Helping refugees who lack a network in Sweden
Summer means a break from school and classes for most kids, but not necessarily for the 3,500 kids and youth who came on their own to Sweden as refugees last year. In the Stockholm suburb of Märsta, there's a school for these young people this summer.
Eighteen-year-old Musa Muyingo reads aloud from a text he's just written about himself as part of a school assignment. He came to Sweden from Uganda last August and has studied Swedish for the whole winter. But he still wants to get better at it.
He tells Swedish Radio P4 Uppland that he understands what people are saying, but sometimes, he has trouble answering them, because he gets shy. He's scared that he won't find the right word and that people will laugh at him, he says. That's why he wanted to come to this school, to get better at Swedish.
He's one of five boys from different parts of the world, who is sitting in a little classroom learning about computers while the sun shines outside.
Nik Dee, a teacher at the school and the leader of the project, explains that this six weeks of summer school aren't just about studying, but also about learning more about the Swedish lifestyle and culture.
Dee says these kids are especially vulnerable, since they have no network here.
"Swedish youth can maybe find things to do in the summer or maybe an internship through their social networks," he says, "but these young people don't have anything."
"Maybe we can't arrange an internship for them, but we can arrange something for them to do, and also to write on their CV and get experience both for future education and for work," he says.
Seventy kids and youth who came alone to Sweden as refugees were offered places to Sigtuna municipality's summer school, about half have said yes.
Dee hopes this program builds self-confidence for the students.
Now, Musa Muyingo, the teenager from Uganda has only one step left before he's ready to start Swedish secondary school, and he dreams about one day getting accepted to a university and becoming a mechanical engineer. He doesn't want to go into the difficulties that he faced in Uganda.
But he says it's a miracle that he's in Sweden.
This story is based on a segment by reporter Linda Karlsson at Radio Sweden's sister station, Swedish Radio P4 Uppland.