Botkyrka is a place with a long tradition of being a home to people from all corners of the world. Today, more than half of all Botkyrka residents have their roots in countries other than Sweden and hundreds of languages are spoken within the municipal borders.
Integration and refugee reception are key issues in local sustainability. They represent complex challenges with no single universal answer to how they should be organised. The local context where the challenge is to be solved determines the best approach.
Botkyrka has just concluded a pilot project for Refugee reception that offers answers to questions about how intercultural integration and reception should be handled in the city in order to promote sustainable development, social unity and a sense of community. The lens applied to project’s implementation was a fundamentally positive view of the individual and their willingness and ability to contribute to and shape the society in which they live.
The questions posed through the pilot project have been answered by an analysis of the outcomes of focus groups and interviews, as well as based on existing policies and research on migration, integration and human rights. The results derived from the pilot project show that intercultural reception is created in both interaction with refugees and newcomers, and on a structural organisational level. This entails looking at individuals as resources, affirming everyone’s intrinsic dignity, providing the right information at the right time, encouraging awareness about standards and reasons behind social mobility, cooperating with civil society and NGOs and empowering newcomers in their self-organisation.