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How to solve the integration issue is one of the biggest issues of our time and affects both social and economic fields. From a political point of view, different types of investments in the area are often proposed, with varying degrees of presumed efficiency.

With this in mind, it is interesting to note that the Support Group Network, an organization that “promotes asylum seekers ‘and newcomers’ empowerment and inclusion through collaboration with civil society”, was just started as an original initiative of its own. It started at Restad Farm in Vänersborg, Sweden’s largest refugee residence.

Basically, the ongoing work involves meetings that together mean that they get the chance to gain deeper knowledge of different subjects or others devote themselves to other activities and in this way, in addition to the purely social dimension, be able to devote themselves to the language. That it works is based on voluntary souls who voluntarily go in.

On Thursday, the University of the West arranged a panel discussion in Almedalen entitled “Own power – the key to sustainable integration?” to look more closely at factors that may have helped more people find the idea inspiring. The concept has even spread abroad, from Restad to the world.

Attending the panel were Inam Alghoul, who is the leader of the network, and Adnan Abdul Ghani who from the beginning, when he himself lived at Restad, started to start the business.

The depth lesson in what the Support Group Network really means gave a good insight into how a local approach has fixed on good starting points for a whole. For example, they are aimed at the many. So it is not about the participation of only asylum seekers today, but also people who have been given the opportunity to stay. In this way, people in different stages still get an exchange together.

In addition, they addressed how the network becomes special in such a way that the leaders for it can both be seen as actors in the context, while also being part of the target group themselves.

The University’s West Vice-Chancellor Jan Theliander also participated in the interview to talk about and reflect on the collaboration the university has with the organization, as well as the region and municipalities. One important aspect Theliander emphasized for the context was how to not see this participation in the integration work as doing something for them – but together with.

When it comes to the issue of integration overall, it is a wise approach that can be easy to ignore. Cooperation should be the key word.