Best Practice 27

Rural community Mingle Actions for Integration

Newly arrived immigrant and refugees

The increased immigration to Sweden requires good integration, both in the countryside and in town. National agency for Rural network, integration group presented good examples of activities that are taking place locally to provide support and assistance to asylum-seekers and other newly arrived immigrants in the rural area of Orust county. It shows how local NGOs and individuals in a society voluntarily organizes various actions and concepts to increase contact between ethnical Swedes and newly arrived refugees and immigrants.

The activities cover all areas which is run in the county by voluntary organisations and individual.

    1. Upgrading natural parks

In Orust long term unemployed work together newly arrived side by side with clearing and renovating in the natural park. The projects have proved to be a great success which speeded up on language learning and create valuable networks. It is the Swedish forest Agency, which together with the national employment service and the provincial government runs the project currently employs 80 arrivals and as many long-term unemployed.. These groups will complement and help each other in a positive way. It began on a small scale in 2015 and was further expanded in the following years. The tasks are varied, ranging from clearing of vegetation for putting up signs and building fences.

2. Music that unites and gives meaning

Individual active in music production connected to educational NGO Studiefrämjandet, contacted the refugee camp and ask if there were individuals with music background interested to work with them.  First rehearsal was a success, and the following month the musicians met twice a week for rehearsal. Especially a core group practiced intensely, and soon the band had Global Citizens born, with members from Syria, Sudan, Palestine and Sweden. Already four weeks after the start, it was time for the concert premiere.

The first gig gave a hearty kick start and since then, the Global Citizens created a name for himself in the music scene in Växjö. They have made a long series of gigs, been mentioned in the media as “Växjö ‘s freshest and most international band” and recorded a music video. In 2006, the band played at the pedestrian street and handed out roses to passer by – as a thank you for having been so well received.