A person or an organization fighting for integration will not only give you the power to fight, but the hope to dream about something that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise when you’re a foreigner. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs gives us the path for a life fulfilled with harmony. Besides the biological, physiological, safety and love needs, I believe that Amelie Silfverstolpe is trying to achieve the personal growth, reputation and fulfilment that everybody needs for becoming an accomplished human being. This initiative, supported by the Antonia Ax:son Johnson Foundation for Sustainable Development is the beginning of a new journey for those who hoped for a better future in Sweden.
1.What is ÖppnaDörren and what does it implicate?
ÖppnaDörren is a web portal where you can find several different initiatives that are matching the established and new Swedes to meet. For example you can get matched and get invited for a dinner through the program called Invitationsdepartementet and practice your Swedish language; you can meet and talk about your professional life and ambitions and get guidance and new contacts in your field in the job market through the program called Yrkesdörren. You can also go to a meet-up together with your children and sing Swedish songs with other Swedes on parental leave and find out about the Swedish society through Svenska med baby or you can get matched with a friend and participate in activities through KompisSverige.
2. Do you have any plans for expanding this program?
Yes, we would like to serve everywhere in Sweden, there are new “unestablished” Swedes in every city that would benefit by meeting established Swedes. Established Swedes also benefit by learning about other cultures, it might also be a way of finding out about new talents and it’s definitely a way to contribute to the integration. Integration which works both ways.
3. What obstacles are commonly encountered in reaching your objectives for this program?
It’s to reach out to the immigrant communities because we have many established Swedes that would open their doors. We reach them through social media, through word of mouth and through visiting SFI classes (Swedish for Immigrants).
4. What is your philosophy towards your work?
We’ve planned this for two years and launched it in November. Integration is one of the challenges for Sweden and we really need to take advantage of the skills and competences that arrive both for the individuals and for the society. We would like to create a “people’s movement” (folkrörelse) of people opening the doors for those who want to integrate in Sweden.
5. What three things do you need to be successful for this program? And for Sweden?
To attract immigrants that have a good will, are open and who take initiative… and to reach established Swedes who take initiative, are open and have a good will.
6. How do you define success and how do you measure up to your own definition?
We define it by how many meetings we have matched (the goal for 2016 is 10,000) and in the long term we would like to see more integration in the job market since we know that seven out of ten jobs are placed through contacts in this country.
7. Who inspired you to create this organisation and why?
I created the idea as a result of Antonia Ax:son Johnsons’s request to start a program involving social sustainability. I wanted to make it easy for the established and new Swedes to meet on an individual level since broadening your networks is really important both for integration in society and for the job market.
8. What is your rate of success with this program?
We can see that this program has been successful. So far the feedback that we have received through Yrkesdörren shows that on average they get two new contacts, some of them have reported that they have been offered a work practice place or a job through their contacts and we have a continuous stream of people registering.
9. Why does Sweden need a program like yours?
It’s really important both for the individuals and for society that we make use of people’s talents and also in terms of demographics: Sweden is changing, so we will have a deficiency of talents in many fields. I really hope that ÖppnaDörren in ten years will have matched a million meetings and that we have contributed to a more inclusive society.