Brussels , Belgium
March , 22/2013


The World of Livsticket about migrant Women on Itegration .

On this picture : 


©EU2013At lunchtime today I attended the vernissage of an exhibition at the EESC’s Jacques Delors headquarters, opened by our President, Staffan Nilsson, and entitled ‘The World of Livstycket – About Migrant Women and Integration’. The exhibition brought back to the Committee one of the winners of the 2012 Civil Society Prize – the Livstycket organisation – and its formidable founder and CEO, Birgitta Notlöf (on the left in the picture). Livstycket is a modern design and knowledge centre located in Tensta, a northern Stockholm suburb. The organisation helps to integrate immigrant women – frequently refugees – into Swedish society through pedagogical and artistic activities designed to give them linguistic skills and independent economic productivity. In her opening remarks, Notlöf asked us all to imagine being asked urgently to leave everything we knew – country, culture, language, family, friends – for another place and being allowed only to take what we could fit into one small bag (a single bag is a recurring symbol of the organisation). This was so often the lot of the women she and her organisation sought to help. I was humbled when the (Swedish) EESC member beside me, Ellen Nygren (Workers Group), recounted that this was exactly what had happened to her mother in 1944. She had been obliged to quit Estonia, urgently, with just one bag. Sometimes, Nygren (on the right in the picture) wears a red Livstycket dress to occasions like the opera. When she does so, she told me, she is declaring her mother’s survival.