Poor EU-migrants drop out of job-project
Several poor EU migrants who entered a program to help find them work in their home countries have returned to Sweden to beg, according to a Swedish Radio report.
The investigative news program Kaliber has produced a two-part behind-the-scenes look at a project for disadvantaged EU citizens run by the organization Heart to Heart, which performs aid work in Eastern Europe and is "based on Christian values" according to its website.
In 2015 Heart to Heart was touted by the government as one alternative to helping vulnerable EU citizens who beg on the streets in Sweden. A Heart to Heart representative said organizers sought to empower EU migrants by giving them jobs at home.
Last year the organization collected SEK 6 million in donations. When asked in an interview if he gave money to beggars, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven said that he chose to give to organizations like Heart to Heart.
Kaliber visited a location in Romania where Heart to Heart had hired 25 employees who made baskets then sold in stores in Sweden. Some of the employees had in fact travelled from Sweden to take the jobs.
Heart to Heart has highlighted success stories. Director Anders Holmefur told Kaliber about a man who was able to buy windows, doors, and plan a visit to the doctor because of the operation.
But others have returned to Sweden complaining of poor pay and tough working conditions. Workers received 15 Romanian Leu or a little over SEK 30 for basket, then sold for SEK 350 in Heart to Heart stores in Sweden.
Holmefur said that no promises had been broken and that any profit from basket sales has gone to aid work. And he expressed regret that some had dropped the job project to choose begging again.
"I think it's tragic based on the situation that with the budget we've set up here, they earn, as it is with conditions in this village, very good income," said Holmefur.