Scout Donation Platform provides support - and hope - for Scouts
In August last year, a fire ripped through one of the poorest districts of Malate in the capital of the Philippines, leaving two residents dead and 150 homes in ruins. People who had very little to begin with, found themselves with nothing at all. Among them were five young Scouts – who’d joined the Movement as part of the Asia Pacific Region’s Ticket to Life (TTL) programme.
“We lost everything to the fire,” recalls 12-year-old John Jazper R. Luna. “We didn’t have anything, even our things for school,” adds Jericho Z. Lumactod, 14, a Senior Scout.
The Philippines National Scout Organisation was determined to help them rebuild. Director of Educational Methods Syd Castillo put out a call on his personal Facebook page. So, did his wife, the TTL Manila Scout Troop Coordinator. But they knew that for the Scouts and their families to get the help they needed, they’d have to get the message to more people. Castillo turned to the Scout Donation Platform, which was just being prepared for launch.
“It was very good timing,” he said.
He crafted a request for $3,000, detailing the project’s needs on the site and adding some photos. “Operation PHOENIX” raised the entire sum in a matter of weeks, ensuring the Scouts immediate needs were met. “We were given clothing, food and the things we needed for school,” John Jazper explained. The Scout Donation Platform is just six months old, but it has already enabled Scouts across the globe to raise tens of thousands of dollars for issues that matter most to them – from bringing humanitarian relief to earthquake zones to improving their Scout huts, and even buying uniforms. Unlike other crowdfunding initiatives, Scouting’s platform doesn’t charge a fee, so all the money raised goes directly to the project. “We’ve been amazed at the response in such a short period of time,” said Luis Aguayo, consultant to the Scout Donation Platform.
“The platform allows Scouts to share and inspire others with their own story, and provides an opportunity for them to transform their ideas into reality, funding their projects and helping further Scouting’s vision of creating a better world for everyone.”
Since the launch at the World Scout Conference and World Scout Youth Forum in August last year, 28 National Scout Organisations have turned to the platform to raise money for 36 projects. Of those 12 have been successful, raising a total of $69,460. Four are ongoing. The projects that have worked have tended to share a number of themes – a compelling story, a well-crafted proposal and a realistic funding target. The Scouts of Lithuania decided the platform could help them get the money they needed to expand their Sea Scout programme. Their goal was ambitious; to not only build a new fleet of so-called “Optimists” – wooden dinghies that can be sailed solo by children up to the age of 15 – but also to ensure the boats could be easily transported so more young people would be able to join in with the Sea Scouts programme, and do so in safety. The Scouts quickly realised they’d need more than a year to complete the project, and that they’d need to cast their net wide if they were to secure the funding they needed
“It was too big to be funded only from one fund or platform,” said Jonas Dragunas, the Director of the Scout Valley, Scout Outdoor and Adventure Education Centre, who’s leading the campaign. “It needed to reach more people outside Lithuania.”
The team decided to split the project into two phases – first to build four boats and then, having shown the success of the first phase, another four boats. They requested $2,360 to start - enough to allow them to begin work on the first dinghies, which they planned to make out of locally-produced plywood. About 60 young people were involved in the boat building, supported by three international volunteers, and every week Dragunas brought in local Scouts and children from around the local villages to see what was happening. For each boat, they crafted the hulls, installed ropes and inside fittings and covered them with epoxy glue and paint – charting their progress on social media. This Spring they plan to make a custom frame so they’ll be able to move the Optimists around to different lakes and waterways. And once the weather’s warmed up, they aim to train more children in the basics of sailing. They discovered that putting the project on the platform also had a snowballing effect.
“It's always an amazing moment to get this big support,” added Dragunas.
“(But) a big surprise was how many people started to contact (us) asking for details of the project and offering their help.” Back in Manila, the young people of Malate weren’t only dealing with the fire. John Jazper’s mother was in hospital at the time of the blaze and died in intensive care only two days later. John Jazper and his 22-year-old brother John Rincent R. Luna, a Rover Scout, were devastated, but found comfort and support from their friends in Scouting.
“Because of Scouting, I gained a perspective in life,” John Rincent said,
remembering how his troop rallied around to help. “Even if I live in a place like this, not all people who live here are burdens to society or have no direction. Scouting has given me direction.” For John Jazper, Scouting meant he didn’t feel so alone. “I have never regretted joining,” he said. “I can say I have a large family now (even though) my Mum is no longer here.” The fundraising didn’t just provide money, perhaps, more importantly, it showed a group of disadvantaged young people that others cared.
“After the fire, when I got home, the only hope I had was my being a Scout,” said John Anthony Ruiz,
a 22-year-old Rover Scout. “I am a Scout. I can get through this. Because of the incident, and the people surrounding us, we have the confidence that we can overcome every problem. We just have to believe it.” Find out more about the Scout Donation platform at donate.scout.org