NEWS

August 21, 2019

FROM DADAAB REFUGEE CAMP IN KENYA TO THE WORLD SCOUT JAMBOREE IN THE U.S.

Fourteen-year-old Kok Matim, from South Sudan, participated in the 24th World Scout Jamboree and showcased how scouting can empower refugees through education

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Bear Grylls, television presenter and Chief Ambassador for World Scouting. Ban Ki Moon, former United Nations Secretary and Good Will Ambassador for Scouts. Andy Rabens, U.S. Department of State Special Advisor for Global Youth Issues. These are only a few “personalities” fourteen-year-old Kok Matim had the opportunity to meet while attending the 24th World Scout Jamboree in West Virginia between July 22 and August 2.

A South Sudanese Boy Scout living in Dadaab Refugee Camp, Kok was chosen by the Kenya Scouts Association to participate in the Jamboree to showcase how Scouting can empower refugees through education, skills development, community service and citizenship activities. The event reunited more than 40,000 young people and adults from 170 countries and inspired them to take action toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals through the theme Unlock a New World.

Thirteen-year-old Kok Matim is among the over 1,043 Boy and Girl Scouts who participate in the Scouting for Refugees program run by AVSI Foundation in partnership with the Kenya Scouts Association in Dadaab refugee camp in Garissa County, Kenya. Over the last seven years, always funded by the U.S. State Department’s Bureau for Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM), the Scouting program has been providing life-changing opportunities, hope and a sense of belonging to thousands of children and young people. The World Scout Bureau has recently identified the Dadaab Scouting activity as a flagship refugee Scouting program in Africa.

“Scouting activities in Dadaab are excellent examples of what Scouts from everywhere could do for people, the planet, peace and prosperity,” said Stephen Peck, Senior Director with the World Scout Bureau Global Support Centre, after visiting Dadaab. “By allowing this boy to represent Scouting from Dadaab, thousands of other Scouts from different countries will be able to be inspired by their stories.”

“My dream is to go back to South Sudan and help reconstruct my home country,” says Kok, who is excited to participate in the 24th World Scout Jamboree. “I want to have fun, make friends, learn more about Scouting and the United States. Once I get back to Dadaab, I will share my experience with my friends, I’m learning so much about human diversity”

Kok flew to Kenya with his mother and siblings in 2014 from Duk, South Sudan, after his village was attacked by a group of rebels and many villagers were killed. Until he moved to Dadaab refugee camp, Kok had never gone to school. He would stay home helping his father with their carpentry shop. The first school Kok attended was Friends Primary School, in Dadaab, one of the schools in the refugee camp that AVSI has been supporting for the last seven years.

“This is a significant achievement,” celebrates Henry Waitindi, Program Manager and Head of Dadaab Office for Refugee Emergency and Relief Operations and Development at AVSI Foundation, a Scout Leader himself. “At AVSI, we support youth development, which is a principle we share with the Scout movement, and this is why we have continued to support Scouting activities in Dadaab.”​

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