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Sweden Study Visit

Sweden Study Visit

The third study visit within the scope of SINC Project was held in Sweden on 30-31st of March and 01st of April 2022. Representatives of Yuva Association and Support Group Network (SGN), as well as representatives of Mölndal and Trollhattan Municipalities from Sweden, and Şişli and Avcılar Municipalities from Istanbul, attended this visit. 

The main objective of the study visit was to give Turkish CSOs and municipalities the chance to see and learn on site how their counterparts in Sweden are finding solutions to the challenges in social inclusion  issues like migration. Participants of the Sweden Study Visit had the chance to meet with people from both Support Group Network staff working with different target groups and Trollhattan and Mölndal Municipalities to learn about their projects in accessing employment, social welfare, education and social inclusion.

The details of the projects which were visited during the Sweden Study Visit in Trollhattan, Göthenburg and Mölndal and the contributions of these visits to the participants of the study visit are presented below.

Trollhattan Municipality Visit

The first day of the Sweden Study Visit was started in Trollhattan Municipality with a presentation of Katarina Nyman, Trollhattan Municipality Sustainability Strategist, about the Municipality’s projects. After the presentation, the study visit team visited the Support Group Network’s Office in Trollhattan.

Innovatum Science Center

One of the most inspiring stops of the Sweden Study Visit was Innovatum Science Center. The Center, which is partly financed by Trollhattan Municipality, has 4400 square meters full of interactive stations, creative playgrounds and fascinating experiments. Innovatum Science Center has collaboration agreements with several municipalities in order to increase interest in science and technology among children and young people and offers various educational packages to schools for visits, from preschool to high school (ages 6-19). The Center was a very good example in terms of both showing how different municipalities can cooperate for a common goal and also how disadvantaged children from different backgrounds can learn and play together to eliminate the discrimination.

Kronan Culture House 

The next stop of the first day of Sweden Study Visit was Kronan Culture House which incorporates a library, meeting place, café, and leisure center for teenagers. In the house, there is also Kronan primary school from preschool to third grade, and after school activities for children whose parents don’t have a job. Kronan Culture House offers music performances, lectures, children’s theater performances, author visits, exhibitions and more. Kronan’s Café is a good example of a cooperation between a local authority and an NGO since it is driven by Support Group Network. Kronans Culture House and SGN have collaboration meetings on a regular basis about different activities they can offer together in the house. 

SGN Intercultural Center Vänersborg

After Kronan Culture House, the study visit team moved to their next destination; the SGN Intercultural Center Vänersborg. The center is created in order to counteract discrimination, segregation and show the best effect of pluralism in the society by enhancing the intercultural dialogue to melt the borders between participants from different ages, situations and backgrounds through culture, art and society awareness sessions, events, etc. In the Swedish society today, there are a large number of asylum seekers and newcomers plus those who are already established Swedes, which means that Swedish society is now wider with different nationalities, cultures, mentalities and thoughts. Through activities of the SGN Intercultural Center Vänersborg, the participants will be able to practice Swedish language, get information about the society, networking, be active socially, build their capacity and in some cases it can lead them to the labor market!

YesBox House

The second day of Sweden Study Visit started with a visit to YesBox House in Gothenburg. YesBox House is the City of Gothenburg’s investment in entrepreneurship, innovation and start-ups and part of the Entrepreneurial Gothenburg. The house creates conditions for the entrepreneurs of the future and contribute to sustainable business and community development. The House provides free meeting rooms with technical equipment both for individuals and CSOs which can realize their projects.

Studiefrämjandet (Study Promotion) Presentation

Studiefrämjandet is a non-profit, non-partisan and non-religious education association that conducts public education activities and provides support to thousands of study circles and associations throughout Sweden. Studiefrämjandet wants to give people the knowledge and power to shape their future. The support of Studiefrämjandet comes from the state and municipalities’ grants for public education. In all of Studiefrämjandet activities, they promote diversity and counteract alienation and racism. Everyone should feel that they are welcome to Studiefrämjandet! It was a very inspiring example of collaboration with state, local authorities and CSOs to empower the disadvantaged people to become self-reliant through education. 

Pentecostal Church Second Hand Shop

The first stop of the third day of Sweden Study Visit was Pentecostal Church Second Hand Shop. Pentecostal Church is a free church and a part of the popular movements from the nineteenth century in Sweden. Director Daniel Lundin and supervisor Frida Netsner from the second hand shop informed the study visit participants of their work and about the collaboration between the free church as a representive of CSO and the Mölndal Municipality concerning internship and subsidized employment/ jobs. There was also a guided tour in the shop.

Mötesplats Åby (Meeting place Åby)

The last stop of the Sweden Study Visit was Mötesplats Åby (Meeting place Åby), which is located in the residential area Åby. Mötesplats Åby is the centre with different activities targeted to both youth and elder people as well as families. Michael Holmström Johansson (project leader) from the Mölndal Municipality and Nigar Ibrahim from SGN informed the participants of the study visit about the collaborations between the Mölndal Municipality and SGN aimed at new arrived immigrants to strengthen the chance at the Swedish labour market. Michael Holmström Johansson also informed about the work with the community run Language Café. At the café immigrants can come and speak Swedish with volunteers and thereby improve their language skills. Pontus de Salareff Månsson (social field worker at Mölndal Municipality) made a presentation about his work; to get newly arrived immigrants to become part of the social life in Mölndal. Pontus provides information to interested immigrants about what there is for different CSOs in the municipality’s different districts and what activities they conduct. He can also join the associations and thus become a bridge between the interested person and the association.

Istanbul Study Visit

Istanbul Study Visit

The second study visit within the scope of SINC Project was held in Istanbul on 18-19 January 2022, and hosted by Avcılar and Şişli Municipalities. Representatives of Yuva Association and Support Group Network (SGN), as well as representatives of various non-governmental organizations from Sweden and Stuttgart, attended this visit. 

The first day of Istanbul study visit was hosted by Avcılar Municipality and participants visited “Gülten Nakipoğlu Center for Disable People” and “Romani Culture, Art and Education Center”. On the second day of the visit, Şişli Municipality hosted visits to “Neighborhood Kitchen”, “Social Kitchen”, “Boysan’s House” and “Open House” and examples of good projects that civil society can carry out for various target groups in cooperation with local authorities were examined. 

Gülten Nakipoğlu Center for Disable People

Within the scope of İstanbul Study Visit, the first visit was made to Gülten Nakipoğlu Center for Disable People on January 18, 2022. While the center provides services for all kinds of social needs of disable people, from arts to sports, and education to entertainment, it also provides a space for NGOs working for handicapped people to continue their work without any costs. The participants of the study visit had the opportunity to listen directly from Avcılar Mayor, Lawyer Turhan Hançerli, about the work at the Gülten Nakipoğlu Center for Disable People, which is a good example of the cooperation between a local authority and NGOs.

Romani Culture, Art and Education Center

The second stop of the Istanbul Study Visit was the Romani Culture, Art and Education Center. In the center, which operates to convey the Romani culture to future generations, different training programs are provided by Avcılar Municipality’s Culture and Art Department staff to reinforce the traditional cultures of the Romani. The cultural activities organized in the neighborhood support the social cohesion by providing opportunities for communication and interaction with people who have different cultural backgrounds.

Neighborhood Kitchen

The second day of the study visit, hosted by Şişli Municipality, started in Neighborhood Kitchen with the participation of representatives of SGN, Yuva Association, Avcılar Municipality and different NGOs from Sweden and Stuttgart. Neighborhood Kitchen which was opened for everyone to have easy access to healthy and safe food, organizes free training and workshop programs for disadvantaged women in order to support social inclusion, participation and employment. The goals of Neighborhood Kitchen include to support the preference of traditional methods in food production; to promote the healthy and nutritious dishes by reviving the traditional cuisine that is on the verge of extinction; to encourage the creation of a grassroots organization by activating the awareness of neighborhood solidarity, to reduce the unemployment rate at the local area by creating women-first employment in the neighborhoods; and to reduce urban poverty. 

Social Kitchen

The second stop of the İstanbul Study Visit was Social Kitchen, which was brought to life in cooperation with Şişli Municipality, the German International Cooperation Agency (GIZ) and the United Nations World Food Program. The aims of the project are to provide safe and hot meals to those in need in Şişli, to provide training in the field of culinary and to increase the employment opportunities. The Social Kitchen, which caters the elderly, disabled people, families who have been hit by natural disasters, delivers an average of two meals a day to 2000 people. 

Boysan’s House

The third project, visited within the scope of the Istanbul Study Visit, was “Boysan’s House”. The house, which was organized to keep the memory of Boysan Yakar, Member of the Board of Directors responsible for LGBTIs in Şişli City Council, alive, has been continuing its activities since June 2016 as an alternative venue for LGBTIQ+ solidarity. Boysan’s House, which hosts different activities of NGOs like education programs, conferences, film screening, exhibitions, workshops etc. works towards strengthening the representation and visibility of LGBTIQ+s in the society. 

Open House

The last stop of the Istanbul Study Visit was Open House, which was brought to life as a result of the “Project for Resilience in Turkish Local Governance (RESLOG-Turkey)” in cooperation between Şişli Municipality, Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR), Union of Marmara Municipalities, Union of Turkish Municipalities, and Çukurova Union of Municipalities, implemented within the Immigration Unit of the Social Support Services Directorate of Şişli Municipality. In Open House, which provides a space where immigrants living in Şişli and neighborhood residents can come together, representatives of SGN and Yuva Association, NGO representatives from Sweden and Stuttgart had the opportunity to learn about the works of various NGOs in particular working in the field of migration.

Project Kick-off Meeting

Project Kick-off Meeting

The kick-off meeting for the Fostering Social Inclusion in Multicultural Regions Project (SINC Project) was held on April 30, 2021. Representatives of Civil Society Dialogue, Yuva Association, Support Group Network (SGN), Avcılar Municipality, Hatay Municipality and Tröllhattan and Mölndal Municipalities from Sweden gathered at the meeting. At the kick-off meeting, the goals were presented for the project, which will continue until June 2022, and the steps to be taken to achieve the goals were planned.

Migration Awareness Trainings

Migration Awareness Trainings

The Migration Awareness Trainings, developed by Yuva Association within the scope of the SINC Project, aim to create awareness regarding the basic concepts about migration and social inclusion as well as to provide information on legal legislation, the situation, current rights and services of refugees in Turkey. First of these trainings, which was requested by municipalities for their employees, was held on 12 August 2021 with an open call. Following trainings were held with the participation of the employees of Edremit Municipality on August 24, 2021, Buca Municipality on September 8, 2021, and the employees of various municipalities on January 20 and 21.

Stuttgart Study Visit

Stuttgart Study Visit

Within the scope of the SINC Project, study visits were planned in order to see examples of social inclusion projects implemented with the cooperation of the local authorities and NGOs, and to replicate the examples of good practices in different places. The first of these visits was held in Stuttgart on 8th-10th November 2021. Hosted by Stuttgart Municipality, the organization was attended by Mölndal Municipality from Sweden, Şişli and Avcılar Municipalities from Turkey, Support Group Network (SGN) representatives and Yuva Association representatives. During the Stuttgart study visit, Ausbildunscampus, Stuttgart Municipality’s Integration Unit, Diversity and Equality Unit, Welcome Center and Hospitalverein at Hospitalhof projects were visited and a workshop was held on the subject of how to implement projects with the cooperation of civil society and local authorities. 

Ausbildunscampus Visit (Vocational Training Campus) 

As part of Stuttgart study visit, Ausbildunscampus was visited on 8 November 2021. Hosted by Stuttgart Municipality, the visit was held with the participation of Swedish Mölndal Municipality, SGN and Yuva Association representatives. During the visit, the details of the project developed for the employment of refugees were presented. The project, which provides refugees with mentoring support on how to complete their basic education, personal development and vocational training, also creates employment opportunities in the private sector. Realized with the cooperation of the private sector, local government and civil society, the project’s model represents a good example for inclusion of refugees in working life.

Workshop on Civil Society and Local Government Cooperation

On November 8, 2021, a workshop on social inclusion projects carried out in cooperation with the public and civil society organizations was held as part of the Stuttgart Study Visit. During the workshop, good examples of different projects which was developed by NGOs in cooperation with Stuttgart Municipality was examined. Workshop participants were introduced to the project experiences of the representatives of the German-Turkish Forum, İFA Akademi, Welthaus, Black Lives Foundation and Global Issues.

Stuttgart Municipality Integration Unit Visit 

The Stuttgart Municipality Integration Unit was also visited on November 9, 2021. During the visit, Stuttgart Municipality representatives share their long-standing experience and knowledge about social inclusion projects, how to handle projects, and the models of civil society cooperation. 

Visit to Stuttgart Welcome Center

During the Stuttgart study visit, held on November 9, 2021, the Welcome Center were also visited by representatives from Yuva Association, SGN team, Mölndal Municipality from Sweden, and Avcılar and Şişli Municipalities from Turkey. Details of the activities of Welcome Center, aimed to help incoming foreigners to learn about the functioning of Stuttgart, to understand the bureaucratic functioning in Germany, to carry out the legal processes and to learn the education system were conveyed. The presentations of the Welcome Center Staff showed clearly how the adaptation to the city could be facilitated by local authorities.

Visit to the Diversity and Equality Unit of Stuttgart Municipality

During the study visit to the Stuttgart Municipality on November 9, 2021, the Municipality’s Diversity and Equality Unit was visited and information about the social services provided to LGBTQ+ individuals was received. Insights regarding the services for raising awareness in the society about the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals and creating a multicultural society with an inclusive local governance approach were shared with the participants of study visit. 

Visit to the Stuttgart Hospitalverein at Hospitalhof 

The Hospitalhof visit was held on November 9, 2021 with the participation of representatives from Yuva Association, SGN, Mölndal Municipality, Avcılar and Şişli Municipalities. During the visit, participants witnessed a good example in the restoration of the church, which was destroyed in the Second World War, with the efforts of the Stuttgart Municipality and supporting institutions, and allocating the restored church for the service of civil society. The center, which enables NGOs for their works and meetings, provides a suitable environment for creating social benefit by providing trainings in many fields.