Martin Schulz visits Galatsi Refugee Camp (GR): Thank you for your valuable service!

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Scouts and Guides contributing to refugee support activities in their local communities in Europe (31): a story from Σώμα Ελληνων Προσκόπων (the Scouts of Greece).

Earlier this month, Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, accompanied by Yiannis Mouzalas, Greek Alternate Minister for Migration Policy, and Nikos Xydakis, Greek Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs, visited the Galatsi Olympic Sports Centre to make himself familiar with the situation at this large refugee centre near Athens (Greece).

President Schultz toured the facilities and spoke with a number of adults and refugee children who are temporarily staying at the Sports Hall, which had been converted into a refugee camp in September. Speaking to reporters, Schulz thanked the Greek government and the local authorities “for the enormous effort being made”, and also praised the valuable efforts of volunteers “who provide a wonderful service”.

Scouts from Σώμα Ελληνων Προσκόπων (the Scouts for Greece, members of WOSM) and other volunteers met with Schulz and journalists and talked about the living conditions at the camp and the ways in which citizens can contribute.

Mariana Fragkou explains the involvement of her association at the Galatsi Refugee Camp: “Since the beginning of October, volunteer helpers from the Scouts of Greece have been offering their services here at the Galatsi Olympic Sports Centre where refugees are hosted, in cooperation with the Municipality of Galatsi and the Greek Ministry of Interior and Administrative Reconstruction.” (See also our previous story here on

On a daily basis, Scouts provide a series of services demonstrating their wide range of skills:

– Managing volunteers, Scouts and members of the general public;
– Receiving, classifying and distributing wardrobe items to refugees;
– Organising and handling the catering service;
– Receiving, classifying and distributing canned food and cleaning materials to refugees;
– Supervising the cleaning of public spaces and sanitary facilities;
– Preparing and offering two daily meals for 200 children each time;
– And creating sign posts in several languages to help refugees find their way.

Mariana also has some impressive statistics: “During this past month, 306 adult Leaders and 75 Rover Scouts have offered a total of some 3854 hours of voluntary service: if you calculated the hour at EUR 18 the Scouts’ volunteer service so far totals at some EUR 70 000!

The Greek Scouts have indicated that they would continue to actively contribute to the refugee support activities at the Galatsi Olympic Sports Centre at least till the end of November.

=> Watch this TV coverage of President Schulz’ visit:

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Text and images: Scouts of Greece 2015