A US Christian group named Hope Scouts has released a video on social media, outlining its aim to clean and reconstruct “one of Glasgow’s industrial wastelands”. American siblings Aina and Ferran Rivas have started a GoFundMe page to finance their rescue mission, which has already raised $1,215 through 25 donations, and aim to visit Glasgow in June.
Hope Scouts, a programme of Hope Worldwide, describes itself as “a group of children that seeks to enhance the lives of people in need by providing community based services through activities that will foster a spirit of teamwork and friendship”.
Hope Worldwide is an American based charity founded in 1991 which created HIV/AIDS clinics in the Ivory Coast and a medical clinic in Mexico City for children without access to healthcare. They believe that they are called upon by Biblical Scriptures to help the poor, sick, and suffering throughout the world. Part of the International Church of Christ, they now operate in 80 countries.
In the video, the siblings say: “You probably haven’t heard of the Glasgow Effect, Scientist have tried to explain how high levels of poverty, high levels of stress and a culture of alienation and pessimism could have led to this. Nowadays, one third of the children living in the city are estimated to be living in poverty”
“This is where Hope Youth Corps comes in, for two weeks we will be part of a cleaning and reconstruction effort for one of Glasgow’s industrial wastelands, but more importantly we participate with local youths sharing a message of hope and good will and energy and enthusiasm, this could turn the situation around.”
Their video has been met with backlash by Glaswegians, who have called the video offensive as it represents Glasgow in a disparaging way.
Janey Godley posted on the GoFundMe page: “We have a vibrant healthy amazing city, we just hosted the Commonwealth games, the images shown in this video are generic and some aren’t even in Glasgow. The pictures of the building half demolished are part of the new housing scheme where new houses already stand. I am not saying we don’t have poverty, job issues and health problems but probably less than Detroit which is closer to these kids. I am stunned my city is being presented as a near third world country…USA has more problems than us due to the larger scale.”
Emily Anne posted on the page: “You mean well I am sure but frankly your video showing photos of 1990 Glasgow is offensive.”