Tag Archives: segregation

200,000 children of addict parents go without support in Sweden!

Dagen, the Christian Daily and Ekuriren reported today that 200,000 children of addict parents lack support in our nation. Of the 200,000 children involved, only 2% will receive support in the municipality. These figures come from a report from the IOGT-NTO junior department which is a special organization working for the sobriety/temperance movement here in Sweden.

The report, yearly released for the last five years, addresses the difficulty of getting children of drug- or alcohol addicted parents involved in the support groups which are available in a number of different cities and towns in our nation.

The results of the year 2008 inquiry in the municipalities show that:

– 261 of 290 municipalities answered the questionnaire

– 74% (192 of 261) can offer support groups for this goal group.

– 35% will use more resources to develop ministry to these children (for a more detailed report check here for a download).

Thus far an extract of the report.

We are facing a real serious issue… about a month ago our church (www.newlife.nu ) was invited by the county council to receive a reward for our ministry against segregation. As I was there I was spending time with some of the governing politicians whose responsibility was to pursue initiatives towards children and youth. During our conversation I addressed especially the situation of the children to addicts (since we minister to addicts within the context of the church). He had recognized the same problem as I had seen similar to the one addressed in the report.

And I was thinking, here we have these thousands of children and youth who have been raised under pressure and are like “walking wounded” individuals who are still in the development stages of their lives and yet, we cannot help them to deal with their traumas, their fears and their hurts. We spend tremendous amounts on the rehabilitation of their parents and yet, they are hardly considered. This last statement I have to explain: they are considered and thought off, the sheer presence of such a report show that.

However, I do know that we have no means to get in direct contact with these children and youth. In contrast to their parents we have little follow-up on their whereabouts. They seem to disappear in the system, not even our social authorities seem to be able to connect with them as a group. Of course we have to realize that so many of these children have gone through such heavy traumas that they might be happy to be able to be in other, more healthy, environments and are therefore not receptive to engage in treatment, therapy or plain support allowing others to re-open wounds they try forget they have.

The big questions are:

· How do we identify them as individuals and as group?

· How do we structure support for them from the very first moment one of the authorities or other organizations is confronted with them and their family’s situation?

· How do we then synchronize our resources, know-how and personnel to create networks of professionals and volunteers who can be part of their daily life?

· How can we provide an accountability structure for all involved to ensure the possibility to develop a relationship with every single child motivating him/her for the kind of help they need?

· How can we remain in touch with these children even when they have gone on to live with their parents and/or other adults?

I don’t have answers, just questions at the moment. What do you know, think, suggest? How can we together be part of the answer these children need?

John


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The distorted reality of Danderyd’s identity, they are ” their kind of people!”

Fokus magazine has done a great and in-depth analysis of life quality in the different municipalities in Sweden which has been published and addressed in many media. 30 factors were taken into consideration among them we find the care of older citizens, the local tax level, the climate for entrepreneurship, the number of low educated citizens, alcohol related death causes, areas with environmental protection, the number of registered crimes, divorces, suicide attempts, number of teachers in the school classes, unemployment, culture and leisure activities, people’s financial assets etc etc. so far so good!

The sun always shines over Djursholm (part of Danderyd) the old expression says. It still is because in this third attempt to rank the different municipalities (290) in Sweden, Danderyd has taken the first place. It is the municipality that has the richest inhabitants, the students with the best grades and the most expensive houses. “We have earned this distinction municipal commissioner Gunnar Ooms says, There are many who have contributed to what the municipality is today and our greatest asset is the Danderyd population themselves. We have worked hard to make the service to its inhabitants both good and cost effective.

Oh yes, Danderyd knows how to take care of itself! With the focus on ITSELF!

Because it is here that we find the problem with the kind of life-quality analyses as done by Fokus magazine, they only focus on the well being of the own population in regards to possibilities, privileges, numbers and growth factors. Nothing in the research is relating to responsibilities! Suppose we would start ranking our different municipalities in regard to their ability to make an impact on the visible and invisible needs of our society and nation as a whole. Which municipality would then be considered to be the number one in the nation?

Self. That’s the word I was looking for:“self”.

I think the deepest value of the average Danderyd person is so wonderfully and un-thoughtfully expressed (exposed) by Lüüli Lundvall Klebe who is sitting outside her villa. She has received a special distinction from the Djursholm villa association for her beautiful garden and tells that she has to be really active to counter the hired hands that take care of the neighbor’s garden. She likes the fellowship (cohesion) in the municipality. “We who live here are of another kind, a class separate from others, which gives a good solidarity”.

As I quote her words, I have said it all… Danderyd is taking care of itself!

In the last seven (7) years Danderyd has received twelve (12!) refugees in their municipality to be compared to Södertälje welcoming thousands in theirs. (Did you notice that I wrote “received” by Danderyd and “welcomed” by Södertälje?). Danderyd as municipality is not active in regard to other issues which demand the attention, involvement and commitment of many other parts of the nation… Somehow Danderyd is in a deep slumber while it has drawn a Silver Curtain around itself to isolate itself from the rest of us, this picture brings back to memory how once upon a time Eastern Europe separated itself from the rest by an Iron Curtain.

Danderyd, when will you wake up? Bob Dylan’s song “When you gonna wake up?” might give some food for thought:

You got men who can’t hold their peace and woman who can’t control their tongues. The rich seduce the poor and the old are seduced by the young. – Do you ever wonder just what God requires? You think He’s just an errand boy to satisfy your wandering desires.- You can’t take it with you and you know that it’s too worthless to be sold. They tell you, ‘Time is money’ as if your life was worth its weight in gold.

Chorus: When you gonna wake up, when you gonna wake up? When you gonna wake up and strengthen the things that remain?

That’s the Way I see it!

John

We thank them that they came to Gnosjö! Will we, and the Sverige Demokraterna learn a lesson from this?

Yes will we learn from this? With the Sverige Demokraterna passing the 4% of votes which would give them a place in Riksdag after next election we don’t know what will happen with our nation, and our asylum- and integration politics.

Yesterday I wrote a blog about “Is Sunday morning 11.00 am the most segregated hour of the week among Christians?” and I addressed the way I have experienced the different Swedish and ethnic churches in our country who stay away from each other adding even more fire to the segregation issue.

Fokus magazine did a great job for the second year in a row to map out the reality of our integration praxis and politics. The sunshine story of the Gnosjö municipality is worth to be copied throughout our nation and SVD’s Per Gudmundson continues his thoughts on this. Of course we have to realize that the sheer demand of workers in the different industries in Småland adds to the openness of integration and hopefully assimilation. It would be interesting to hear from some of the Småländare how the assimilation process in regards to relationships, friendships, participation in church and other associations is going. Maybe we could even learn more from them!

A few questions to my readers:

  1. Personally I am very interested in hearing how church life looks like; is it as I described it and have experienced in the largest part of Sweden? And is it unjust to say that also in Småland there is segregation in the churches… I don’t know, please help me by responding!
  2. In regards to the situation in Botkyrka I wonder if integration is only measured by being part of the work force or is there true integration and assimilation besides the work place as well in new social networks with Swedes and new-Swedes?

To finish things of; the attitude as expressed by Lars Åke Magnusson as he received a diploma and flowers on behalf of the community from Fokus chief editor Karin Pettersson says it all: We want to them that they came to Gnosjö!

What a welcome to many of those who for many different, social, political religious and economical reasons have searched for a haven. By the way let’s not forget that between 1865 and 1914 over 1.2 million people (almost 20% of the Swedish population) left Sweden as emigrants to search for a better future and economical possibilities. Most of them; people between the ages of 15 and 35, crossed the ocean to the USA and there many were able to create for themselves new opportunities and a new future, many of these came actually from Småland… Life is interesting isn’t it? This is what we might call: life revisited!

That’s what I have for now, and this is the Way I see it!

John


Churches and Christianity bad examples of integration. Is Sunday morning 11.00 am the most segregated hour of the week among Christians?

I could not resist responding to the articles about Gnosjö, the municipality in Sweden which is best at integrating immigrants. See Dagen, Expressen, Svenska Dagbladet and Fokus.

Every fourth citizen in that municipality is of foreign decent and employment rate among them is 62%, to be compared with the 42,7% average in the nation.

As I read the articles of the different papers reporting about this phenomenon I was reminded of the rather scaring reality of lack of integration as is found in the Christian Church in Sweden.

Most probably we find that 11.00 am is the most segregated hour of the week among Christians. With the rapid changes in our society and the influx of immigrants among us, many Christians from a number of African, Eastern Europe, Asian and South American nations have established themselves in our nations and have started many different ethnic churches to worship together and to meet the needs of fellowship they were (are) experiencing. While many of them (like in Gnosjö) are integrated in society, through jobs, schooling, and other social networks we find that, most often, the Swedish churches seemed to be places where time has stood still. The “middle class traditional Svensson church” which is still living in the midst of last century is still the face of Christianity to the outside world while our society has changed drastically!

My inner conviction is that the Church has to reflect the reality of society in which it is established. If there is one place where the walls between peoples and cultures could (should) be eliminated it should be the Church! If there is one place in our nation where bridges could be build between peoples and cultures it should be the Church! Jesus Christ has broken down the walls between us and God and us and each other, yet, so many of us Christians, all in our little groups and too often on the fringes of society seem to huddle together in search for security and cultural oneness instead of exposing ourselves to the tremendous manifold wisdom and diversity of God as expressed to the people whom He created in His image!

A church which does not reflect that reality and diversity is for me not a trustworthy church (unless located in places where there is no cultural diversity, or, when as exception if there is no opportunity to relate in each others language which can be the case with first generation immigrants).

In the Focus article mentioned above, the heading expresses it so well: “All are needed in Gnosjö”! If we in the Christian Church only understood the importance of this and were more inclusive and inviting to brothers and sisters and non-Christian friends from different nations we would not only help to create a home and haven for many people. We would (finally) become that colorful reflection and expression of God’s image and purpose where everyone is needed instead of being a bleak, pale and predictable religious entity un-relevant to the people in Sweden today!

That’s the Way I see it, what do you see?

John

PS The lack of integration goes both ways, but as inviting nation I think we should extend the hand of welcome, expand our hearts to them and open our homes! DS

The Jesusmanifestation which was held last Saturday on May 3 was one way to include them, a good start, but only the small beginning!