Scouts in Brazil take a stand for migrant youth and families from Venezuela

 

A BackStage Story by the Scout Donation Platform

Amid a deepening economic crisis in Venezuela, hundreds of people are crossing the border into northern Brazil every day in search of a better future.

Now, Scouts from across Brazil are setting up troops for the migrants in the state of Roraima that borders Venezuela to welcome young migrants into the movement and help them settle in.

In this month’s BackStage Story, Denise Rosseto, tells us about how the project started, and why the Scouts are helping their Venezuelan neighbours. 

Hi Denise, tell us about yourself

My name is Ilka Denise Rosseto Gallego Campos. I am the second vice-president of the Scouts of Brazil and the strategic management director. Professionally, I am a biologist and educator, having taught for many years and worked in teaching institutes.

When was the moment you decided something needed to be done about the situation involving the Venezuelan migrants?

The national executive board of Scouts of Brazil was concerned about the young people’s situation, following a series of news reports in the Brazilian press in March about the conditions endured by Venezuelan migrants in Roraima. As we offer non-formal education to this age group and expect to contribute to a better world where people can realise their dreams as individuals and take a constructive role in society, we couldn’t ignore what was happening to our Venezuelan friends. We decided to start Integra Roraima to offer Scouting to them and give them hope for a better future.

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How many volunteers are involved in this project?

The national executive board, made up of eight people, plus three Scout leaders from Roraima are involved with the project. We hope to work with at least 40 young people to begin with.

Why is this project so important for Scouts in Brazil?

We can’t practice Scouting detached from the community in which we are based. We are involved with social factors and we can’t ignore the situation in our country as a result of this migration. Among the migrants we have youths living in vulnerable situations, which we think can be addressed through Scouting. Our method and Scout programme have a lot to offer and contribute because of their educational elements. The idea is to open troops and Cub packs so we can offer Scouting in the camps where they are living.

What are the main challenges the project is facing now?

There are many challenges: the language factor, the fact that they speak Spanish and most of them can’t find places in public schools where they could learn Portuguese; the need for financial resources to implement and expand the project; acceptance of the migrants by the local community; and Roraima’s location in Brazil, away from the big centres and our national office.

What are your plans for this project?

The next step is to get the first Scout unit in Roraima started, and after that, more units. We expect the Scout units to evaluate the work that is being done and hope to conclude that we are making a difference in the lives of these youths. We have in the Scout Method the tools to follow-up individually with each of those involved. This way, we can learn a lot from this experience.

How has the project affected your life?

The happiness that comes with the possibility of serving and offering to those youths the opportunity of better lives, through their own development in different areas and the ability to integrate them into society, respecting their rights as people.

 
 

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