Red Cross Club starts fundraiser for measles and rubella


Graphic by Evelyn Shue

From Dec. 6 to Dec. 17, RM’s Red Cross Club held a fundraiser to collect donations for measles and rubella vaccines in underserved countries. Over 350 pins were given out and over $400 was raised.

Caroline Zhou and Ginger Speer

As a part of their international services initiative, the Red Cross Club (RCC) at Richard Montgomery High School (RM) held their first fundraiser from December 6 to 17 to collect donations for the Red Cross Vaccinate-a-Village campaign towards vaccines against measles and rubella for children in need. 

RCC is an extension of the Red Cross organization that works to alleviate global issues. In the club, there are five unique committees that aid in different services: disaster relief, training, biomedical, international and armed forces. Each committee is required to lead at least one monthly event and members of the committee are able to contribute to the event planning.

To kickoff the fundraiser, flyers created by RCC’s graphic design lead Katie Brown were set up around the school and a video filmed by senior Riki Doumbia, RCC’s current president and founder, aired on RMBC. “There’s a lot of planning involved for these fundraisers and making sure that everything goes smoothly,” Doumbia said. “Because ultimately, what we do here does directly affect people around the world.” Members signed up for the days they would be helping out at the donation stand during lunch. 

For every $1 donated, someone around the world will gain access to a vaccine. $2 donated provides a vaccine and a booster shot. “In America we often don’t think of how dangerous these diseases and viral infections can be because we’ve vaccinated against them so aggressively that we don’t have to think about them,” Doumbia said. “People think they can’t really do anything to help, but what you do on an individual scale is enough to help others.”

When people develop an understanding of global circumstances, they understand the deadliness of these diseases and what this means for the unprotected. Doumbia stresses the importance of staying updated and working with institutions such as the Red Cross. “If you are in a position where you can help other people and you have the resources to do so, I believe it’s just ethical to help,” she said.

RCC club president and senior Riki Doumbia stands in front of the donation table during lunch on Dec. 8 (Photo by Davi Jacobs)

The fundraiser is particularly personal to Doumbia, who has family in Mali. “Some of my extended family live in villages where there isn’t access to vaccines and they can’t get any help unless it’s through the government or foreign aid like the Red Cross,” she said. “So I really want this fundraiser to succeed.”

Doumbia also addressed stereotypes surrounding the countries comprising Africa. “There’s been a lot of media attention going on with government conflicts between the governments and citizens. People tend to assume that the entire country [Mali] is in turmoil from that,” Doumbia said. “But that’s not the full picture.”

Doumbia will graduate this school year and hopes the club will continue to prosper in the future. “RCC means a lot to me and I would love to see it continue after I’m gone,” she said.

Doumbia, along with freshman Audrey Oppong and sophomore Sophia Fang, encourage students to join RCC and have an impact on their community while gaining valuable leadership skills. “It’s so important for youth to get involved in clubs like RCC because they always help the community in some way,” Fang said. “It’s also a super fun way to get involved not only in the RM community, but also in the Red Cross volunteer community.”

“For me, the club is my way of making a difference in the world,”Oppong said. “It’s kind of an insight into what the real world is like, because if I wasn’t part of it, I probably wouldn’t be aware of how people are struggling – it just brings light to issues.”

For more updates on Richard Montgomery High School’s Red Cross Club, visit @rm.rcc on Instagram and email [email protected] with any questions.