Swedish charity MusikBojen brings music therapy to children in need

An innovative new Swedish charity which provides free music therapy to kids and young people up to 18 years old in Sweden has received a two million kronor contribution.

Swedish charity MusikBojen brings music therapy to children in need
Barbro Netin Olofson with one of MusikBojen's experts Dr Britt-Marie Frost. Photo: Musikbojen Foundation

MusikBojen helps young people who need support to communicate their feelings due to disabilities, illnesses and mental situations, as well as refugees who came to Sweden and have traumatic backgrounds.

Established in 2017 by Claire Rosvall, Max Martin, and six other founders, MusikBojen has already attracted a lot of positive attention and has gathered many supporters, including Martin Stenmark, Loa Falkman, Nikki Amini, Anne Sofie von Otter and Hedvig Elenora Gospel Choir.

Claire Rosvall tells SI News that the charity aims “to lobby music therapy and music therapists as they are not so common in Sweden as in other countries.”

How does MusikBojen work?

First of all, a council of experts picks children who might benefit from music therapy. The foundation then has professional music therapists who can work with the patients without cost as the program is fully funded by MusikBojen.

Many studies have shown that music activates different parts of the brain, stimulating the motor system, emotional states, associations and memories. Music also enhances organizations skills and attention while blood pressure, hormones and heart rate are positively affected by the rhythm of music.

“The power in the music affects us all and can play an important role when life is not always so easy”, music producer Max Martin said in a recent press release. “When I learned about the MusikBojen Foundation and its purpose to create the conditions for more children and young people to feel better through access to music therapy, it was obvious to support the project.”

Moreover, the Foundation has a 90-account, which is a Swish, PostGiro and a BankGiro account number starting with ‘90’. These enable the MusikBojen Foundation to be transparent, check out with the Swedish Collection Control, satisfy high-level requirements and earn accountability among investors.

The future of MusikBojen has been recently affected by the allocation of over 2 million kronor from the Postkodlotteriet. The latter is a lottery whose funds are distributed among non-profit organizations which are part of the Swedish Postal Code Association.

“We have applied to the association and after a few months we got the allowance for our start-up”, says Claire Rosvall, ”So we have been recognised to start our project and we are really proud and grateful of the recognition as there were many restrictions in the application”.

The Postkod Foundation has therefore accepted their plan and MusikBojen is reinforced by the generous contribution.

The funding will help the charity group to hire part-time administrators who will help and facilitate volunteer doctors (paediatricians and child psychologists), curators and music therapists within the Foundation's Medical Expert Group involved in the charity.

Moreover, music therapists will finally start working in Uppsala, at the Akademiska hospital, but also at BUP Norrtälje, not far from Stockholm.

Part of the money will be invested in HVB Hem Riande AB in Trosa, helping children who are refugees or have come from backgrounds where they experienced trauma in relation to either drug addiction or alcoholism by hosting them in homes where they will take part in the music therapy project while social services find them a place to live.

MusikBojen presents many possibilities and could have a real effect on the Swedish welfare system as well. And perhaps in the future, as Claire Rosvall hopes, “every child in need of music therapy will be able to get it”.

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Lagom: The best way to achieve social health?

Ronoh Philip, who is studying for his masters degree in Infectious Disease Control at Södertörn University, explains why he thinks the Swedish concept of 'lagom' is the best way to achieve good social health.

Lagom: The best way to achieve social health?

During my one week orientation program on August 2019 at Södertörn University, we were presented with many aspects of Swedish culture and practices. One of the new aspects that I learnt was the “lagom culture”, As I quote one of the presenters about applying lagom to our studies, he said: ”Lagom will reduce your stressful burdens of hectic lecture schedules and ensure that you spend equal time of working and socializing in the university.”

So being a student with a background in public health and society, I got interested and searched for the deeper meaning of lagom, and how it can  apply to society and health. I found out that it is a Swedish way of life, it is a concept which means not too much and not too little, just enough. I learnt that it came from a Viking tradition laget om which means 'around the group' and was allegedly used to describe just how much mead or soup one should drink when passing the bowl around in the group.

If this concept is applied to achieve social health goals, it would really fit well. So, what is social health at first? Social health is how you interact with other people and adapt in different situations, it deals with how people in society deal with each other. It is important to note that there is a close link between good social health and improvement of the other aspects of human health, this can lead to the achievement of SDG goal of good health and wellbeing. It also leads to self-satisfaction and happiness; no wonder Sweden is ranked as one the happiest countries in the world. It is ranked 7th in 2019, according to world happiness report. I believe lagom has a big role in this achievement.

In the country where I come from, Kenya, one of the greatest challenges we face in our society, is the ability for people of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds to interact and form positive and cohesive relationships with each other. From my perspective, when I finish my studies and return, lagom will be worth implementing in the workplace, the place where I live and the society as whole, as it is the best way of finding simple, attainable solutions to our everyday worries like stress, eating better, having downtime and achieving happiness. It’s a balance of work and life, so everything is in sustainable existence with each other.

My goal during my entire university studies at Södertörn, will be to learn more about the lagom principle and also be able to apply it on our SI NFGL Local Network platform, because it is surely one of the best ways to achieve a good  work-life balance, reaching consensus with my colleagues and adapting a team minded approach in dealing with issues in an organization and the society.