"Today, on World Refugee Day, and every day, we invite you to take action by creating a safe and welcoming environment for those who were forced to leave their homes. Let’s show that support for refugees does not need to be a grand gesture, but can be as simple as providing a warm meal, organising a game for children, or just a friendly chat and a welcome to a new community. These simple actions create the foundation for a better future. In Scouting, we stand with refugees.” Ahmad Alhendawi, Secretary General, World Organisation of the Scout Movement.
With more than 13 million children and youth under the age of 18 displaced from their homes and living as refugees around the world, the need for social and youth movements to mobilize and extend support to those in need has never been more critical.
As the world’s largest educational youth movement of over 50 million young people around the world, the Scout Movement works in difficult circumstances to create a welcoming environment for people of all backgrounds, integrating vulnerable communities, including refugees into its educational programmes and activities, through a large network of volunteers.
In place after place, from Kenya’s Dadaab Refugee Camp to the Hatay province in southern Turkey, Scouts have welcomed refugees, migrants and displaced persons into Scouting as a way for young people to learn life skills, build self-confidence, and become leaders in their communities. In these places, Scouting is often the only form of education that young refugees receive.
“Scouting fills a gap that family and school do not. Scouts learn a set of skills that they do not necessarily learn in formal schooling such as how to interact with different communities, or how to lead and solve emerging problems,” said Mr. Nur, a Head Teacher at one of the primary schools in Dadaab Refugee Camp in Kenya.
Due to the inclusivity of Scouting, young people from different ethnicities and communities work hand-in-hand, engaging in a wide range of activities together and building connections with one another. With a heavy emphasis on promoting peace and inclusion through dialogue, Scouting provides a safe environment to young people affected by conflict.
Scouts support some of the most vulnerable in our human family in many ways: by volunteering at asylum centres, by providing support for people on the move, by contributing to relief work at camps, and by integrating refugee children into existing Scout groups.
And through the Messengers of Peace Initiative and Scouts for SDGs, with a focus on Goals 10 and 16 to reduce inequalities and promote peace, Scouting is increasing its efforts to reach more communities who have been displaced to enable them to pursue sustainable livelihoods, and to ensure that every young person is given the opportunity to thrive.