Hundreds of students came to Café Athen on Tuesday to find out how they could help in welcoming refugees to Lund.
There is a great refugee crisis in the world, and millions of people flee from wars and oppression. Many come to Sweden for protection, and that has resulted in a considerable increase in the number of refugees coming to Lund in the past year.
In order to inform students how they can become engaged in working with refugees, Lund Municipality, in collaboration with the Academic Society, Kuratorskollegiet, and the Student Unions of Lund University, invited them to an information gathering.
Between fifteen and twenty children a week
The gathering started with representatives from Lund’s social welfare service presenting their work at nursing homes for unaccompanied refugees.
Afterwards, the visitors had the chance to mingle and talk with different organisations working with refugees’ integration and wellbeing in Lund. During the mingle-session, there was an opportunity to sign up for volunteering work in several different organisations.
More than two hundred unaccompanied children have come to Lund this year – which is a considerable increase compared with earlier years.
In the lecture held by Lund’s social welfare service, it was mentioned that, luckily, there are many who are ready to start working at their housings for refugees. But despite a big interest, personnel levels remain low.
“Interest levels have been great, and we have had many spontaneous applications,” Sanna Axberg, pro tem. department manager of Lund’s social welfare service, said in her speech.
Mingling for engagement
One of the organisations arranging the event was Save the Children. During the mingle session, they were approached by many people wanting to sign up for membership.
One of the representatives from Save the Children was Frida Ågren, who is project manager for the sponsor project “Smile”, which is directed towards unaccompanied children coming to Lund. She believes the speech held could result in a lot of new engagement among students.
“We are hoping that as many students as possible feel an urge to engage and show that Lund is for everyone,” Frida Ågren says.
Among the hundred-or-so students who had made their way to the AF building were Edvin Johannesson, Jesper Olsson, and Ellen Erre. All three of them think that it was a rewarding evening.
“It really inspired me to do something, and the fact that so many organisations were present was splendid,” Edvin Johannesson says.
They spoke to several organisations and thought that the projects seemed down-to-earth and easy to engage in. Ellen Erre felt a great urge to become an active part of working with refugees, after this evening’s event.
“I do not know exactly which organisation I will get involved in yet. I want to join them all,” she says.
Article: Rebecca Bornlid
Translation: Richard Helander