Sweden enlists cartoon bear to help asylum seeking children

The popular Swedish children’s character, Bamse -- the world’s strongest bear, has found a new role: helping kids who seek asylum in Sweden.

Sweden enlists cartoon bear to help asylum seeking children

For the first time, the Swedish Migration Board (Migrationsverket), has launched an extensive information campaign aimed at helping the thousands of asylum seeking children in Sweden with the publication of a specially written edition of Bamse.

The comic book will include a story about a girl bunny rabbit who seeks and obtains asylum and a story of a boy badger who may be refused asylum.

It will deal with returns, children’s emotions during the asylum process, children’s rights, an explanation of the asylum process itself and a glossary.

“We got the idea from working with Bamse material in schools and with children and young people. Children understand pictures better than just the spoken word.” project leader, Anne Kungsmann-Pearson from the Swedish Migration Board told TT.

The specially published comic book will explain the asylum process using pictures and the mother tongues of the reader. At the moment it will be produced in six languages – Albanian, Arabic, English, Somalian, Serbian/Croatian/Bosnian (SKB), and Swedish.

This year alone, nearly 10,000 people under 18 have sought asylum in Sweden, but no specific information has been around for kids. This project has been mostly funded by the EU.

Bamse is a much loved cartoon bear created by Swedish artist Rune Andreasson in 1966 which has been featured in a monthly comic book since 1973. He is the “world’s strongest bear” who gets his powers from his grandmother’s special honey.

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