refugee crisis

“A Scout Seeks Justice For All” by Sinéad Callanan

As members of a global community, young people who have promised to be kind and brave, and, well, humans, we have all been affected by what has been happening in Syria and the wider world. How could we not be? We are supposed to be committed to ‘creating a better world’, and right now the world seems to be just falling apart around us.

But what can we do? It all seems so far away, and we can feel a bit helpless. But, as Scouts, it is our duty to ‘do our best’ to help. We are all part of the same global community. We have promised to help other people. The Scout Law tells us that we need to take action; Scouts are Kind, Scouts are Brave, Scouts Seek Justice for All. Clearly the time has come where just sympathy for refugees no longer cuts it – we must start living our law and promise.

Of course, Scouting Ireland, and indeed Ireland, might not exactly ‘be prepared’ for this crisis, but if we take the example of our fellow scouts around the world, we can still make a positive impact on the lives of refugees. For example, Scouts in Lebanon are giving relief and support to thousands of the Syrian refugees in their country. As well as providing them with basic supplies and services, the Scout Federation of Lebanon are working towards the integration of the refugees, and helping them to feel comfortable in their new country. Similarly, in Germany, Scouts are providing immediate relief (for example, scout troops are volunteering in refugee camps on a huge scale), and making plans for sustainable involvement in helping refugees to feel at home in Germany.

But I suppose you could still be asking, what can we do? Ireland, compared to Lebanon and Germany, won’t have nearly the same influx of refugees, and they haven’t even arrived yet. But there is still plenty we can contribute! First of all, we can talk about it. We can be vocal about our support for refugees coming to Ireland, and about our fellow Scouts helping elsewhere. We can start a discussion about how we will be able to help and encourage the refugees who do come to Ireland, and about how we could make Scouting accessible to them. We can talk to our friends, family, and even our younger members about it, and encourage them to explore and understand what is going on. The most important thing is that we do something.

For some ideas and inspiration on what we could do, and to get the conversation started, check out the Lebanese Scouts and ‘My tent is your tent’, and ‘Helping young people learn about refugees’.

Sinéad Callanan,

Monaleen/Milford 33rd/40th Limerick