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Q&A with Red Cross volunteer Ibtesam Eisa from Fredericton, New Brunswick

Red Cross Talks: Tell us a little about yourself

Volunteer Ibtesam Eisa in front of Red Cross vanIbtesam: I'm Ibtesam Eisa from Fredericton NB. I moved here from Ontario two years ago with my family.

Before Ontario, my home country was Sudan, I was working in airline finance and insurance.

Now, I'm studying for insurance licences here in Canada.

Red Cross Talks: Why did you join the Red Cross?

Ibtesam: I knew of the humanitarian work the Red Cross does in Africa and when I moved to Canada I wanted to get involved.

I have been with Red Cross since August 2018.

Red Cross Talks: What led you to become an emergency management volunteer with the Red Cross?

Ibtesam: I decided to join Red Cross in Emergency Management because I knew of all the work Red Cross does by helping vulnerable people round the world during times of disasters, famines and epidemics.
 
If Red Cross could make a difference in so many people’s lives simply by helping one woman in Africa, I knew I wanted to be apart of that here.

Red Cross Talks: What was a moment that really stands out from your time volunteering?

Ibtesam: When the 2019 New Brunswick flood occurred, it affected many people. I helped some of the Syrian refugee families who were affected by the flood as their homes became temporarily uninhabitable.
 
One of the clients told me how he didn't expect to encounter an Arabic speaking Red Cross member to help him.
 
He said that: "It was more than the hotel and the food, but my children now look at me as some sort of magician or hero that solves all kinds of problems that the family may experience. Unknowing that the actual heroes are anonymous donors. They're used to disasters being solved in minimal ways compared to how the Red Cross handled this flood. My children's safety is priceless. Thanks a lot Canadian Red Cross".
 
Red Cross Talks: What do you think it takes to be a Red Cross volunteer?

Ibtesam: Volunteering with the Red Cross is the continuity of giving. It is an art form and a science, it's something that needs to be fuelled and delivered to right people at the right time. Two years ago, before I joined, I was concerned I wouldn’t fit in. I was not aware of just how professional volunteering with the Red Cross was. In these two years of volunteering I have received training online, in-class, and on job. Now, not only do I fit in, but I know that I can ask for help from staff or volunteers 24hrs/7days across the country and I will have prompt response.   
 
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