Restoring Family Links: It’s all in a day’s Work!

Story by Jennifer Wilson, Irish Red Cross, Restoring Family Links Desk Officer

So, what is it like to be a Restoring Family Links Caseworker?  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, coming up to 28 years, and have held many positions here – Receptionist, PR Assistant, and Fundraising Officer to name but a few.  I would have to say that the best job, and the one I have felt most passionate about is the one I currently do - Restoring Family Links Desk Officer.   So what makes it so fantastic, I hear you ask!  It’s this simple, I try to reunite families. Well, as everyone knows family is everything.  What would we all do without our families?  Sure, they drive us insane sometimes but what if we couldn’t see them or phone them and 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 of them are looking to find their family members because they have been separated from them while fleeing their war torn countries of origin 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.  Are they safe and well?  When I sit with a client to begin the process of helping them find their partner, sibling or child, I always bring it back to myself.  How would I feel if I were separated, if I couldn’t go home every night and see my husband and have a cuddle with my little daughter?  I hope I never have to find out.

Clients arrive with hope.  They trust that you will be able to find their relative and that they can be reunited so that they again can know the joy of hugging their loved one.  It is a big ask, but it is one that the International Red Cross take seriously and all around the world Restoring Family Links Desk Officers, just like me, work together to try and make this happen.  We are not always successful but when you see the joy on the face of a client who has been told “we’ve found your family” or see the tears stream from the eyes of someone who has been reunited, it fills you full of emotion.  It makes you feel proud to be part of an organization that has the capability to assist family to be reunited and values the family unit.

For more information on the Irish Red Cross, please click here.