This Youtub-clip with Miniatyr, from channel KanalGlobal1 on YouTube speaks about poverty in Sweden in this program. I have written what they talk about here in this article. I also commented in some places. This is what they talked about in the YouTube-clip.
The women in the program is a deacon and she meets people with problems. She helps them look at their case. The other women is a consular from Save the Children (Rädda barnen).
How do they define poverty?
They have defined it since they want to be able to follow development. Save the Children (STC, Rädda Barnen) look at families that have low-income that isn’t enough to have a normal economic standard. The Deacon speaks about the lack of knowledge, that it is also a form of poverty, perhaps you cannot read, speak the Swedish language and all these things affect your role in society.
A long time back in the 1990’s the numbers were really bad in Sweden. Then it has gotten slowly better, but then it has been around 12% of children in Sweden that lived in economically strained families. There are small differences between areas in Sweden, even neighbourhoods. Even in the richest areas there are poor families. Often they have single parents or 2 immigrants as parents. When it is a single parent that is an immigrant, then the risk of poverty is 50% in Sweden, according to Save the Children.
Unemployed, people on social welfare, paperless people (illegal immigrants), people who are sick are the most poor according to the deacon. The Christian deacon works together with the muslim organisations, that makes them have more language skills and such. They give SL-card (travel with subway, bus, train), food baskets and rules and regulations education to parents and so on.
Many come to the deacon because they do not have money to buy food. Most problems are the sick people in Sweden, because Försäkringskassan doesn’t pay out the money in time and the social welfare cannot pay anything since they have the right to sick leave. They are left without money for a long while, until Försäkringskassan has time to handle the case. Unemployment insurance is also a reason for poverty in families. That is because the unemployment insurances are so low, that the people cannot survive on them. There are no margins for extra expenses and when those happen they end up seeking the help from church. They are sad parents that cannot pay the bills, buy food or pay rent. They cannot pay for hobbies for the children. It costs to be part of that. It becomes a social class issue. The reporter asks if there is no post for activities for the children.
I looked it up on Socialstyrelsen.se and “Fritid och lek” includes activities norm (riksnormen). But it isn’t the biggest amount in the world to live on existence minimum in Sweden, so it can be hard to use that money for it. I think the norm is pretty low.
They speak that if you have no margins then the school and leisure activities are the ones that disappear, when you got to choose between that and food.
This creates unequal possibilities to go after dreams or passions in life. It also creates a feel of alienation. They do not feel as part of the system. The deacon thinks that is often about unknowable. They do not know what they have the rights to get and not.
STC says that many do not want to talk about the fact that they are poor. It is shameful to be poor. Many children do not dare to talk about it.
The children are often considered different and therefore bullied. The children cannot say that they cannot take part in leisure and so on because they are poor. There is a stigma about being poor in Sweden.
The children need to speak about what they did during the summer. It is a marker about the fact that you do not have nothing to tell about what you did. Some children are just home and somehow such things expose these children. Some might even lie.
The prejudice is met against poor parents and to many think that you should not have children if you are poor. This is actually why I am such an old parent. I wanted to have it all, before taking on a child in our household. Our kid lives in a house, we have two cars, we have pets and our kid doesn’t lack any materialistic needs. Also the kid can do activities and so on. Had I been younger and not lived this long, I wouldn’t have been able to offer all this. My unemployment isn’t a problem, since we have low costs.
The children say that the world doesn’t expect much from them. Nobody expects the poor kids to become doctors, but rather assistant nurses. Somehow the worlds expectations on these children are lower than they most likely could do, if given a chance. Nobody expected me to be anything. However this I have had inside me.
Often poor kids, like I, hang out with my own “socioeconomic class”. Therefore I haven’t got the norms of the rich. However later I meet even the rich kids, I know it was because I got involved in a certain activity and to that many parts of society was drawn.
They also talk about drugs, but they feel lost in that area. They think that in all areas they need to corporate between society and volunteers and organisations.
They also talk about people who are in debt. The poor in debt do not get help for the debt in social welfare and so on.
The deacon thinks that all the persons problems and situation is missing when the state helps, different institutions do not corporate and help the people in total.
The deacon has thought about how people living under constant thinking of how to get the money to pay the bills and food and so on affect them. She believes that makes people burn out and get sick.