What is Restoring Family Links?

Every year, thousands of family members are separated by conflicts, disasters or migration. People suffer terribly when they lose contact with their loved ones and don't know where they are or whether they are safe. Red Cross’ Restoring Family Links service works to reconnect these families and clarify the fate of those who remain missing.

As a case management support volunteer, I spend time entering cases into our database, organising notes about a case or documenting processes or ideas for improvements. I also help with the searches for the missing.

What inspired you to volunteer?

I wanted to volunteer with the Restoring Family Links programme because I felt that it is a service that can meaningfully improve the lives of those who have already endured many difficulties. I feel so privileged to live in a country where I have my friends and family safely around me; my family is probably the most valuable treasure that I have! So to be able to help reunite other families who have been separated due to disaster or conflict is hugely meaningful and humbling.

What do you know now that you didn’t know when you first started volunteering?

I have learnt that there are many people in our neighbourhoods who are living their lives under the weight of great uncertainty. Some of them don't know if their loved ones are alive or dead and they live with this for years, sometimes decades.

I have also learnt about the huge range of activities that the Red Cross is involved in! Every week there is a new project buzzing when I enter the office — it is really inspiring!

What's your favourite part about being a Restoring Family Links volunteer?

My favourite part is the atmosphere in the Red Cross office and the dedication of the other members of the team. I feel I am part of something bigger, a team of people who genuinely care about others and don't take their privilege for granted.

Find out more about Restoring Family Links

Head to familylinks.icrc.org to find out more about Red Cross’ Restoring Family Links service or if you have lost contact with loved ones overseas, please contact familylinks@redcross.org.nz.