The autumn 2015 has witnessed the most acute displacement of refugees since the Second World War. People fleeing from war and terrorism in the Middle East have come to Europe searching for asylum. Around 160,000 asylum-seekers arrived to Sweden in 2015. Several events made us aware of the need to respond in a practical way to the crisis that was affecting families and unaccompanied minors. First, the picture of the three-years-old Aylan Kurdi from Syria struck the World and our consciousness on 2nd September. Secondly, Pope Francis requested all Catholic Parishes in Europe to do “a concrete gesture” to help asylum-seekers on 6th September. “Flyktingar Lund-Gemenskap och samarbete” started on 24th October 2015 as a volunteer initiative from a small group of Catholics and a Muslim friend. The first activity we implemented was the collection of second hand winter clothing and shoes for refugees in Croatia on 22nd November 2015. Since then we have met other Muslim and non-religious people who have become engaged volunteers and our friends.
Since January 2016, “Flyktingar Lund” has become a project that has its basis at “S: t Thomas katolska församling” in Lund. The project receives funding from the Swedish Government, channelled through the Catholic Diocese of Stockholm. We want to keep the same multiculturalism, which has framed our collaborative work from the beginning.
Our activities aim to assist asylum-seekers and refugees to meet local people, improve their language skills, get knowledge regarding different jobs in Sweden; and familiarize themselves with socio-cultural issues from the Swedish society.
Our volunteers are very varied group of people with the same goal of helping refugees to start their new life in Lund, and Skåne. Volunteers can be students from high school and university, people working in private companies or for public organizations, and retired people. The group is apolitical, multicultural, and multilingual. Our network of volunteers includes Christians, Muslims, and non-religious people working together respecting each other’s beliefs and culture. We welcome anybody willing to assist refugees who accomplish with our requirements for volunteering.
Our activities aim at facilitating the inclusion of asylum-seekers and refugees in the Swedish society.