepal since May 2.

Junaid says Aisha and Shifaz are “an inspiration.”


Fund-raising activities will continue till May 27. Here are the MRC’s bank details if you wish to make a donation.

7701-176022-001 (MVR)
7701-176022-002 (USD)
Maldivian Red Crescent

9901-01-55500036-100 (MVR)
9901-01-55500036-200 (USD)
Maldivian Red Crescent

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President Yameen appeals for volunteers to tackle gang, domestic violence

President Abdulla Yameen has called on the Maldivian Red Crescent (MRC) and youth volunteers to take the initiative in tackling violence against women and gang violence.

Speaking at a function held by MRC at Dharubaaruge last night to mark the International Day of Volunteers, President Yameen said the country would be “eternally grateful” to volunteers if the two “serious issues” were solved through their efforts.

“Volunteers must step forward, youth leaders should be formed amongst us, to advocate, raise voices, and put a stop to things,” he said.

Maldivian youth should be led away from violent assault and activities of criminal gangs through preventive efforts, he added.

As no family member would wish for a young man to be “brutally murdered,” Yameen said the “viciousness” in Maldivian society should be eradicated.

Similarly, no family member would wish for any harm to come to their mothers, daughters, and sisters, he said.

Yameen suggested that advocacy, awareness raising and an “education process” was needed to stop violence against women.

He urged the MRC and volunteers to assume a role in tackling the two issues.

Earlier this month, a 28-year-old man stabbed to death in Malé became the fifth murder victim during the year.

At a rally held last month to celebrate the current administration’s first year in office, President Yameen pledged to crack down on violent crime and implement the death penalty.

“We have peace and order in Malé and all regions of Maldives. We have peace. However, this is not to say that isolated and significant dangerous crimes do not occur,” he said.

President’s Office Spokesman Ibrahim Muaz assured local media today (December 18) that the government would not hesitate to implement the death penalty, once those sentenced to death had exhausted all of their legal appeals.

Earlier this week, President Yameen welcomed restrictions on the constitutional right to remain silent and right to retain a lawyer for suspects arrested for violent assault.

President Yameen meanwhile went on to quote Hubert Humphrey on volunteerism.

“The moral test of a society is on how that society treats those who are in the dawn of life, that is children, those who are in the twilight of life, those are the elderly, and those who are in the shadows of life, and those are the sick, the needy, and the handicapped,” he said.

Yameen observed that the Maldives led other countries in the region in volunteerism in terms of man hours, noting that the majority of volunteers were youth.
Yameen also praised the MRC’s key role in relief efforts during the recent water supply crisis in the capital.

At last night’s event, President Yameen presented commemorative plaques and certificates to exemplary volunteers from each branch of the MRC, five exemplary national volunteers of the year, and the most proactive volunteer of the year.

Established in 2009, the MRC was recognised by the International Committee of the Red Cross as the 187th National Society of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement in November 2011.

The MRC’s Strategic Plan for 2011–2015 encompasses disaster management, health and social care, youth, and institutional development as its main strategic objectives.

Related to this story

Domestic violence accepted and justified in the Maldives, says report

Government uses gangs for its ends, alleges former President Nashed


Maldivian Red Crescent provides first aid training for taxi drivers

The Transport Authority of Maldives (TAM) and Maldivian Red Crescent (MRC) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding committing to provide first aid training to local taxi drivers.

The agreement was signed by the Minister of Transport and Communication Ameen Ibrahim and Secretary General of Maldivian Red Crescent Abdul Razzaq Ibrahim today (May 27).

Speaking at the event, Transport Minister Ameen highlighted the importance of such a programme and said that drivers serving the public must be equipped with the necessary skills to face an emergency, reported local media Sun Online.

Ameen noted the recent difficulties faced by taxi drivers due to the newly enacted taxi regulation and thanked the drivers for their support in its implementation, Sun Online reported.

According to Razzaq, drivers will often be the first to arrive at an accident site and that the first aid programme is an important step towards public safety.

The MRC also stated that they aim to train more than 800 taxi drivers before October 2014.

Last month, taxi drivers in Malé staged a protest against what they regard as “strict” and unfair new regulations which were to be implemented.

Key concerns raised by participants included the issue of ‘taxi-top’ vacancy signs, and not having similar legislation for all land transport, including lorries and pickups.