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Different aspects of social commitment: employee portraits

08 May 2024

To mark 8 May, World Red Cross Day, we are highlighting emblematic individuals within our organisation, each embodying humanism and dedication in their own way, and testifying to the diversity and strength of our humanitarian commitment.

Let’s discover the inspiring career of Sylvia Peters, Head of Families First . Her unwavering commitment continues to make a difference to the lives of so many people. The Families First programme helps families in crisis by intervening directly on the ground to avoid, if possible, the placement of children.

Can you tell me about your career with the Luxembourg Red Cross?

I joined the Red Cross in 1987 as a graduate educator in a home for children in care. We were able to set up various projects, such as supervised accommodation for 18-year-olds, now known as the Perspectives service.

In 1994, I initiated a parenting service to support the return of children to their families, to promote work with the parents of children in care, home visits to prepare parents. At the time, this transition was not encouraged and some children had been living in care placements for many years. With the legislative changes of the 90s, giving parents more rights, the Ministry supported new projects to reorganise childcare.

In 1999, I helped launch Families First, which aims to improve the situation of children by intervening before placement, offering families a last chance before placement. This work is both exhausting and rewarding, as each intervention can transform lives in just 8 weeks.

For me, it’s much more than a job, it’s a passion. The trust placed in me by the Red Cross has enabled me to launch projects and take specialist training in child protection and crisis management.

Sylvia Peters

Tell us about a significant moment in your time with the Red Cross?

It’s difficult to pinpoint a specific moment, but I’ve been constantly inspired by the many people I’ve met, both staff and beneficiaries, who have contributed to my development. Working with vulnerable people is extremely rewarding, even if it often involves challenges and disappointments.

However, I remain convinced that our open-mindedness always leaves an imprint on someone’s life. A defining period for me was the 1990s, when we managed to make progress in child welfare thanks to legislative and societal changes. Working closely with parents on an outpatient basis helps to slow down the placement process and to reunite children more quickly once they have been placed, which underlines the importance of cooperating with the authorities to progress in our mission.

How do you see the future development of the Luxembourg Red Cross?

I’m convinced that the Red Cross will continue to meet the needs of society. Throughout my career, I’ve seen it evolve in line with the needs of vulnerable people. The working groups set up analyze situations and develop solutions, which is remarkable. To accomplish its missions, the Red Cross will always depend on material and financial resources, on its employees and volunteers with a caring attitude towards beneficiaries, promoting mutual aid without judgment. Simply act!