Young Integration – an adult free meeting point
You don’t need to speak the same language to have a good time.
- If we like to do the same thing, for example to play football, I can get to know the person through that, says Yahya, 16, who arrived to Sweden from Syria last year.
Yahya lives at a refugee housing at a camping outside Helsingborg, where there are no youth activities. Fifteen year old Nigar from Azerbaijan also lives there.When Nigar joined Young Integration she hadn’t started school yet and had never been in the center of Helsingborg. She didn’t know where to meet other young people either. But now she, Yahya and the other young people all have buspasses and new friends through Young Integration. This is thanks to Aliyas commitment during the refugee crisis during the autumn of 2015.
-So many young people arrived; many of them came alone from countries torn apart by war. They came to a new country with a different culture, a different language and a different school, says Aliya, who studies the Social Science program at Hedbergsgymnasiet in Helsingborg.
She wanted to do something about it and the head master at her school advised her to contact Folkuniversitetet, an educational association in Helsingborg. Folkuniversitetet reacted positively and together they started Young Integration as a study circle. This way Aliya can access the facilities of Folkuniversitetet. However, Young Integration isn’t a traditional study circle. Instead, they are learning Swedish while doing things they enjoy.
-You don’t only learn Swedish by reading a book, but by doing different activities. Then you’re learning what you’re holding in your hand, what you’re doing, you get to listen to instructions and communicate with each other, says Aliay. She recruited new members at school and among friends.
-I also went to the refugee housing to inform about Young Integration, she says .
Some twenty youngsters come to Young Integration every week. Everyone here is learning from each other. Yahya and Nigar get to know how Swedish society works, at the same time as they are teaching the others some words in their mother tongue and telling them about life in Syria and Azerbaijan. Aliya, Yahya and Nigar think it’s good that young people themselves are leading the group. It can be easier to relate to people at your own age and easier to talk about certain things.
– We don’t think the same way as adults and we have other interests, says Nigar.
Aliya thinks that Young Integration has become more successful than she ever dared to believe in the beginning. Now she hopes that the concept will spread to other cities.
– There should be an adult free place for young people coming to Sweden where they can be themselves, forget all the troubles for a while and have fun, says Aliya.