Stockholm Global Classroom Initiative

Name of Project: Stockholm Global Classroom Initiative

Goal: Promoting meaningful integration of immigrants in Stockholm through innovative projects.

Target Group: Children and Youths

Project Summary

Meaningful integration of immigrants into the society should be an expanded policy that is not only limited to introduction of newly arrived immigrants into the society through language programs, labor market policies, monthly allowances to refugees and asylum seekers, and education, it should also include the natives, immigrants organizations, and be a continuous process that enable natives to understand the values and cultures of immigrants. Integration policy should be a broad spectrum of measures and ideas that reduces exclusion in society, such as facilitating possibilities for locals and immigrants to have greater contacts or live in the same neighborhoods. But this is not the case because 90% of immigrants, especially African immigrants are located in their own neighborhoods where there is a greater probability of them replicating their imported values and cultures amongst themselves rather than sharing these values and cultures with their host communities. More interestingly, many natives, especially children and youths have a different view of immigrants because they grow up not learning much about Africa, some even think Africa is a country. This is apparent when you find majority of youths asking Africans where their country is located in the continent. They only have an idea of a country in Africa when it is identified with a sport celebrity or with war.

Helpafrica is an organization that works on areas of community empowerment, skill development and exposing Africans, both in the diaspora and in Africa to the reality of the world. The organization carries out projects in Sweden and Africa. In Sweden we work on issues that directly affect empowerment and meaningful integration of African immigrants in their communities.  We do this through innovative approaches that add more value to existing projects such as information sharing, resource development, public awareness, advice, research and integration. A large part of our work involves providing integration support, information, advice, public awareness and resources support to African immigrants. Our current project is called Stockholm Global Classroom Initiative (SGCI) with the concept of approaching integration not only from the immigrant’s perspective, but also from the native’s perspective, and this will comprise of the following activities:

  1. 1.    Community Integration quiz

The community integration quiz will be adopted to engage and facilitate integration between Swedes and immigrants and to deepen their understanding of one another and the greater Stockholm. This will enable policy makers and NGOs to understand the level and span of integration in Stockholm. This will be done through a questionnaire that will be compiled concertedly with the communities, and span categories including culture, employment, integration, religion, history, geography, sport, politics and cuisine. This will take place in community centers for visibility and encourage mass participation. Participants will be selected randomly from all communities in Stockholm. The wider community in Stockholm will also be engage in the process through submission of questions for the quiz, and participation in the process online. The responses after the quiz will be analysed to see areas that need greater policy intervention that will foster integration.

 

  1. 2.    Global  classroom for children and youths

The classroom project is an innovative and creative idea to narrow the distance that is created between immigrants and the Swedish communities. Because immigrants and Swedish are located in particular locations due to their income levels or because they want to live in the vicinities of people from their countries or religions, it is apparent that integration in the Swedish society is slow. Many children and youths in these communities will go to the same schools, same malls, same community centers, play in the same sport teams and speak the same language every day. This project will create a platform where children and youths in all parts of Stockholm will share the same platform to learn about different cultures by cooking together, learning about different religions, history, geography, sport, playing and exchanging learning patterns in their various schools together. In addition, programs will be drawn to make children understand the geographical divide of Africa in terms of South, North, West and East, and some of the religions. This is essential for native children and youths to start understanding that African immigrants come from somewhere because a considerable number of native children and youths think Africa is just one country. This will be facilitated by parents and project coordinators.

  1. 3.    A global Stockholm intercultural festival

This festival will be meant to highlight the harmonious blend of different cultures. The festival will be consciously sought to propagate the idea that all racial communities may in the steady progress of time be welded into one community having a common national identity, while each community preserves its own culture, custom, tradition and religion. The festival will be in the form of traditional exhibition, dances, music, storytelling, and food.

  1. 4.    Civic participation to encourage integration

Civic engagement, participation and volunteerism give a sense of identity, responsibility and pride in a communal society when people blend together to exercise certain services. Encouraging these aspects will promote integration. We will start a project that will involve African immigrants and immigrants from other continents with the natives in Stockholm to participate in a join simulation electoral process where they conduct elections for fun. Children from all races and background will gather once every month to take part in fun elections where they will learn how to vote for their leaders. They will use fun voting boots to select their chosen leaders and ultimately encourage to form an immigrant youth parliament. They will also be encouraged to undertake voluntary activities by engaging in street cleaning or community centers cleaning.

  1. 5.    Sports Leisure Center

From our research we have noticed that about 90% of African immigrant’s youths, especially boys, watch football in bars where alcohol is sold, as a result only those above 18 years are allowed to watch in bars. Those below 18 get resented and always try to look for other means that sometimes leads them to inflate their ages, get into bars and start drinking alcohol. Some get involve in street crimes. This is because most of them come from homes with low incomes where they cannot afford to pay for cable networks that show international soccer games like the Spanish, English, French and Italian leagues. We intend to solve this problem by starting a sports information and leisure center with cable network TVs where immigrant youths can watch football in a free alcohol area. In addition, activities will be organized on a daily basis to mentor youths on how they can use sport as a tool for self-empowerment. We will also start intercultural sports club that will use this venue as a reference point to teach youths on the mental and psychological aspect of sport and also to link potential young athletes to appropriate sport clubs in Stockholm.

  1. 6.    Immigrant Information and Advice

We also realized that it is easier for newly arrived African immigrants to get integrated if they are provided in the early stages of their arrival with the necessary information because from our understanding many African immigrants have vague information about Sweden. This is because many either didn’t come here through proper channels or their relatives here also are not well informed. Although they can get this information from the government websites and information centers, sometimes it is always not understood in the right way and they may not even know how to enquire for the right information. From our daily interaction with immigrants, we found out that even those who have lived here for long still don’t know their rights and obligations. For example many African immigrants with permanent residences don’t even know that they are entitled to vote in the council elections or know the procedure of elections in Sweden. More importantly we will help newly arrived African immigrants with the necessary information to enable them decide either to stay or to return to their countries before their visas expire. From our interviews with a couple of newly arrived immigrants, many showed the wheel to return to their home countries if they had the right information regarding the difficulties involve in legalizing their stay in Sweden, and we succeeded in persuading two immigrants, one from Cameroon and another from Nigeria to return home. Because we understand that many immigrants come to Europe with false ideas, we want to see how we can help newly arrived immigrants take positive decisions when they come to Sweden by advising and educating them on their prospects of living in Sweden in the language and reality they understand.

  1. 7.    After School tutoring for African immigrant children youths and in refugee centers

We will start after School tutoring workshops for African immigrant’s children and youths by investigating possible areas of studies where children and youths need extra help, this will be done together with their parents, refugee centers and other stakeholders. We will recruit a pool of volunteers to tutor these children in an after-school classroom.

Project Description

Stockholm Global Classroom Initiative Project is an innovative project designed to facilitate the co-existence and long-termed integration of immigrants in Stockholm and Sweden as a whole, and facilitate information and education campaign about immigration. The project focuses on meaningful integration, not just within immigrant’s communities but between immigrant’s communities and their host communities. The project will also focus on intensive education, advice and campaigns to disseminate information to immigrants arriving Sweden with no prior knowledge of obligations and responsibilities that await them. We will work directly with immigrants and Swedish communities, local authorities, immigration authorities, NGOs and other stakeholders.

The project initiators and other community stakeholders have met several times in the last 8 months and discussed how to build on the current integration and immigration experiences to have a broader impact on the municipality by systematically innovating and expanding similar integration and immigration activities to other parts of the country. This proposed direction will lead to long-term, sustainable integration and immigration projects to Helpafrica programs, and will build sustainable capacity in additional local communities to continue similar efforts. The proposed project will add project sites in areas identified from our survey quiz to have low levels of integration or high immigrant’s concentration to allow constant coordination of our activities with those communities.

The project will not only enable immigrants integration into the Swedish community, but will also develop a network of people and organizations, together with the local municipalities who are capable of providing person centered supports and other resources for people to live successfully in the community, and also for advice, information and education campaign about immigration into Sweden. This proposal recommends adding a training and technical assistance component to assist organizations and people networking to constantly come up with new ideas that help in changing integration policies. The following events are expected to add to the project impact considerably:

  • ·         Global classroom for children and youths
  • ·         Global Stockholm Intercultural Festival
  • ·         Community integration quiz
  • ·         Sport Leisure center
  • ·         Civic participation to encourage integration
  • ·         After school tutoring for African immigrants children, youths and in refugee centers
  • ·         Education and information campaigns about immigration through social networks and publications.

 

Goals & Objectives

Goal 1: Collaborate with the local communities, municipalities, agencies and other NGOs to promote innovative and promising practices in the implementation of municipal wide planning to increase community support of immigrants and their children in their respective communities.

Goal 1: Design a holistic campaign and information approach to educate incoming immigrants on the reality related to legalization of their stay in other for them to take a quick decision either to stay or return to their home countries.

Objective 1.1: 

  • ·         Increase the interaction of immigrants and the Swedish community through cultural, study groups and extracurricular activities
  • ·         Get a platform where youths can gather for leisure time activities, such as watching sports in alcohol free environment
  • ·         Established an information center to help newly arrived immigrants with additional information on how to easily integrate
  • ·         Constantly research on new ideas to adapt to changing dynamics of demographic integration.
  • ·         Be as an inter-link of new information from the immigrant’s communities to municipalities, government NGOs and other agencies to help design appropriate policies and programs for integration.
  • ·         Reduce the number of illegal immigrants from Africa to Europe
  • ·         Advice African immigrants on the best decisions to take, especially immigrants whose visas are expiring and illegal immigrants.

 

Need for the Project

The Swedish Migration agency records (2009) shows that 14% of the total population of Sweden comprise of people born outside of Sweden and 20% of this population come from Africa. And of this number 95% live in localize areas where their interaction is common amongst themselves and with immigrants from other regions. They speak the same language, cook the same food, their children go to the same schools, play in the same sport, tell the same stories and know only the same neighborhood. It is the same with natives where they live in the same neighborhood, their children go to the same schools, play the same sport and tell the same stories and more importantly many natives have a limited idea of the values that are inherent in African immigrants. One way to break this cycle is through promotion of a global classroom initiative. Living, playing, informing, learning and interacting together is an important part of integration where there is a constant contact and information between the natives and African immigrants in all spheres of public life.

Global classroom initiative is based on the understanding that integration is not limited to an immigrant perspective but it is a continuous process that includes native’s participation through many social interactions, education and information that are enjoyable and invite active participation from the whole community. Global Classroom is a natural part of every culture, religion or nation and includes activities that help to get things done and transmit values, cultures and languages. Global classroom initiative recognizes the importance of both the natives and immigrants in forging a lasting relationship to promote meaningful integration. There are many additional types of global classroom initiative that can add value to our existing projects:

  1. Homework Clubs
  2. Storytelling
  3. Parenting sessions

The goals of global classroom initiative project range from the concern of immigrants concentrating with their children in particular areas of Stockholm, limited information because of crude ways of Africans immigrating to Sweden, limited knowledge of natives on the skills and values that are inherent in African immigrants, to broader community development goals that aim to support and strengthen natives and immigrants integration. Global classroom initiative is one way of looking for long-term solutions to social issues related to integration. Global classroom initiative builds creatively on existing services and resources. Through partnerships, communities can provide a fully integrated integration projects that include natives and immigrant populations in a holistic way.

This project will provide hands-on experiences for people interested in running global classroom initiative programs in their communities. We hope to build the capacity at the community level to develop and deliver global classroom programs.

Last edited: 2013-03-11

Add a comment