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At this time a week ago I was sitting in the bus with 30 unaccompanied refugee children and adolescents from Gullspångs municipality on the way to the Opera in Gothenburg. They were between 10-16 years old and they have come to Sweden from Afghanistan, Iran, Eritrea, Somalia or Syria without their parents. We in Loof Foundation wanted to give these kids a cultural experience in Sweden and going to the Opera’s not something you do every day. I booked tickets to see Mozart’s “Marriage of Figaro” and Gullspångs bus drove us down to Gothenburg. When I boarded the bus in Mariestad, all young people cheered, it was a fantastic reception !!! I shook hands and greeted everyone and then started the trek walk towards Gothenburg.

I told a little bit about our work in our foundation, and when I told was telling them about 17 children have gone from work to school, they applauded, which was very touching. I think maybe in their home countries and you have probably seen the child and understand what a great thing it is to be able to break it. In Sweden we take it for granted that all children attend school, but there are many children around the world who don’t have such opportunity.

Once at the Opera House, we went by bus and on the steps to the entrance, we took the group photo that is included here in the blog. Everyone was so excited and it was so lovely! My partner John had gone down in advance from his job in Lidköping and he had pre-ordered coffee and seen where we would go in etc so it worked well. I think it was a great experience for young people, ranging from the environment, the lighting, the people and the show was exciting. The opera was in Italian, and it was not easy to keep up with the plot, but they had the Swedish translation of the roof as we found out after a while and adolescents translated into each other so I think we all hung out with as the best we could.

During the break, we munched on delicious cakes and coke and we sat together at the table as we had pre-ordered. The opera lasted for 3 hours and 30 minutes, it sounds a long time but the time passed quickly. Soon it was time to get on the bus again to go home. On the way we stopped and ate hamburgers, it took a while because we were about 40 people, including all staff and us as it gave us a good opportunity to talk to young people. We got to see how they come to Sweden, what they thought of Sweden and their future plans. It was extremely interesting to learn about their life stories and their dreams for the future.
This week I received an email from head of operations and she wrote like this:
“I have received very many positive comments from both the children and staff regarding opera visit.
It seemed like everything worked great and all very much enjoyed. FUN !! You should have a big thank you from us at Lodging Villa Way and Långgatan, it was really appreciated. ”

How pleased I was to hear that it was appreciated!

Sophie Lööf 14/11 2014

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