Before joining the IHL Action Campaign, I actually didn’t know anything about International Humanitarian Law. I’m a pre-med student, so my focus in college thus far had been in the sciences. I could tell you anything you wanted to know about the life cycle of lytic viruses, but I knew almost nothing about humanitarian education. I joined the campaign because I liked the idea of being a part of something different than my usual activities. I thought it would be interesting and rewarding to be a part of the campaign, but (and this is going to sound incredibly stupid) until I did my research and talked to the head of the program, I didn’t realize how important and how far reaching humanitarian education, especially international humanitarian education, is. Living in the USA, we’re all lucky. As children, we have the opportunity to go to school. We don’t have to worry about being torn from our families by soldiers and being forced into the military before our bones fully fuse and our brains fully form. We learn to read and write; we don’t have to shoot guns or hold grenades. We can have birthday parties and play with our friends; we don’t have to worry about our communities being bombed or our families being tortured. Not everyone has such luck. Topics such as these are incredibly important to be educated on. We owe it to the rest of the world to educate ourselves on humanitarian issues.
Author: Prathusha Yerramilli, American Red Cross Volunteer.
*This story was submitted for the Humanitarian Education Storytelling Campaign launched by the American Red Cross and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.