Monday 17 December 2012
Scouts lend ShelterBox a helpful handScouts helping ShelterBox set up tents in Madagascar for cyclone survivors, 2012.
ShelterBox has a history of working with scouts worldwide on deployments. This year both organizations helped deliver new homes to families in need in Brazil, Peru, Niger and Madagascar.
Scouts from three different Brazilian states traveled great distances to assist a ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) in providing emergency shelter to families made homeless by floods and mudslides in January.
Thirty scouts from Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Minas Gerais joined forces with the SRT and local volunteers to help put up ShelterBox tents in the devastated areas of Japamapará and Além Paraíba. In two swelteringly hot days, tents became homes for around 70 families.
Lesson for life
Lais Henriques de Mattos, a scout from Rio de Janeiro, was very moved to know she was a part of an effort that is changing the lives of people who lost everything: "This is the first time I have had contact with people directly affected by a disaster, it is a lesson for life."
Scout leader, Fabricio Gabriel said the Scouts of Brazil were very proud to be working with ShelterBox: "We brought hope, dignity and a little bit of comfort to families who have lost almost everything."
SRT member, David Hatcher (UK) showing the contents of a box to flood survivors, Brazil, 2012.
Local scouts also helped SRTs bring shelter to displaced families in Madagascar's various remote villages in March, following Cyclones Giovanna and Irina that drenched parts of the country and left hundreds of thousands of people homeless.
The eastern coast town of Brickaville and its surrounding area was one of the worst affected regions where floodwaters and landslides damaged thousands of homes.
Paul Martial Raseda, a village leader from Fokontany Tanandava, said: "I am personally very thankful for the help provided by ShelterBox to my village and I'd like to praise the involvement of the scouts in helping putting up our new homes for our families."
Boys and girls from three local scout groups also assisted in ShelterBox's efforts in Peru in May in response to flooding in Peru's Amazonian Iquitos region.
SRT member Alan Monroe (US), an Eagle Scout himself, explained the importance of scout involvement in the deployment: "Service to one’s country is a value shared by Scouts worldwide and I was able to see it first hand with the Scouts of Peru. When there was a need for volunteers, they showed up in force to help set up a tent camp and worked side by side with the villages that received the aid. To start out the day, the Scouts lined up and sang the villagers a song to lift spirits and get ready for the hard work ahead.
Scouts helping ShelterBox set up camps for flood survivors, Brazil, 2012.
"It made me proud to work with my Scouting brothers and sisters in Peru to help people during their greatest time of need. I still have the neckerchief that the Scout leader gave to me at the end of the day’s work. It was one of those gifts that you cherish from a deployment."
In October, over 1,700 people needed emergency shelter in Niger after their mudbrick homes literally dissolved in the extensive flooding that hit the Niamey region.
The Niamey Region Commissioner organized a team of Scouts and Scout leaders within 12 hours of being contacted by ShelterBox.
"They worked hard every day for a week to build over 200 of the 291 tents sent to Niger in temperatures of well over 37°C/100°F," commented SRT member, David Hatcher (UK). "Their efforts were an inspiration to the villagers we helped. These Niamey Scouts and their leaders epitomized the commitment to helping others that is the heart of what drives Scouting across the world."