Syrian Refugee Scouts Take Possession of Their Scout House in Turkey
Ever since the wars in Syria started, Turkey has been welcoming large numbers of refugees, many of whom continue to stay in refugee camps in the southern border region of the country.
“Among the many children and young people living in refugee camps are some 4500 Syrian Scouts”, explains Tahir, from the Scouting and Guiding Federation of Turkey (TİF, Türkiye İzcilik Federasyonu, WOSM’s National Scout Organisation in Turkey). “In each of the camps, we have helped open Scout Groups, trained Leaders and encouraged children and young people to join the groups, who can benefit from a variety of Scout Programme activities. This provides a welcome break in the otherwise monotone routine in the refugee camps and helps the young people forget the atrocities of war in their home country.”
One example is the Scout Group operating in the Boynuyoğun Refugee Camp which is one of the largest camps situated in the district of Merkez, in the province of Hatay.
“When the governor of Hatay Province learned about our association’s support of the Syrian Scout Group at the Boynuyoğun Refugee Camp”, remembers Tahir, “he approached our Chief Scout, who happens to be a good friend, and offered his help.”
“What to you need to ensure sustainability of your work”, the governor wondered. “A proper meeting place would be very helpful”, was our answer. A permanent venue where the Scouts could meet and run their activities.
And so, with the help of the governor, a suitable building was identified in the area and after some refurbishments the “Boynuyoğun Scout House” was handed over this month.
The new Scout house will be the local base for the Syrian Scout Group, whose members are supporting us with the work with and for the children, young people and their families staying at refugee camps in the area.
The Scouting and Guiding Federation of Turkey also cooperates with the Syrian Scouts in Syria, where they provide valuable support to enable the running of Scout Programme activities in several regions of the country.
Contribution to text and (c) image: Türkiye İzcilik Federasyonu 2017