What do young newcomers think of Sweden – and themselves?

What do young newcomers think of Sweden – and themselves?
Some of the answers might surprise you. And some are sure to make you smile.

Earlier this year, The Local Voices brought you the story of Järfälla Fotbollsplugg ('Football school'), an initiative that uses sports and teamwork to help enrich the lives of unaccompanied refugee children who love the sport.

Following our initial meeting and story, we got back in touch with several of the programme's young participants to see if they'd be interested in sharing more about themselves. To facilitate the process, we distributed a short questionnaire for them to fill in and return to us so we could literally see what they had to say about themselves, their dreams, and their new country.

And of course, you can't talk to young footballers without asking about their favourite players.

Among this group of 13 aspiring footballers, Portugal and Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo was by far the most popular player, amassing nine votes. Coming in a distant second was Spain and Barcelona star Lionel Messi, the favourite of two of the Fotbollsplugg participants.

Some even drew pictures to accompany their words. Scroll on to find out who they are and what they have to say.

Alireza, 16 – Afghanistan

“A beautiful country with friendly people [sic]”

 

Bezhan, 17 – Kurdistan

“Best”

 

Azizullah,16 – Afghanistan

“No. No I am not in love because I am small”

 

Ali, 16 – Afghanistan

 

Jamshid, 16 – Afghanistan

“Sweden is one of the five best countries and really nice people”

 

Ali, 14 – Afghanistan

“Sweden is the best country.”

 

Sayedi, 16 – Afghanistan

 

Zia, 17 – Afghanistan

 

Mohsen, 17 – Afghanistan

“Best”