Britta Holmberg, Project Director


barnrättsbyrån 2

In my morning newspaper, the editorial complains about how difficult it is to assess the effects of development assistance. I get to work and the same day I read two reports from our partner-organizations and am so proud to read about results on so many levels. The services we support reaches children and families most in need and definitely makes a difference in many people’s lives.

I read about how the Child Rights Bureau in Sweden with our support has developed the first practical children’s advocacy service in Sweden. One of the cases is a girl who after years of sexual abuse finally disclosed and instead of getting the support she needed from different authorities, found herself in a situation where everybody claimed that she was someone else’s responsibility. The Child Rights Bureau stayed with her throughout her difficult time and helped her getting the support she was entitled to. Isn’t that a result?

I read the impressing report from Philani Nutrition Centre in South Africa, an organization that we have supported for almost ten years. Philani annually helps around 5000 children and pregnant mothers and a randomized control study has shown significantly improved health and well-being for the mothers and babies who are part of their home-visiting program. But that’s just numbers. Behind those numbers are stories that illustrate the complexity and hard work behind those figures. For example this one told by one of the home-visitors:

“One day when I was doing house to house visits a remote rural village accessed only by a gravel road, I found the family M with a pregnant 20-year old and a 16 year old with an underweight child suffering from tuberculosis. They live in one room with their mother and father. The eldest daughter told me to finish early because she was afraid of the father coming inside; they did’t want any people entering the house. I returned another day and asked why they didn’t want the father to know that I was visiting. The 20 year old replied that her father sexually abuses both of them and she is pregnant with his child and HIV positive”.

After several visits, the home-visitor helps them to get medical treatment, she convinces the grand-mother that she needs to help her daughters get away from her abusive husband and finally she helped them move out. They are now getting the treatment they need and are safe from abuse.

Isn’t that a result?


Photo: Barnrättsbyrån


Frida Rybo, Information Officer Sweden

Blog post from a Childhood project

Last week we received a blog post from Barnrättsbyrån, one of the projects Childhood supports in Sweden. Barnrättsbyrån is the first independent child rights advocacy service for children in Sweden, opened in September 2011.

Thank you, Barnrättsbyrån, for sharing your trip with us!

From Barnrättsbyrån:

When we were offered to take some of our kids at Barnrättsbyrån to Sälen a few months ago, we didn’t hesitate to say yes. Normally this is not something we do in our daily work. Barnrättsbyrån is the first independent child rights advocacy service for children in Sweden, opened in September 2011 as part of the Ersta diakoni. We provide social, emotional and legal support for children, 0-21 years of age, in Stockholm.

Barnrättsbyrån in Sälen.

Barnrättsbyrån in Sälen.

However, with this offer from Childhood and Hertz we took the opportunity to give a few of the children we are working with, a chance to experience something they wouldn’t be able to otherwise. We were given the opportunity to stay in a cottage in a beautiful part of Sälen, a famous Swedish ski resort. Hertz also provided us with a minibus, ski passes, ski rental, ski instructors and tickets to the Experium’s Adventure Pool, all which was much appreciated. And off we went with 5 kids, 12-20 years old, the majority of them unaccompanied asylum seeking children, with no experience of winter sports. This trip meant a lot for them, and for us working at Barnrättsbyrån. The kids laughed a lot, had lots of pains and aches from skiing and really had the chance to take a break from what is usually a quite stressful and anxious everyday life, full of meetings with authorities and worries about having to be sent back to a country of war. We expected to have to work night shifts but instead we all fell deep asleep at nine or ten at night. Usually Barnrättsbyrån works mostly with article 12 of the convention on the rights of the child and the right to be heard, but this weekend enabled us to only focus on article 31 and the right of the child to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities.

Thank you so much Childhood and Hertz for that!

Ida Hellrup and Maria Soares Lindberg, Barnrättsbyrån