The opening of a Sudanese Red Crescent (SRC) unit at Matuq in Sudan last month was cause for celebration to 130 young volunteers who were graduating as first aiders the same day. A carnival atmosphere accompanied the official hand-over ceremony of a health clinic to the SRC by the local government. Although much work needs to be done to the building, badly damaged by flash floods in 1998, branch director Usama Osman, is undaunted. "We have so many eager youngsters ready to help us and since the nearest hospital is 80 km away, we can't let the local community down," he said, adding that he hoped to purchase some basic equipment and drugs. The Sudanese Red Crescent has 10,000 active volunteers and has pledged to recruit 20,000 new volunteers this year. "Caring for others and sharing the little we have is a deep-seated tradition in Sudanese culture," said the secretary general, Omer Osman.
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