“When we meet the young people in our work we see very resourceful individuals, but often they carry with them feelings of loneliness and longing for their near and dear ones”

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Lina Börjesson and her colleague Suzan Sharif at Individuell Människohjälp (IM) in Göteborg that work with Barn i väntan & Barn i start (translated to Children in waiting and children starting). Biv/Bis is one of several work areas within IM that is directed towards children and young people recently having arrived in Sweden. The project is based on support groups that aim to increase understanding of one’s new life situation, as well as providing tools on how to deal with it.

–          How is Biv/Bis unique?

The participants are supported through meeting others in a similar situation and to share their experiences with one another in a safe environment. The work carried out in the groups is drawn from a pedagogical model based on several different themes, where each theme is connected to the situation as a newcomer. During the meetings the participants are encouraged to use different forms of expression such as art, role play, discussions and pedagogical exercises. Joining a support group is valuable in many different ways. One learns a lot about oneself and others in a surrounding characterised by care and predictability, one is able to talk about things that otherwise may not be given space in everyday life and be given the sentiment that one is not alone.

–         Where can one find you?

Biv/Bis is active in different areas in the country, for example in Malmö, Lund, Botkyrka, in Småland and in Göteborg. The different representations are organised differently and have different work partners. In Göteborg Biv/Bis is part of IM’s local work. financed by Göteborg’s Municipality.

–          What is the most important thing you have learned from this work?

When meeting children and young people that have arrived alone in Sweden it is clear that they are heterogenous group consisting of individuals with different backgrounds and dreams and aspirations. One thing they have in common however is that they despite their young age have gone through very difficult situations and periods in their lives. When we meet the children and young people in our work we see very resourceful individuals, but often they carry with them feelings of loneliness and longing for their near and dear ones. At the same time they are characterised by their age, their thoughts, feelings, behaviour, and concerns connected to their age groups, no matter where in the world you come from.

–          What tips can you give for someone that wants to get involved?

To get involved on a voluntary basis is very easy! There are so many great projects and organisations and if you have your own ideas about what’s missing or what ought to be proved in society, such initiatives are very welcome. All you need to do is to look into how much time you can spend on your involvement since different voluntary jobs take up different amounts of time. So tryto find something that matches your own situation. This puzzle is worth calculating as a volunteer since the work often is more rewarding than the amount of effort you have to put in to it.

–          How can someone that recently has arrived in Sweden get in touch with you?

If you want to contact us you can either send an e-mail, text (SMS) or call. If you need an interpreter we will call you back with the help of one. Our contact information is available at our website http://www.biv.nu/ or http://www.manniskohjalp.se

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