WHERE: Sweden – Stockholm
Reach for Change is an international non-profit founded in Sweden. Their vision is a world where all children and youth reach their full potential. Since 2010, Reach for Change has been empowering social entrepreneurs to develop innovative solutions that improve the lives of children and youth.
THE BEST PRACTICE: Innovation for Integration
In 2016, Reach for Change responded to the surge of refugees* by launching Innovation for Integration, a thematic initiative
within their Swedish incubator. This program was designed to help refugee children and youth
have the same opportunities as non-refugee children.
Starting in 2016, Reach for Change has selected seven social start-ups working with scalable ideas for integrating newly arrived children and youth
to their incubator program, and supported them through grant funding, capacity building, and networking.
Since 2016, the social ventures in Innovation for Integration have supported the integration of over 3,000 children and youth into Swedish society.
All social ventures work to achieve one or more of the following outcomes:
During the E Round Table session, on the 22 October 2020, the guest speaker Frida Olsson from Right to Play, one of Reach for Change’s social entrepreneurs introduced their organization and learnings on developing effective methods for integrating unaccompanied youth into the Swedish labor market.
In partnership with companies, football stadiums, and sports clubs, Right To Play runs a job training and employment program. They also run social activities with youth. Participation in Right To Play, among UASC, has been correlated with higher mental well-being; in a 2017 comparison between participants in Right To Play and a control group, participation in their programs was positively correlated with higher happiness.
Key learnings underlined by Frida Olsson were: the importance of making a long-term commitment to youth and of making each youth their own changemaker; but the most important methodological advice is to see the individual.
- Improved language skills
- Increased knowledge of Swedish culture
- Increased social connections with established Swedes
- Improved connections with government authorities
- Increased opportunities for higher education
- Increased opportunities for employment
- Improved mental well-being
“Even if there are many youth at an activity, we and our youth leaders have routines to make sure we talk to everyone, to find out what is going on in their lives, and to follow up on what they have told us before.”
To discover more about Reach for Change Innovation for Integration program, please download the Final Report HERE
*In late 2015 Sweden received ~35,000 unaccompanied refugee minors, representing a historical peak over 10 times higher than comparative figures of 2010.