What’s it like to be a Restoring Family Links or RFL Desk Officer? It’s pretty cool actually. Ask anyone that does this job and I guarantee they will say the same!
I have been working for the Irish Red Cross for a long time, nearly 27 years, and have held many positions over the years. But, I would have to say that the best job and the one I have felt most passionate about is this one.
So ‘what makes it so fantastic?’ I hear you ask! It’s simple. I try to reunite families.
As we all know, family are is everything. What would we do without our families? Sure, they drive us insane sometimes, but what if we couldn’t see them? phone them? Or had no clue where they were? Wouldn’t we go to the end of the earth to find them?
I meet a lot of people in my job, most are looking to find their family members because they have been separated while fleeing their war torn countries or have lost each other on the migratory trail.
They are separated from the ones they love and all they want to know is if their child, husband, wife, mother, father, brother, sister is alive, that they are safe and well.
When I sit with someone to begin the process of helping them find their partner, sibling or child, I always try to imagine how I would feel in their situation. How would I feel if I couldn’t go home every night and see my husband, have a cuddle with my little daughter? I hope I never have to find out.
People arrive with hope. They trust that the Red Cross will be able to find their relative; that they can be reunited and know the joy of hugging their loved one again. It’s a big ask, but one that the Red Cross are dedicated to.
Around the world RFL Desk Officers, just like me, work together to find lost loved ones. We’re not always successful, but when you see the joy on the face of someone who has been told “we’ve found your family” or see the happy tears stream from the eyes of a reunited family, it fills you full of emotion. It makes you proud to be part of an organisation with the capability to reunite families. One that values the family unit.
Today, 30th August, is International Day of the Disappeared. A day to acknowledge and highlight the pain and suffering caused to those waiting for news of separated family.
Today is your chance to participate in helping to restore a family link. All you have to do is hit “share” and spread the word.
by Jen Wilson
RFL Desk Officer at the Irish Red Cross