Zonta Club of Bjäre "Whatever we do, we do something for the migrants at Hemmeslöv."

September 2015

The Zonta Club of Bjäre discussed at their area meeting if Zonta should do something for the large amount of people coming to Sweden as refugees. Club president Birgitta Kjellander and Jeanette Willes Nihlen visited the Hemmeslöv Camp to learn the needs of the refugees there and what their club could do to help. Through visiting the camp and listening to refugees there, the club learned that the most requested need was having warm clothes. They also discovered that many of the people there wanted to learn Swedish.

October 2015

The club delivered warm clothes that they collected. A teacher in their club created material for a Swedish language class, which they presented at their first Swedish Language Cafe where they also served homemade cookies and coffee.

The club wanted to engage more women at the camp and invited them to attend a knitting activity in Ängelholm. The men at the camp did not want the women to go out in the evening, so the Zonta club built relationships by taking the men to a golf course. Twelve men were thrilled to try golf for the first time and this activity gained press attention. It also gained trust and the women started to attend the evening knitting cafe. .

December 2015

Jeanette and Birgitta began to work full-time organizing volunteers and contacting several other organizations. They also spoke with the migration authorities, helped the refugees find work, held a Christmas event, had an art class and collected and distributed gifts for all of the children at the camp on Christmas Eve. They also started a fund raising project to finance cooking classes, drawing and paint classes and more Swedish language classes.

March 2016

The Zonta club met with an integration coordinator in Båstad and monthly meetings for volunteers were arranged. Several volunteers from outside of Zonta started to become involved with the project and some offered their specialized skills. Among the volunteers were hairdressers, a yoga teacher, nurses and people interested in starting a gardening program at the camp.

The community donated bicycles, sewing machines, yoga mats and hairdressing supplies. A first aid instructor provided training for the refugees as well.

July 2016

Birgitta raised money from Båstad's local authority to buy 15 public transit cards for refugees to travel by train and bus through Skåne. The cards are shared among those at the camp.

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