Monthly Archives: September 2015

Creating a better world for unaccompanied refugee children

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Scouts and Guides contributing to refugee support activities in their local communities in Europe (13): a story from Tirol, Austria:

“Due to the growing number of stories and pictures in the media, we noticed that there is a significant amount of unaccompanied children and young people among the refugees seeking asylum in our country. This convinced us, members of the Provincial Youth Council (Landesjugenrat Tirol) of the Scouts and Guides of Tirol (Tiroler Pfadfinder und Pfadfinderinnen, a member of PPÖ – Pfadfinder und Pfadfinderinnnen Österreichs) to launch an activity adressing this particular aspect: the project  ‘Create a better world: Gute Taten für Kinder auf der Flucht’ was born!

With this project, we want to draw the public’s attention to the destiny of unaccomanied children and young people among the refugees arriving in Tirol. At the same time we also give visibility to the Scout and Guide Movement in our country and explain our involvement in local community actions in support of refugees.

Within a day we had created a big information board and sought permission for the authorities to have an information stand in Innsbruck’s main pedestrian zone. And we found enough volunteers among local Scout and Guide Groups to be present from 22 September to 8 October 2015.

The activity is essentially a fund raising campaign in support of the Austrian branch of SOS Kinderdorf, the international organisation whose mission it is to ‘build families for children in need, we help them shape their own futures, and we share in the development of their communities’. A number of the unaccompanied refugee children have already been welcomed by SOS Kinderdorf and our fund raising activity helps SOS Kinderdorf to provide them with psychological support, language courses, recreational activities and, last but not least, a stable home and the possibility to develop a self-determined life. At our information stand, we explain this and invite pedestrians to donate some of their change for this cause.

And the best part of the story so far: within a week our Scouts and Guides collected more than EUR 3000! The enthusiasm about this unexpected  success of our campaign glows both in the people directly involved and those walking by and hearing about it. Evidently, there are also pedestrians who are annoyed and do not sympathise, but the overall feeling of being able to make a significant difference is what carries this project most.”

If you are involved in a similar refugee support activity, let us know and we will share it, too!

Just another volunteer at Dortmund’s main refugee welcome centre

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Scouts and Guides contributing to refugee support activities in their local communities in Europe (12): a story from Dortmund, Germany:

“When it became evident that the many refugee families would continue their travel to different parts of Germany, including Dortmund, once they will have reached our country in the southern province of Bavaria, members of Stamm Weisse Rose und Stamm Vagabunden, two local Scout and Guide groups from Dortmund and members of Bund der Pfadfinderinnen un Pfadfinder e.V., one of the National Scout and Guide Associations in Germany, decide to offer their time, experience and skills:

They join volunteers of other local civil society organisations at the Dietrich-Keuning-Haus, which had been designated as main welcome centre for refugees arriving in the city of Dortmund. The prinicpal task for the volunteers is helping with the checking, sorting, and piling of donated cloths and other goods while others start setting up the distribution chain. Yet other Scouts and Guides join the organising team of the centre, responsible for making sure that enough volunteers are available all time and that they are allocated tasks according to their skills.

Many trains each with up to 500 refugees are expected to arrive in Dortmund for several days, but the main welcome centre at the Dietrich-Keuning-Haus is ready: a local, multilingual welcome committee awaits the first groups of refugees: just listen to these two short features broadcast by Radio 91,2 which capture the atmosphere just before the arrival of the first trains in Dortmund. Or read this article published by The New York Times last week.”

If you are involved in a similar refugee support activity, let us know and we will share it, too!

Scouts of Greece on Lesbos bring back smiles and laughter to children’s faces

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Scouts and Guides contributing to refugee support activities in their local communities in Europe (11): a story from Mytilini on the island of Lesbos, Greece:

“Members of Ελληνικός Προσκοπισμός (The Scouts of Greece, a member of the World Organization of the Scout Movement) from mainland Greece travelled to the island of Lesbos to offer their time, enthusiasm and skills to the local community engaged in refugee support activities. While some Scouts and Leaders spent the day with children, young people and their families in Mytilini, the main port of Lesbos, and the refugee camp in Kara Tepe playing games and running activities, others helped clear the area of tons of waste.

‘The spirit of volunteering is the feeling that overwhelms you when you think you can change something’, says Mariana, from the national team of the Scouts of Greece. ‘You realise that you can offer something to society and can become an inspiration to others to do the same. Laughing, communicating, building bridges, being present and listening, catching up, and feeling proud of what you can accomplish. You feel that you can stand your ground. And you are grateful that you are working together with great people for a common purpose!’

This activity is made possible thanks to support received from the World Scout Foundation and will continue the coming weekend.”

We will bring a full story and more pictures from Lesbos in a couple of days.

And if you are involved in a similar refugee support activity, let us know and we will share it, too!

We want to see these children smile and laugh again!

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Scouts and Guides contributing to refugee support activities in their local communities in Europe (10): a story from Klagenfurt, Austria:

“We just wanted to make these children smile and laugh again”, says Monika, from the Kärtner Pfadfinder und Pfadfinderinnen (the Association of Scouts and Guides of Carinthia, a member of Pfadfinder und Pfadfinderinnen Österreichs).

“That’s why we have joined a group of other volunteers from different local community organisations, including Caritas Kärnten, the Hilfswerk Kärnten and the Carinthian branch of the Muslimische Jugend Österreichs.”

“We are happy that Scouts, Guides and Leaders from different Carinthian Scout and Guide Groups make available their time, enthusiasm and skills running regular afternoons of playing, drawing, and other activities with children and young people of refugee families in one of the refuges centres in Klagenfurt, capital city of Carinthia.”

If you are involved in a similar refugee support activity, let us know and we will share it, too!

Let’s invite our new neighbours and meet the refugees!

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Scouts and Guides contributing to refugee support activities in their local communities in Europe (9): a story from Freistadt, Austria:

“When we realised that a growing number of refugee families were given accommodation in and around our city and that their daily routine was anything but varied, we spontaneously decided to invite our new neighbours to sepd an afternoon with us.

Some twenty refugees currently live in a former customs building, literally miles away from the city and due to the secluded location of their lodgings particularly dependent on external support and accompaniment.

Our invitation went to these families in particular but also to other refugees staying elsewhere in Freistadt. And so, one sunny late summer day, some fifty children, young people and their families turn up at our Scout Hall and were met by many members of our local Freistadt Scout and Guide Group (member of the Scout and Guide Association of Upper Austria).

We all spent a wonderful afternoon together, with barbecue, games and other activities. And we listened to the sometime incredible stories about the challenges our guests had encountered on their journeys from their former homes in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and other countries.

The hours went by too quickly and looking back the afternoon had not just provided the refugees a welcome change in their otherwise dull routine but allowed us, the local Scouts and Guides to understand better the situation these children, youngsters, women and men had found themselves in eventually making them refugees. We have gained a group of new friends!”

If you want to share a similar story about your association’s support activity for refugees in Europe, let us know and we will publish it, too!

Les Scouts et Guides en France s’engagent pour les réfugiés!

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Les Scouts et Guides contribuent aux activités de soutien aux réfugiés dans leurs communautés en Europe (8): voici deux récits de France:

– Cinq membres de la Branche Compagnons de Scouts et Guides de France Angers Avrillé passent leur camp dans la jungle de Calais avec les réfugiés: http://scout.org/node/106501
– Le Groupe Scout de Cergy du Territoire du Val d’Oise – Scouts et Guides de France (Scouts et Guides de France, membre de l’OMMS et de l’AMGE) accueille François Hollande pour un après-midi avec les réfugiés: http://scout.org/node/106496

Si vous voulez également partager un récit de votre activité organisée en soutien des réfugiés dans votre communauté locale en Europe, contactez nous et nous le publions aussi!

European Scouts and Guides engage in refugee support activities: let’s tell their stories!

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When the Coordinating Group of the European Regions of WAGGGS and WOSM met the other weekend, the current situation of refugees and the manifold support actions by Scouts and Guides as members of their local communities was one of the issues discussed. The Coordinating Group is very conscious of the human tragedy unveiling. While we share and tell the stories of the great work being undertaken by Guiding and Scouting, we should be coordinated and compassionate so as to not exploit those suffering. Long-term community work will be very important to empower people.

It was agreed that a sort of “clearing house” on europak-online.net, the website jointly managed by the two Regions, would be a useful tool to featuring examples of what Scouts and Guides contribute to refugee support activities in their local communities in Europe. Associations already engaged in such activities would have a larger audience for their projects and featured projects might inspire other associations to start their own activity.

This communication platform is now available and we invite all Scout and Guide Associations in the European Regions of WAGGGS and WOSM to share their stories, images and resource kits for the benefit of the two Movements.

Sharing of relevant news (in text and image) and resources
Anyone visiting the joint website europak-online.net will be able to click on a new, prominently placed banner see all relevant content on one single page

Content Management
A simple form has been created to facilitate the editorial managment of proposed stories. Following our regular practice, there will normally be no publication of a story without prior agreement from the concerned association.

We are looking forward to receiving and subsequently sharing widely many stories featuring examples of what Scouts and Guides contribute to refugee support activities in their local communities in Europe!

Read the relevant Joint Ciruclar issued by the European Regions of WAGGGS and WOSM in English and French!

#ScoutGuideSupport #Refugees

RefugeeSupport

The European Regions of WOSM (EuroScoutInfo) and WAGGGS (Europe Region) have started to publish stories from National Scout Orgnisations (WOSM) and Member Organisations (WAGGGS) in the European Region featuring examples of what Scouts and Guides contribute to refugee support activities in their local communities in ‪#‎Europe‬.
Only one click to see what other associations are doing to get inspired: http://www.europak-online.net/category/refugee-support/
And it’s really simple to share your own story: http://goo.gl/forms/xpi8wDLbRO!