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!