Scouts Support Refugees and Families Fleeing Ukraine Across Borders

16 Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
Scouting and Humanitarian Action
European Scout Region's picture
by European Scout ... from Switzerland
Publication date: 11th Mar 2022

Since the conflict in Ukraine began, Scouts and National Scout Organizations (NSOs) in European neighbouring countries have been working tirelessly to welcome and provide shelter and support to those fleeing the country. 

 

Scout volunteers in countries bordering Ukraine are providing immediate relief to refugees by distributing supplies and primary goods, and transporting them to Scouts Centers converted into shelters. Many volunteers have mobilised to work at refugee registration reception points, both directly at border crossings, as well as throughout Ukraine.

 

In Poland, the Polish Scouting and Guiding Association (ZHP) has been engaged in providing help to people being affected by the conflict by displaying great solidarity. 

“We have established a task force consisting of all ZHP regional commissioners, national board members and other volunteers to answer the needs as best as possible, “ said Monika Dreik, International Commissioner of ZHP.  “We are working in to coordinate logistics, technical support, programmeactivities, and communication and international coordination. We have called the action ‘ZHP for Ukraine’ and it aims at coordinating all humanitarian aid activities being led by Scouts in Poland.”

 

 

Together with the National Scout Organization, local volunteers are also lending a helping hand where they are needed most. 

"I help because as a woman, as a mother, as a Girl Guide, I want to be sure that I have done everything in my power to help others," said Katarzyna, a volunteer supporting relief efforts of Scouts in Poland.  

 

"My Scouting service for past few days has taken on a different dimension. I feel that I am doing what I should be doing - it's such an inner urge to act and help as much as I can!” said Albin, a young Scout volunteering with ZHP in the bordering areas.  

 

In the period after the conflict broke out, ZHP launched an online platform called “Scouts4Scouts” to connect Ukrainian Scouts and their families fleeing the war with Scouts in Poland who can offer to give them a shelter and a safe place to stay. 

 

ZHP is also promoting a social media campaign - “ZHP for Ukraine” - to provide a safe space for individuals to exchange experiences and inspirational messages. These online efforts, together with a dedicated website, is ensuring that Scouts, volunteers and leaders have critical information, updates and advice to better coordinate response efforts.

Scouts of Slovakia have also being strongly involved in urgent humanitarian relief. Currently there are 471 volunteers registered at the initiative promoted by Slovenský Skauting, working at the border crossings of Vyšné Nemecké, Ubľa and in the refugee camps in Humenné and Vranov nad Topľou. 

 

Scouts are welcoming people arriving from Ukraine, coordinating efforts with other organisations, serving food, distributing basic necessities, and organising Scouting activities and games for children and young people. The Slovakian response by volunteers has also extended across the border into Ukraine, where some Scouts managed to reach a neutral zone in the country to hand over deliveries of medicines, food, water and shelter supplies. 

 

At the local level, many Scout units in towns and villages throughout Slovakia are helping to sort donations, coordinatelogistics, and provide accommodation in Scout Centres.

 "As Scouts, we are always there to support the other - especially in difficult situations when we can demonstrate our utmost commitment," shared Jakub, a young volunteer engaged with Slovakian Scouts.

In Romania, with the support of more than 230 Scout volunteers, Cercetașii României is offering guidance at the border and online to hundreds of families and individuals entering the country. 

 

Romanian volunteers are mainly working at the most transited border crossings in coordination with the local authorities and doing shifts at refugees centres. Additionally, a transportation system has been arranged to take refugees away from the border and provide them with accommodation in various cities across Romania. 

Medicines and medical equipment has also been collected and delivered to Ukraine along with non-perishable products, hygiene items and clothes shipped to the nearby Republic of Moldova to support  Ukrainian refugees being hosted in that country.  

 

Scouts continue to coordinate daily collection, transport and distribution of supplies at eight collection points in the country, while helping to carry out the logistics of seven refugee centers with information support, eateries and equipment for the camps.  

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