Living the promise: Girls Guides and Girl Scouts supporting refugee children

30 Septiembre 2015
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With the recent escalation in the numbers of refugees fleeing conflict affected countries, Girl Guides and Girl Scouts have been reaching out and taking action in support of young people and their families whose lives have been affected.

As the World Board of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts meets in London in the Europe region, we send this global message of solidarity and welcome the actions taken by our Members to support people in need.

The actions include:

  • Providing immediate support to refugees in shelters across Europe
  • Providing supplies to refugee camps and settlements in Kuwait and running Girl Guides and  Girl scout units in refugee camps in Kenya, the Central African Republic and Lebanon
  • Working with displaced communities in the longer term to support their integration into their new communities

Taking actionLebanese Girl Guides Association and the Lebanese Girl Scouts association supporting the Syrian refugees

One of the many countries to show extraordinary generosity in hosting a large number of refugees from Syria is Lebanon, with over a million refugees to date registered with UNHCR living in some 1,200 communities across the country. Throughout the year, Lebanese Girl Guides and Girl Scouts have supported Syrian refugees by collecting food and clothes and organizing activities for children in camps and villages.

“Syria is in ruins and its people are on the run from a nightmare that seems to have no end, we as Lebanese know what it means to be in war and we as Girl Scouts have promised to help other people at all times. We have committed to a mission to enable girls to be responsible citizens of the world so it makes sense for our Girl Scouts to support the Syrian refugees to live in dignity as human beings.”
Sarine, Leader, Lebanon

“Seeing the huge number of displaced people and refugees running to find shelter in our country is heart-breaking; as Girl Guides we cannot stand still and not take any action. Seeing the joy in the eyes of these people with the little we have offered was so meaningful and overwhelming for all of us. We hope one day we will see them find stability and a better future.”
Rita Abboud, Leader, Lebanon

2015_Austria_Refugee CrisisGuides and Scouts in Austria have also been putting initiatives into place to support refugee children and their families. Austria has become a transit country for many refugees fleeing Syria, resulting in in thousands of people needing accommodation, food and security.  To help tackle these problems Guides and Girl scouts in Austria have been hosting refugees in their Guide and Scout houses, organising family days where they cook dinners, help maintain refugee accommodation by setting up large tents, helping sort through donated clothes and organising activities for refugee children.

“For Guides and Scouts, I think it's really important to help the refugees because 'helping other people' is one part of our promises and even one part of the Guide and Scout Law. We are a big youth organisation and we can activate and motivate our members in a really short time. When we do activities with refugee children, their parents even told me that they are so happy, seeing the children laughing and having a good time without worries for the first time in many weeks or even months. For me it was also a big experience. So I am absolutely happy that I had and will have the time to help the refugees and their kids and spend time with them.”

-Alexandra, Young leader Austria

Speaking out

2015_Girlguiding Montrose_Letter to David Cameron_Bethany Garden_Refugee Crisis_portrait

“I thought the letter would only be seen by the leaders of Montrose and the prime minister. I didn’t think anyone else would be interested. I am proud it is making a difference.” As well as Girl guides and Girl Scouts taking action on the ground, they are also speaking out about the crisis.  Bethany Garden from Girlguiding Scotland took direct action by writing a letter to the UK Prime Minister urging him to do more to support the refugees.

2015_Girlguiding Montrose_Letter to David Cameron_Bethany Garden_Refugee Crisis

How can you help?

With the heightened attention on the refugee situation, many girls and leaders are asking what they can do to add their support.

  • Take action to support refugees living in or recently arrived in your country
  • Add your voice to calls for tolerance and solidarity
  • Donate to organizations providing support in your own country or internationally

Speaking about the efforts of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts Nicola Grinstead – World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts World Board Chair said:

 “Throughout our history, our girls and leaders have shown their commitment to active citizenship when people have needed it most. From helping out in the aftermath of the Nepal earthquake earlier this year, to now supporting refugees in temporary shelters. I have been so inspired by the actions and expressions of support from our girls and leaders in so many countries, and proud of the contribution they have made over the years.”

Visit our Facebook page for updates from our Member Organizations supporting refugees.

28th September 2015

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