A summary of Red Cross activities in Malmö

… and how to get involved in a massive number of volunteering work in the city.

Since I moved to Sweden I started to think more and more about how and where to engage in some volunteer activities, and lately decided to take part to those organized by Swedish Red Cross organization, as here and especially in Malmö it is easy to see their presence in a lot of areas.

But before I start to tell you something about the Swedish Red Cross, I want to break the ice with a few reasons why I think you should take the big step and start volunteering!

Because there is a big need of it! And Sweden may be taken as a very good example, as it is known since many many years as an immigration country, which although a relative small population is doing much to make integration work. Is this falling from the sky you think? Of course not, it is both because of the lack of educated social workers and thanks to the big will of helping that big hearted Swedes have that led to a strong network of volunteer work.

Stop hoping and thinking and complaining about how things do not work and take the big move instead! One person cannot do everything but what may be a little difference may be the butterfly causing a hurricane! Well, in this case in a good way 😉

Because it will not only make other feel better but yourself as well! Moreover, you will realize things about yourself you may not have experienced otherwise.

It will contribute drastically to meet new people, socialize, getting to know how things work within the volunteer network, among the others. In case

It will make you aware of how besides finding a job which will pay your bills and all stuff, you should do your best to find something which really satisfy and complete your days 🙂

Last but not least, it gives you experience! And with this I do not only mean something which you can write in your cv! Volunteer work will make you aware of the possibilities available to help, and to focus your energies on something you really are fond of and for which you think you can really make a difference!

You think I should write some cons as well? Well, here to you two of them… 😉

You may never see the world as others do.

You may have troubles trying to make your schedule work. Once you will be into it you will want to do more and more!

One of the first things which may come to your attention when visiting a city in Sweden is the high number of second hand shops bringing the name of Red Cross, Humana, Emmaus, a few among many others.

Both the interest in an organization which was behind all these second-hand shops, the leaflets I saw in school, but also seeing how Red Cross was present in Stockholm after the terror attack in April, made me get more and more interested to join them!

Although I actually started my volunteering year last October becoming a mentor within the Nightingale mentoring program (organized through Malmö University), a few weeks ago I started to contact the different project responsible after I had read some leaflet on some message boards at university. Just in Malmö there are around twenty projects (verksamheter) to which contribute and take part as volunteers, mainly focused on integration, social development, health care, language sharing and first help groups.

“Malmö Kretsen” (Malmö Circuit) operates on five big operating areas, in turn including a number of activities. Those are called:

Health and Social Participation. Among those you have homework assistance, language cafes taking place in different libraries of the city. Meeting points for children, women, unaccompanied children are also included. Support for Homeless People. Soup kitchen, neutral support people, meeting point between addicts and supporting people. Association Development. Human Rights and Migration. These are the two which I am most interested to, including for example “folkrättsgruppen” through which refugees and other people in need can get legal advice. MASKA works with issues such as investigation, family reunification and return. Transit is a way to offer a human support to newly arrived refugees. Crisis and Disaster preparedness. Including the first help group which carries out an ideal emergency response group.

To start, I decided to take part in the project “Kul på Hjul”, (Fun on the Wheels) aimed at teaching – in a fun way – children how to bike safely. The first days we met where Monday and Tuesday, and next week I will volunteer a couple of times more. Our main task was that of playing some games with a group of 5 people each time, with cards showing traffic signs. A way not only to teach but also learn something you would not otherwise think about!

During August another opportunity will be available. Malmö is one of the cities hosting the Red Cross treatment center for war injured and tortured families, women and children. During summers summer camps in the nature are arranged through which participants can have a place where to find tranquillity and be with their relatives. In June a training weekend will be arranged so that one will be prepared to volunteer as a leader in the camp.

I hope I got you a bit interested in the topic of volunteering, a new post is hopefully coming soon about another association present in Malmö which supports unaccompanied children.

 

I Malmö möts vi – Hjälp till med integration!

Eller, att bli svensk kontakt person utan att vara svensk medborgare.

‘Men va!?’ kanske tänker ni. Nu ska jag berätta kort om vad det innebär att vara kontakt person inom “I Malmö möts vi” – som är kopplat till den sociala resursförvaltningen på Malmö kommun, som dessutom ger flera möjligheter att engagera sig ideellt.

Allt började för några månader sedan när jag skickade in en formulär för att bli kontaktperson/mentor till ett ensamkommande barn, fast jag fick svar om att det inte fanns behov av det då. Efter några veckor fick jag en till mail där någon frågade mig om de kunde skicka min dokumentation vidare eftersom det fanns behovet någonstans i Malmö. Bara för två dagar sedan blev jag kontaktad av “I Malmö möts vi” för en intervju i fredags kl17.00. Jag blev förvånad och väldigt glad och cyklade då till “Invandrareservice” byggnaden med många positiva tankar. Jag träffade en väldigt positivt kvinna som presenterade mig den tjej hon hade tänkt matcha mig med. Allt lät väldigt bra och

Situationen just nu är att det saknas kontakt personer och att de flesta som inte lyckas få någon match är först och främst killar som kom till Sverige som flyktingar. Killar som vill vara kontakt person är därför dem som mest saknas! Åldern? Inom projektet är de vuxna som tas hand om, därför från och med 18 år och äldre. Men just nu behövs det mest hjälp för dem mellan 18 och 30 år gammal.

Men vad handlar det om? Man blir helt enkelt matchad med en person som så mycket som möjligt har gemensamma interessar, ålder och personlighet, för att träffas två gånger i månaden, men tanken att dela språket – dem flesta som man blir kontakt person för brukar ha redan gått på SFI kurserna. Mötespunkterna i det hela är att dela med sig av svenska språket och det sociala utvecklingen både för den person som är ny i Sverige/Malmö och kontaktpersonen.

Nästa helgen ska jag träffa personen jag blir matchad med för första gången, medan nu på torsdag ska jag på en gemensam aktivitet som arrangeras för dem som är kontakt personer. Ser fram emot att lära mig mer om det och träffa mer folk!

Att sitta still i en stad som Malmö som växer och växer och växer, där mycket händer men ännu mer sägs om kriminalitet, utan att göra något annorlunda än kritisera negativt eller klaga tycker jag är lite dumt. Bäst och i stället sluta prata om vad man inte vet än och använda dagen på ett mer produktivt sätt.

Jag flyttade till Malmö för att jag har alltid blivit lockad av mångfalden och mångkulturalism, olika åsikter – mat så klart – och en ung stad. När jag kom i augustis tyckte jag att det inte fanns mycket att göra här eftersom jag kände inte till mycket eller många än. Men ju längre jag är här desto flera aktiviteter hör jag prata om. Speciellt är det otroligt många ideella föreningar som riktar sig till integration av nyanlända personer till Malmö och Sverige – nästa för många så att man inte kan bestämma sig vilket man ska engagera sig i! Några av dem som jag hört tala om än så länge är Näktergalen Mentor verksamheten (ni kan läsa om min erfarenhet här), Open Skåne, Kontrapunkt, Kultur Kompisar, Kompis Sverige och flera mer. Kanske just för att det finns så många ställen där man kan engagera sig i för att hjälpa till så är det inte alltid lätt att få en koncentration av personer, och många känner säkert inte till. Vill man engagera sig för ensamkommande barn här i Malmö kan man läsa mer på denna sida.

Hoppas att du som läste detta inlägg blev lite nyfiken och börjar tänka dig att vara med i projektet! Läs något om det här om du vill veta mer och anmäl dig för att bli kontakt person eller blir matchad med en kontakt person…och lycka till!

 

White flakes

Of Nightingale, mentoring for a newcomer, volunteering in Greece and other stuff

Long time since I wrote and it is surely time to keep track of routines and busy lives here in Malmö.

Let’s start saying that Malmö is a crazy city if you are interested in seeing how a society with different cultures is developing and may develop in the future. If you are an international student and living in a monocultural society may sometimes give you some anxiety, then Malmö is surely the place to be, where a bit more than in other places – at least from my point of view – people learn to see inside a person and not only stopping from their look. Of course, I am talking about a slighty difference and especially within the international students environment. Still, being in the middle of the change make you think of how little actions can make a difference and you are eager to influence things on a bigger scale. Together with being a bit less of an original Swedish society than other Swedish cities may be, it comes along that organization at vary levels is not as good as other places.

As coming back from Italy in January, I started the seconde module of the bachelor’s programme, as well as a distance course based at Malmö University, given in Swedish and called “Bilingualism and Identity” in which I totally dive in during my hours sitting at this lovely university library. First university course in Swedish and I totally recommend this one to everyone!

I then continued to meet my mentor child once a week within the Nightingale mentoring program, and things seemed to be better already from the first time we met after the long time of Christmas holidays.

As mentioned before, Malmö is a place full of integration related organizations, volunteering structures and, last but not least, start ups. Surely this makes you tjink a lot about what you could do to actually help people and not just send some likes or interests on Facebook.

Therefore, always in January, I decided to finally take action after I thought it through for quite a long time, and contacted Malmö municipality’s social work organization to apply as a mentor for a new comer to the city. Those whom I actually contacted are the “Sociala Resursförvaltningen, Ensamkommande barn. Familjehemsvården (Social Resource Management, Unaccompanied children, Foster home care), the links are two. “I Malmö möts vi” (in Malmö we meet) is an organization/activity where one can get involved voluntarily to help people who just arrived to Sweden/Malmö through telling them about the culture, or simply talking to/spending time with them as someone they can trust. The mentor is supposed to have lived in Sweden a while and know the basics of the structure, culture and language of the country/place. Unfortunately, in January they told me they were not in need of any mentor for the moment, but just yesterday I received an email asking me if it was ok for me to have my application forwarded to “I Malmö möts vi”. So I am simply waiting for further responses.

It is maturing in me the idea of going to volunteer helping refugees in Greece, through a Swedish NGO I was suggested about during the week. Let’s see how things develop, including the 8 hours online course for humanitarian action/emergencies that needs to be undertaken in order to apply.

I was at a meeting at university with other students with the idea of starting an “Anti-Trump” student movement of protest. Many ideas and interest came up and it feels that if we are going to put motivation, organization skills and tenacity into this we could create something really interesting, including film nights, discussion events, demonstration and more events. The more the merrier. And by the way, what had started as an anti-trump movement seems likely to become more of a “disappointment-for-politics-state-of-mind” movement.

My Swedish is surprisingly getting better after a struggle faced when moving to Skåne because of the dialect…less surprisingly and a bit sad, my English is not really developing in parallel, indeed it feels like I am getting only worse.

For two days ago it started to snow. An incredible amount of snow flakes (to be in Malmö!) finally landed on the city…it had happened earlier in the last months to see some snow flakes, and even a snow storm covered the calm and windy city of Malmö, but flakes never actually landed on the ground. We definitely experience a special snow effect, since it rather goes back to the sky as it is uses to be quite windy! So goodbye to my bike for the moment, as I am sure that if I ride it again I would slip as nothing as ice is covering much of the streets now.  But at least, taking the bus I can joke a bit on the traditional way Swedes have while waiting for the bus…staying in queue! I just saw a meme about it, but it actually happens! See some funny ones below!

I will leave the library now and start to go home, see you soon!

Risultati immagini per swedes waiting for the bus20170208_075131

Näktergalen mentorsverksamhet – The Nightingale program

Definitely one of the most valuable and satisfying experiences I have decided to put myself into during this first semester at Malmö university, is that of being mentor for a girl as part of the Nightingale program. In Swedish “Näktergalen” the idea of a network of children between 8 and 12 years and university students was actualy started in the city of Malmö in 1997. I wonder if any other city would have given such a chance for a program like this to develop, taking in mind the high level of cultures present here and the social issue which came forward as a theme to be faced following an innovative path. But what is the Nightingale program about?

Basically, applications are received from a bunch of university students who want to dedicate 2-3 hours of a day in the week to a child, doing daily activities, such as getting around in the city, talking, watching a film, baking etc. On the other side, children between the age of 8 and 12 attending different primary schools send their applications, looking forward to meet their mentor, someone who will be a friendly, adult, and fun person to be with. Both of them will send their applications with their interests, motivations, and a photo, and other thing which may be relevant and useful when it comes to the matching. As a mentor, one will have an introduction course on what it means and implies to take part in the program, and then visit the school to meet the teachers and get to know where the class of your child is – since you will mostly pick your “mentor child” from school.

Neither kids nor mentors get to know each other if not on the starting day, which in the case of Malmö university was yesterday. After I “was found” by my mentor child looking for the number I was holding, we went around for a quiz walk – in Swedish “tips promenad” really characteristic of the Swedish culture – to get to know each other a bit more. Later on mentors, children and parents met each other to learn a bit more about, at the end, everything about it. Which days are best to meet, contact details, allergies and other “adult stuff”, while of course eating a fika and getting coffee.

What the program is not about. It has nothing to do with working as a baby sitter. The mentoring is voluntary and meeting times are decided together with the child and the parents, taking in mind the load everyone has because of university study and work, as well as personal needs and other planning issues. It is just about meeting once a week for 2 to 3 hours each and it is definitely something that, if you want, you can make as part of your routine with no problems. There is completely aknowledgement about the meeting time and nor of the parts are supposed to feel stressed about finding time to meet, otherwise the all meaning of the program would disappear. Although, the point of the program is to care about the other, for both the student and the child to be responsible and flexible and to be open to learn from the other and teach the other things. In some way one of the meanings of the process is to learn to teach to and learn from the other and stay with the other. Recognizing someone’s values as well as encouraging them, engaging themselves in something you would not think you would otherwise do.

The Nightingale program is part of the variety of programs available at different universities and schools in Europe, especially in the Scandinavian countries, plus in Uganda. It is reaching more and more popularity through years. When I was in London one month ago, visiting the office of “The Challenge” which “raises awareness of the social and economic risks associated with social segregation”, we talked about their interest in starting to be part of this mentoring program, so the network is continuously is growing.