Tjejzonen offers support through live and online conversations on the girls’ own terms. 350 volunteers receive 10,000 calls annually from girls who need someone to talk to. Thanks to H.M. Queen Silvia’s Foundation-Care About the Children, Tjejzonen can give girls who just recently arrived to Sweden the opportunity to receive support from their very own Big Sister.
Tjejzonen works to prevent mental illness in girls and young women between the ages of 10 and 25 through free, supportive conversations with trained volunteers – so-called Big Sisters. The call takes place either online or live. With listening as a method, their goal is to be there when the girls need it.
Due to ongoing conflicts and wars in many parts of the world, many newly arrived young people have sought refuge in Sweden during the recent years. Depression and other kinds of psychological illnesses are widespread among many of the adolescents who have come as refugees, especially among girls and the need for psychosocial support is great. The girls are often in an extra vulnerable situations, as they have lived with limited rights in their home country and their journeys to Sweden have often been difficult. In addition, the need for a social context is important for processing events and trauma.
Due to this, Tjejzonen, with the support of H.M. Queen Silvia’s Foundation CATCH, has started a project which offers newly arrived girls supportive conversations online with a Big Sister. The goal is partly to promote the mental health of newly arrived girls, but also to contribute to a secure integration and increased independence. Studies have shown that supportive conversations in a safe environment can have a positive impact and during the project period, 20 girls were matched with volunteers, so-called Big Sisters for supportive conversations taking place online during one year.