Refugees Welcome! The Lower Rhine Region is Colourful!

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Scouts and Guides contributing to refugee support activities in their local communities in Europe (23): a story from Xanten, Germany

Last month, an unused building the city of Xanten, in Northrhine-Westphalia, Germany, had decided to open for refugees was victim of an arson attack. This incident was at the origin of an event the local DPSG Niederrhein-Nord Scout District (member of DPSG – Deutsche Pfadfinderschaft Sankt Georg and the World Organization of the Scout Movement) organised this Sunday. Together with other civil society associations (including the Flüchtlingshilfe Xanten, the Jugendkulturwerkstatt eXit and neighbouring Scout Districts), the Scouts decided to show everybody that the Lower Rhine Region (Region Niederrhein) is colourful and open to welcoming people seeking refuge from atrocities in their countries.

And more than 600 people answered the call. Dressed in colourful cloths and equipped with flags and posters claiming “Refugees Welcome” and “The North Rhine Region is coulourful”, they assembled in Xanten’s market square on Sunday afternoon.

When looking at the colourful crowd in front of him, District Commissioner Christoph Fromont felt that this was an incredible picture, really showing that the Region was open and diverse: “Each bad news, like the recent arson attack of the future refugee centre in xanten, should be countered by plenty of positive, encouraging story. This is what we have achieved. And this is why we have called for this gathering!”

“The willingness to welcoming refugees to the Lower Rhine Region does not stop with the distribution of flyers and the wearing of ‘Refugees Welcome’ tee-shirts. No, that’s just the beginning!” he added, “Let us eliminate fear and encourage encounters.”

The gathering ended with the more than symbolic building of a colourful human cordon (measuring several hundreds of meters) around the partially destroyed building, which will soon be the new home for refugees in Xanten. And as a strong signal of the city’s colourfulness and hospitality many people decorated fences and railings with scarves, shawls and handkerchiefs of all shapes and colours.

(contributing to the text & (c) image: DPSG Bezirk Niederrhein-Nord)

Read a full story in the regional newspaper rp-online.

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