The site (www.thelocalvoices.com) features a mix of original features and daily news, serving as an online platform for members of this community to learn about Sweden and share their stories with other newcomers, Swedes, and the wider world.
“In the last ten years our stories have helped tens of thousands of people from many different backgrounds and countries to integrate in Sweden,” says Paul Rapacioli, CEO of The Local.
“If that experience can help people in this new community to understand life in Sweden, then we are happy to contribute.”
Currently, visitors to The Local Voices can read an interview with Sweden’s Minister of Employment, Ylva Johansson, in which she answers questions from refugees about a range of topics related to integration.
Readers can also learn how Google translate played a role in the simple love story of Elina and Mohammed, a young couple currently living happily in the Stockholm suburbs.
Mohammed, Elina and their daughter Rita enjoy a very Swedish meal: tacos
By publishing stories in English, The Local Voices will be accessible to both Swedes and a large proportion of newcomers, making it easier for Swedes to learn about the concerns of newly arrived refugees, and for newcomers to better understand news and debates taking place in Sweden.
“It’s important to give newcomers to Sweden access to news and information about the country to which they’ve come and it is appropriate for SI to help make that possible,” says Henrik Selin, head of SI’s Department for Intercultural Dialogue.
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While SI has provided financing for the site in 2016, The Local maintains editorial independence.
“Support from SI allows us to publish more stories about newcomers on a customized, ad-free site,” says David Landes, The Local’s Head of Commercial Content, who leads the project.
Landes is supported by new recruit Jamil Walli, who works as Project Manager for The Local Voices.
“I’m really excited to be a part of this important initiative. People tend to lump together the tens of thousands of individuals who have come to Sweden in recent years – but there are so many inspirational stories and interesting views to share. I look forward to helping amplify their voice on The Local Voices,” says Walli.