Members collect more than 5000 pairs of shoes for refugees in time for Refugee Week

198b-edinburgh-guides-caitlin-amy-lara-and-emma-sm-4-girlsGirlguiding Scotland members have stepped-up to collect 5,600 pairs of shoes and socks for refugees fleeing the ongoing crisis in Syria, Lebanon and Greece in time for Refugee Week, 20 – 26 June 2016.

Girls from across Scotland were inspired to support the Step in my Shoes project, run in partnership with Edinburgh Cares, after hearing about the difficult and dangerous conditions many refugees face as they try to reach safety.

This girl-led project was planned and organised by a group of young women working towards their Queen’s Guide Award – the highest award you can earn in guiding. The group set themselves the ambitious target of collecting 3,000 pairs of shoes – which equates to one for every Rainbow, Brownie, Guide or Senior Section unit in Scotland.

However, thanks to an overwhelming response from Girlguiding Scotland members the group has smashed their original target in time for Refugee Week, which star on Monday 20 June, by collecting 5,600 shoes and counting.

Lesley-Ann Robertson, age 23, who helped organise the project, said:

“When we learned that refugees were making long and dangerous journeys with unsuitable footwear – and sometimes no shoes at all – we knew we wanted to do something practical to help.

“We realised that the shoes we had in the back of our wardrobes could make a huge difference to someone’s life.

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the response from units across Scotland. It’s fantastic to see other Girlguiding Scotland members getting behind this project and feeling as empowered to make change as I am.”

Since the project launched in April, thousands of donations have poured in from units with shoes coming from as far as the Western Isles and Thurso, a journey of more than 300 miles to the drop off point.

As well as donating shoes and socks girls wrote messages of encouragement and support to the refugees who will receive their shoes.

Molly, age 12, from 2nd Lockerbie Guides, said:

“At Guides we do lots of things to help other people. I liked being part of the Step in my Shoes project because I felt I was using my voice and making a difference.”

“I got to write a message to the girl who will get my shoes – I hope when she sees them she’ll know that there are lots of people around the world who care and want her to be safe.”

Sue Walker, Chief Commissioner for Girlguiding Scotland, said:

“I’m delighted Girlguiding Scotland members have come together to make a real difference to refugees through this ambitious social action project.

“It’s fantastic to see our girls and young women using their voices and taking action to help others around the world. I’m sure their donated shoes and messages of support will bring comfort to thousands of refugees as they journey to safety.”