The aim of the “Hello Sweden!” campaign is, amongst other things, to change negative attitudes towards young people who are forced to flee to Sweden. We want to tell the real stories behind the statistics. We hope that the stories illustrate that these children have their own personal history and a life before they were forced to flee, a family who wants the best for them, dreams for the future, and that there’s a context that stretches far beyond Sweden’s borders.
On the website you’ll find the engaging and emotional stories of young people who have fled their home countries and come as unaccompanied minors to Sweden to build a new life. These are suited to be used as examples in your lessons.
There is no war, no threat
We’re sitting at a café at Stockholm Central Station. Ali sips his tea and points at the well-known “ring”.
“I came down there”, he says. “There were people everywhere, and a lot of them were running.” He smiles as he remembers. “Everyone talked funny. Everything was different. I was happy, but scared. What would I do now? What if one of the people was a civilian police and they arrested me?”Read the whole story here
Most of all I miss my mum
My name is Mirwais and I come from Kabul in Afghanistan. I was born in 1989 and have a mother, a father, a little sister, and a little brother. My mum is a doctor and my dad was active in a political party.
In Afghanistan I had a good life, if you compare it with many others’ who couldn’t go to school. I attended a private school where I studied a lot of Mathematics and English. Sometimes in Afghanistan, you have to do a lot of exams all on the same day, which is why I also studied extra.
When I was 11, I also started working in a bike shop. In the beginning I started by cleaning the shop, but after a while I got to help repair bicycles. I liked my job, but my father preferred me to come home and study. Then, the problems came. I didn’t have many friends, but there were several gangs that wanted me to hang out with them. They had knives and often started fights. But I didn’t want to go with them.Read the whole story here
I only had one chance to flee
My name is Hanfare and I come from Eritrea. I left my mother there in December, 2010. My father is dead. He died in the war against Ethiopia.
In Eritrea everything was so different to Sweden. My mother and I had no electricity, just a kerosene lamp, and sometimes we didn’t have enough money to buy kerosene. At my school there weren’t any desks, or chairs, or books. We sat on tin barrels. I belong to the Afar people. In Eritrea, many people think that Afar people are all nomads, and that’s why we get called “farmers”. There are nine clans and nine different languages in Eritrea. That’s why I think children should be taught at an early age to respect one another.
After secondary school, everyone in Eritrea has to do military service. My mother had a brother who did military service and never came back. Nobody knows what happened to him. My mother didn’t want to take the risk that the same thing might happen to me. Because my father is dead, I’m the only person she’s got. That’s why I had to flee to my uncle in Yemen.If I’d been caught fleeing from military service, I would probably have been jailed and killed. This is why I only had one chance to flee.Read the whole story here
The ones who helped us were killed
My name is Palwasha and this is my story.
In Afghanistan, my parents were teachers and they were politically active. When the Taliban came to power in 1996, they took us to a camp somewhere between Kabul and Parwan. The women and men were separated from each other, and it took 7 years before I saw my father again. The camp was awful, but there were about 40 of us who managed to escape out the back when it was dark. I remember that we ran through mud and water. My mother dragged us and said that we had to be quiet. I know that the people who stood guard for us when we escaped were killed. I have pretty terrible memories from my childhood. The nicer memories disappear more quickly.Read the whole story here
After long, dangerous journeys, Ali, Reza, Mortaza, Aster, Hanna, Amin, and Hadi arrived in Sweden as unaccompanied minors. Some are allowed to stay, others aren’t. In the prize-winning series produced by UR (the Swedish Educational Broadcasting Company) we get to follow 7 young people who have left everything. Read more here.See “Unaccompanied Minors” at UR.se