The founding of the Red Cross of Serbia
On January 25th, according to the old calendar, and February 6th according to the new on, in the year of 1876, following the initiative of dr Vladan Đorđević, an esteemed military doctor, in the Hall of the municipality of Belgrade, the Serbian society of the Red Cross was founded.
Metropolitan (archibishop) Mihajlo Jovanović was chosen as the first president, and the Governing board was comprised of several esteemed citizens of Serbia of that time.
After the election, the Governing board addressed the people with a Declaration, announcing its aims and responsibilities of the Society, inviting the citizens to join the membership and to establish sub-committees throughout the country. The first task of the newly founded Society was providing care for the refugees that were fleeing the Uprising in Herzegovina. In the year of its founding, the Serbian Society of the Red Cross numbered around 2000 members and founded 35 sub-committees in the country.
That same year, on March 24th, following the initiative of the Serbian Society of the Red Cross, the Principality of Serbia ratified/adopted the Geneva conventions. The Principality of Serbia highly regarded the efforts of the Society to help people, and the main task of the Red Cross of that time was aiding the army medical corps. King Milan Obrenović awarded the president of the Red Cross with the Great Cross of the Order of Takovo, and on June 11th 1876 the International Committee of the Red Cross recognized the Serbian Society of the Red Cross.
The work of the Society was aimed at gathering financial and material aid, organizing hospitals, the training of volunteer nurses, the procurement of medical supplies, the enlisting of physicians, and it provided great support to the army medical corps.
In spite of hardship and continuous wars, many wounded, refugees and all the difficulties that the people of this region endured, the humane idea of the Red Cross was spreading, so in 1885. the Serbian Society of the Red Cross had 105 sub-committees. During the Serbo-Bulgarian wars, the Serbian Society of the Red Cross performed the evacuation and care of wounded with its 45 medical vehicles, 37 mobile hospitals and medical train. The Serbian Society of the Red Cross convinced King Milan to allow the transport of aid form European societies of the Red Cross through Serbia for Bulgaria, with which Serbia was at war, respecting the Geneva Convention.
Through legal provisions of 1896, the Society became independent, its emblem protected, benefits were obtained from the railway, the right for free use of the telegram, import tax relief, as well as of all taxes of the country authorities.
The foundation of the Home of the Red Cross was built in June 1879 in the Simina Street in Belgrade, where the Red Cross of Serbia is still situated today.
During World War I, the Society was active both in the country and abroad. Part of the Serbian Society remained in Belgrade and Kruševac, and the headquarters moved to Niš, a part was evacuated to Corfu along with the army and the government, then through Italy over to Switzerland. The Society continued its activities in 1918, and already in 1920 it had 40 sub-committees and around 30 000 members. At that time, the immigration provided a lot of aid to the people through the Red Cross. The Serbian Society of the Red Cross held its last yearly assembly on December 25th of 1921, and transferred its legacy to its heir - the Society of the Red Cross of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenians. The Red Cross subsequently changed its name depending on the name of the state within which it existed. During World War II it acted under the name The Society of the Red Cross of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, and by the end of 1944 all the republics founded their main committees of the Red Cross.
U periodu raspada bivše Jugoslavije, Crveni krst Srbije nastavio je da ostvaruje svoje zadatke zbrinjavajući veliki broj izbeglica i raseljenih, distribuirajući pomoć od međunarodnih donatora, uglavnom od Međunarodnog komiteta Crvenog krsta, Međunarodne Federacije društava Crvenog krsta i Crvenog polumeseca, Visokog komesarijata za izbeglice Ujedinjenih nacija, od Svetskog programa hrane, Humanitarnog biroa Evropske unije, nacionalnih društava i donatora koji su pružali pomoć tokom devedesetih i početkom ovog veka, u količini od 650.000 tona.
Raspad SFRJ prouzrokovao je izdvajanje organizacija Crvenog krsta iz bivših jugoslovenskih republika, a Crveni krst Srbije i Crveni krst Crne Gore su nastavili sa radom kao Jugoslovenski Crveni krst. Avgusta 1993. godine Međunarodni komitet Crvenog krsta potvrdio je kontinuitet Nacionalnog društva Jugoslovenskog Crvenog krsta u neprekidnom trajanju od međunarodnog priznanja dva društva od 1876. godine.
Danas je Crveni krst Srbije Nacionalno društvo. Međunarodno priznanje mu je potvrđeno 21.9.2006. godine.
Crveni krst Srbije sa 183 organizacije Crvenog krsta u gradovima i opštinama i 2 pokrajinske organizacije Crvenog krsta posebno se angažovao na prihvatu i zbrinjavanju izbeglih i prognanih lica sa prostora bivše Jugoslavije kojih je bilo i do sedamsto hiljada, kao i u zbrinjavanju privremeno raseljenih lica sa Kosova i Metohije, kojih je blizu 200.000.
Kroz različite socijalne programe Crveni krst Srbije pomaže i socijalno ugroženo stanovništvo u Republici Srbiji (preko 10% od ukupnog broja stanovnika). Redovnim distribucijama pomoći na Kosovo i Metohiju Crveni krst Srbije pomaže ugrožene kategorije stanovnika.