15 May 2012
For further information
Henry Makiwa 020 7877 7479 / HMakiwa@redcross.org.uk
Out of office hours pager: 07659 145095
The British Red Cross has launched a creative writing competition to commemorate people across the world who are missing due to situations of violence and armed conflict.
Each year, International Day of the Disappeared (30 August) presents a stark reminder that thousands of families across the world are still unaware of the fate of missing family members.
The competition is launched this month, and the two eventual winners will be announced on the day itself on 30 August.
The Red Cross traced 283 people last year, and is currently trying to trace the relatives of 1,319 families from countries all across the world – including Afghanistan, Somalia and Democratic Republic of Congo.
Nev Jefferies, head of international tracing and message services, said: “This competition offers a great way of encouraging people to actively engage with the spirit of the day, and perhaps gain a better understanding of the heartache of being separated from your loved ones, especially those who may have gone missing as a result of armed conflict.”
He added: “It will also hopefully provide a good opportunity to build bridges between our tracing and message services and those people we might be able to help.”
The theme of the competition is ‘missing’ and all entries – whether stories, poems or personal accounts – should be no more than 500 words. There are two categories: adult and young persons (aged 18 or below on 30 August 2012).
The winning entries in each category will receive a £100 Amazon gift voucher. Two runners-up in each category will receive a £50 Amazon gift voucher.
For more information please visit redcross.org.uk/dayofthedisappeared
Find out more about our international tracing and message services at redcross.org.uk/trace
You can also follow us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/britishredcross
Notes to editors
The British Red Cross works worldwide to discover the fate of those missing as a result of war or disaster and, where possible, to restore contact between them and their families. Through the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, the British Red Cross is able to help trace these missing family members by sending information given to us by relatives in the UK to the International Committee of the Red Cross or to the relevant National Red Cross or Red Crescent Society overseas. This information is then used to search for missing family members. In addition the British Red Cross helps families stay in touch when normal means of communication have broken down because of conflict or disaster through the exchange of family news in Red Cross messages
For interviews, case studies and photography please contact: Henry Makiwa on 020 7877 7479 or HMakiwa@redcross.org.uk