• Sweden edition
 

Sweden 'uninterested' in volunteers: charity head

Published: 03 Apr 2012 15:44 GMT+02:00
Updated: 03 Apr 2012 15:44 GMT+02:00

120 youth volunteers who are due to arrive in Stockholm this month with the "Up with People" charity organization have had their services refused by several Swedish companies, which are simply "not interested" in any help.

"I can't understand it, this is unprecedented," programme coordinator Veronika Westermark told The Local.

The group, which is set to arrive in Sweden on April 16th, has also not had enough offers from host families for housing. Forty of the group's members, coming from 22 different countries, are still "homeless".

"Up with People" is a global education organization, which, along with a "spirit of community and service" sends groups of 17-29-year-olds around the world to volunteer their help and showcase their performing arts.

Westermark added that the program has been an enormous success worldwide, with companies in Mexico, the US and Asia all eager to host and be helped. However, the trend has not continued in Sweden.

"The culture is so different in Sweden, there is more structure here. Perhaps this is why no-one wants help, and no-one wants to sponsor us – even though we're asking for nothing in return," she said.

She points to the possibility that Swedish companies prefer professionals when it comes to giving aid at child, animal, and refugee centres, and may be put-off by the concept of recently graduated high-school students doing professional work.

Westermark says that the team has been refused by companies including the Ronald McDonald house, the Salvation Army and Amnesty International, among others.

Sweden's Volunteer Centre (Volontärbyrån), while sympathetic to the project, has stated that timing was a big factor in why they could not help out.

"We only received their requests fairly recently, and these things take time to sort out," said Vanja Höglund of the Volontärbyrån to The Local.

Höglund adds that while there is possibly a difference stemming from country codes, with Sweden being more "traditional" than "community based", this does not mean there is no interest.

"But people are definitely interested in volunteering here, and people do need help. Our website is full, and we have even expanded recently into an English volunteer program," she said.

Meanwhile, Up with People will perform in Stockholm at Södermalm's Göta Lejon theatre between April 16th and 22nd.

Westermark says that the team members are still looking for host families, and anyone who can provide a place to sleep, three meals a day, and a safe environment should consider contacting the organization.

Oliver Gee

Click here to follow Oliver on Twitter

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

16:55 April 3, 2012 by EP
I think we need volunteers to clean up the litter and make cities clean in Sweden. Nothing gets done here on the weekends or after 15.00 on weekdays. The streets are filthy and full of rubbish on the weekends, bring in the volunteers to clean the streets at the very least ...
17:04 April 3, 2012 by be reasonable
@EP

Don't try to conclude all volunteers have similar/same as job as yours(cleaning the litter)...lol
20:18 April 3, 2012 by Migga
@ EP

These aren`t volunteer cleaners. They sing, dance, preform and do shows as volunteers. Perhaps they have some workshops and the odd inspirational talks. The "help" they offer isn`t needed.

Also I don`t get the statment that Veronika Westermark made when she said that they offerd "help" even though they weren`t asking for anything in return. But that obviously isn`t true. They are asking for sponsors, host families, anyone who can provide a place to sleep, three meals a day, and a safe environment.
21:42 April 3, 2012 by Spuds MacKenzie
Up With People is still around?! Haha! They were the laughing stock of every Super Bowl halftime show in the '70's. Good for Swedes to not want them! They are just goodie-two-shoes annoying Christian teenagers.
08:34 April 4, 2012 by Grokh
doesnt everyone work as a praktikant in sweden nowadays isnt that non paid volunteer work ?

people can run a restaurant only using 0 paid or low paid praktikants -_-x
09:51 April 4, 2012 by robban70226
Good,

"Up with People" charity organization are just mascaraded propaganda organization hidding under a charity organization. We do not need those here,

Nice to see that somebody can see who they are and what are they after.
10:02 April 4, 2012 by Cephalectomy
Grokh praktikant is paid by the state or another place, otherwise you wont find people working apprenticeships
15:07 April 4, 2012 by Puffin
@ Cephalectomy - not sure the point you are making - there are many different forms of praktik both paid and unpaid

Perhaps the organisation should do a little homework before it arrives in a foreign country
17:09 April 5, 2012 by NickJT
I also think they should do their homework first before simply imposing themselves on Sweden and then expect families to house them and organisations here to simply take them on to do in some case work where they are not qualified to do. How naive of them even though they probably are well intentioned.
Today's headlines
Police seeking missing Swede in London
Sofie Marie Jansson, who is currently missing in London. Photo: Metropolitan Police

Police seeking missing Swede in London

British police have issued a plea for tips in the search to find Swedish national Sofie Marie Jansson who hasn't been seen for almost a week. READ () »

University applications rocket to record high

University applications rocket to record high

Swedish universities continue to draw vast amounts of applicants with the number of prospective students seeking a third level education increasing for the seventh year in a row. READ () »

Man jailed in US over Lars Vilks murder plot
Swedish artist Lars Vilks pictured in New York in 2012. Photo: Linus Sundahl-Djerf/TT

Man jailed in US over Lars Vilks murder plot

American authorities have sentenced a 20-year-old accomplice of 'Jihad Jane' to five years in prison for an attempted terror plot to kill Swedish artist Lars Vilks, after getting involved with the murder plans when he was a teenager. READ () »

Sweden scraps 'new start zones' after EU input
Integration Minister Erik Ullenhag visits a school in Tensta, one of the neighbourhoods mentioned when he and his colleagues first floated the new start zone proposal. File: TT

Sweden scraps 'new start zones' after EU input

Sweden has abandoned a plan to ease taxes for small companies in blighted areas after the European Commission challenged its legality. READ () »

'Easter eggs an invitation to spread germs'
A typical Swedish Easter egg. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

'Easter eggs an invitation to spread germs'

A Swedish microbiologist has warned that traditional Swedish Easter eggs laden with candy are an open invitation to the spread of bacteria and viruses. "Is this really a good idea?" he asked. READ () »

Jammed truck snarls Stockholm rush hour
Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Jammed truck snarls Stockholm rush hour

PICTURES: A truck got wedged inside a tunnel in central Stockholm on Thursday, with authorities concerned the accident may have damaged cables in the tunnel's ceiling. READ () »

Kids in Victorian garb mark Swedish Easter
A Swedish Easter witch holding daffodils. File photo: TT

Kids in Victorian garb mark Swedish Easter

In India, I'd notice Easter only from the traffic jam outside the churches, but here witches, egg hunts, and feathers mark the Christian holiday. The Local's Deepti Vashisht brings you the various shades of Swedish Easter. READ () »

Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe
Chemtrails?: Shutterstock.

Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe

A Swedish MP who launched an official government investigation into the existence of chemtrails tells The Local why he thinks Swedes deserve the truth, even if it may leave some conspiracy theorists unsatisfied. READ () »

PM pleads ignorance of Vattenfall's Nuon bid
Fredrik Reinfeldt answers the constitutional affairs committee's questions. Photo: TT

PM pleads ignorance of Vattenfall's Nuon bid

Sweden's prime minister on Thursday said Vattenfall itself, not its owners the Swedish state, had responsibility for the loss-making Nuon deal. READ () »

'Kockums submarine raid may be illegal': lawyer
Photo: TT

'Kockums submarine raid may be illegal': lawyer

A Swedish lawyer says the Swedish military may have broken the law when it raided the Malmö premises of German defence giant Thyssen Krupp. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Society
Swedish supermarket Ica pulls contested Easter commercial off air
Kungahuset
Society
Swedish royals set baptism date for princess
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 16
Politics
Who's the prime minister's heir?
Alfie Atkins
Society
Are children's books the key to families integrating in Sweden?
National
'Sweden Dem protests cater to party's martyr image'
National
'Swedish research grants were fantastic, but now it's like Australia'
Society
Only in Sweden: The ten problems you'd never encounter elsewhere
National
Swedes stopped to take my picture, but didn't look me in the eyes
Business & Money
A swipe of the hand replaced cash and cards in Lund
YouTube
Features
Video: Oliver Gee finds out how to embrace The Swedish Hug
TT
National
Abba duo hints at reunion
Advertisement:
Private
National
Flash mobs hug it out across Sweden
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 11-13
TT
Politics
Swedes to give six-hour workday a go
TT
Society
Aussie choir member wows Abba in Sweden
YouTube
Society
Stockholm magic a surprise YouTube hit
Fastighetsbyrån
Society
Gallery: The Local's Property of the Week
Private
Society
Swedes find 200-year-old gravestone in living room
Stockholm School of Economics
Sponsored Article
Why a bachelor's degree is no longer enough
Deepti Vashisht
Features
Deepti Vashisht dissects the magic of Sweden's personal ID number
Shutterstock
Society
Ten signs you've been in Sweden too long
Society
Jimi Fritze heard every word when doctors discussed taking his organs
Society
A Swedish farmer explains why the new bestiality ban is 'pointless'
ESL
Sponsored Article
Learning Swedish the easy way
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Blog Update: The Diplomatic Dispatch

28 October 15:16

The Green Growth Group Summit »

"Today on the 28 October in Brussels, a large group of key EU Ministers and business people, including UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey, and Swedish Environment Minister Lena Ek, will meet to discuss green growth. They all have a stake in resolving a challenge which, although it is crucial..." READ »

771
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com