Association of Unaccompanied Refugees is a non-profit association that is founded and run by unaccompanied young refugee people from different countries. The focus is on highlighting that young people who have come to Sweden alone can, and want to, represent themselves.
The National Association of Unaccompanied Refugee Children works to break exclusion and involuntary loneliness. That is why we created “project Otto”. Otto is a meeting point in Malmö for unaccompanied refugee children and young newcomers, but of course the meeting place is open for everyone to visit! At Otto, we aim to establish new friendships between the participants.
Every week we have around 20 activities at Otto, often in collaboration with other associations and always in collaboration with our own volunteers. We offer, for example, help with homework, driving license theory, CV writing, asylum counselling, English courses, Swedish courses, cooking, guitar courses, workshops on gender equality, sex and relationships and girls’ group meetings. But Otto is also a place where you can come to “just” have a cup of coffee and sit and talk with old and new friends.
The business and its development and activities are governed by the target group’s needs and wishes, which means that activities come and go. Flexibility, creativity and daring to try have been successful methods in the operation.
With support from H.M. Queen Silvia’s Foundation CATCH, we have through the project “together for a meaningful leisure” been able to offer our participants membership in other associations and sports clubs, to go to a camp, celebrate holidays such as graduation, Christmas and Nawroz. We believe that having a meaningful leisure and being able to feel the sense of a community and togetherness are important parts of being able to take on a new country and all its challenges.
Several visitors have expressed that Otto is “like a second home”, which can be seen as proof that the venue is perceived as a safe place. From the very beginning, the commitment and drive of unaccompanied minors and young people with experience of migration have been what has made Otto the unique place it is today.
Thanks to continued support from H.M. Queen Silvia’s Foundation CATCH, we have been able to continue to develop Otto and run the place in the same good creative spirit as from the beginning. Otto is an important place for many young people who live in involuntary loneliness and the activities they join in helps to break isolation and counteract the exclusion among the unaccompanied and newly arrived children and adolescents.