Micha (17, a Scout from Damascus): Thank you for your warm welcome on the shores of Europe!

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Scouts and Guides contributing to refugee support activities in their local communities in Europe (37): a story from Kratigos Beach south of Mytilene on Lesbos (GR)

Scouts from the 2nd Mytilene Scout Group and the 3rd Mytilene Sea Scout Group, both members of Ελληνικός Προσκοπισμός (the Scouts of Greece, a member of the World Organization of the scout Movement), spent another eventful day on the Kratigos coast, situated south of the town of Mytilene, capital city of the Greek island of Lesbos.

They had just arrived at the beach when they witnessed the arrival of dozens of rubber dinghies with hundreds of refugees and migrants who had sailed across the sea from the opposite Turkish coast.

Without hesitation, they catered for the tired passengers, including many children and young people, by helping them disembark and reach a safe place on the shore, taking off their lifejackets, giving them something to drink and something to eat.

Expressing the refugees’ gratitude was Micha (17 years old), a Scout from Damascus in Syria, who thanked the Greek Scouts for the warm welcome in Europe, a true image of solidarity and Scouting spirit.

Once the refugees had left the beaches for the refugee registration centre, the Scouts spent the remainder of the day cleaning the area of tons of waste, including hundreds of lifejackets and remains of large rubber dinghies. While gathering the debris was relatively easy, it involved more efforts to get all waste from the beach high up to the coast road for subsequent collection.

Beach cleaning has become a regular feature in the weekly programme activities of the Scouts with the number of refugees and migrants transiting through the island of Lesbos now 500,000 since the beginning of 2015. And it is likely to remain an important part of the refugee and migrant support activities the local Scouts are involved in.

This activity was made possible thanks to support received from the World Scout Foundation.

Contributing to the text: Stratis Balaskas, Scouts of Lesbos
More images of this particular activity: http://on.fb.me/1kshEdC