Mentorship Project Supports Refugee Youth to Secure a Future in Sweden
Feb. 21, 2022
The Swedish Upper Secondary Act
For many young people around the world, coming of age marks an exciting new chapter. But for some 7,500 of Sweden’s long-stay refugees that excitement is muddied by fear about the future.
The Swedish Upper Secondary Act (Gymnasielagen) is at the heart of this uncertainty. Widely criticized due to its short preparation time, unclear language and narrow conditions, the law stipulates that refugee youth must secure permanent employment and apply for a permanent residency permit all within six months of graduation.
“The war in my homeland took away my hope for the future”, says Ali, a young refugee and unaccompanied minor. “Then, I arrived in a new country and slowly my hope began to grow.”
“Now, I am hit with fresh uncertainty…”
At a time of high unemployment, ongoing COVID-19 restrictions and political stigmatization of immigrants across Europe, the need for compassion and a sense of security is absolutely paramount.
Hope for the Future
Through a combination of mentorship, outreach and campaigning, War Child - together with partners Arbetskraftsförmedlingen REDO and Nordisk Kompetens - is supporting these young people to re-claim their future.
The project’s mentorship program - based on War Child's successful partnership model with logistics giant, Scania - sees refugee youth receive one-to-one support from private sector and industry professionals. A monthly ‘open house’ provides extra help with writing a CV, registering on job-seeking platforms and building a professional network as well as a unique opportunity to connect, offload and solve problems together.
“The project enabled me to connect with people who see me as a person and an asset to society”, says Ali. “It has brought back my confidence and hope.”
From addressing mental health struggles to finding a job that matches their unique talents, young refugees receive one-to-one support from industry experts
Photo: Sanna Lindberg
Forging a More Inclusive Society
An added dimension to the project, we also work with our partners to carry out campaign work. Through these advertisements, we not only bring in funds for the project, we also draw attention to the positive role refugee youth can play in society and advocate for laws like the Swedish Upper Secondary Act not to be repeated.
“Collaboration is our most important building block”, says Andrina Linnell, Production Manager for the project. “By working in partnership with forward-thinking actors, we are breaking new ground.
“For our target group, this can lead to meaningful work and a residence permit; but also the opportunity to forge a more inclusive society.”