1. العربية
  2. English
  3. Svenska

Girls exercise together

On Fridays, young girls exercise for free at the Idrottskliniken in Växjö. The initiative comes from Öster i Samhället who wants more young people to exercise and have fun in a safe environment.
– Together we create a place where it is okay to test different training types and machines without anyone looking at one obliquely. The gym thus becomes a safe place where you can breathe and have fun with other girls, says Iman Hussein.
Växjö • Publicerad 7 februari 2020
Foto: Nadia Hagberg

The gym opens in about a quarter, but many girls are already knocking on the door to Idrottskliniken in Växjö.

– Last time there were 40 girls in total. Now, before we've even opened, we're already 40 people, says Freja Richardson.


Freja Richardson, Sara Lennqvist and Iman Hussein from Öster i Samhället stand with Ingela Melander Julin and Anna Abou Abboud from the Idrottskliniken and receive at the door.

– Every Friday we open the gym for girls who go to high school or secondary school. We want to create a place where all kinds of people from every possible neighborhood can work out and have fun together, says Freja Richardson.

The initiative "Training for girls with girls" started in January. Idrottskliniken usually closes at 19 on Fridays but opens half an hour later for young girls who can work out for free for an hour and a half.

– We obviously want to help and support the community in every way possible. Especially girls who may not dare go here themselves. It seems to be a bigger problem than one might think, says Ingela Melander Julin.

The girls who come in quickly run to the changing rooms to change. They then run laughing up the stairs and warm up on the treadmills.

– All the girls who come here are so nice, even though they don't know each other. And they create the nice atmosphere themselves just by being just who they are, says Sara Lennqvist.

"Training for girls with girls" came as a complement to Nattfotbollen, which is organized spontaneous football for young boys and girls living in Växjö and its surroundings.

– At Nattfotbollen there is a majority of guys. So we asked the girls what they wanted to do, and they also wanted to exercise but in a gym environment. When Idrottskliniken also wanted to contribute with locals and instructors, it was a matter of course to start this. After all, me, Iman and Freja work with Öster i Samhället, and we wanted our female leaders here, says Sara Lennqvist.

Foto: Nadia Hagberg

In one corner of the gym are free weights. A bunch of girls is laughing while showing each other how to lift. Some of them have been here before. Others are here for the first time.

– When I heard about the girl gym, I first thought that I didn't want to go here on a Friday. But then, when all my friends were here, it felt obvious. We got a lot of soreness after last time and it was a lot of fun, says Blenda Richardson.


What would you have done if you had not been here today?

– Probably nothing, maybe watch a movie, the girls say.

Foto: Nadia Hagberg

A little further afield, at a machine, 17-year-old Sumeya Caydid Maxaamuud trains. She's here for the second time.

– The last time I was here was the first time I ever worked out. It was so fun that I wanted to train the day after. Next month I will buy a gym card. This has really given me motivation to be here instead of home.

Iman Hussein stands next to Sumeya Caydid Maxaamuud and shows support. She says that it is precisely the decisions that Sumeya Caydid Maxaamuud has made that she wants to help with the investment.

– Being able to work out here where there are only girls can inspire them to dare to go to a regular gym too. Then they know how to use the machines. My goal is for the girls to dare to start working out but also to meet and develop. It gives me a lot of energy.

Foto: Nadia Hagberg

In a group training room, Anna Abou Abboud leads a Zumba-inspired workout. She also sees that the girls dare to go and test.

– It is nice to be able to offer a sanctuary that is effortless. The girls have the opportunity to hang out and meet new friends.

Colleague Ingela Melander Julin agrees.

– It's fun that Öster wanted to be here. It is noticeable that the girls enjoy and have fun together. And they tell us that they appreciate what we do. Recently some girls came up saying "You probably don't understand what you have done for us". Giving them one and a half hours when they can do something wonderful instead of being at home or out on the town feels great.


The girls' gym has also made more girls appear at Nattfotbollen in Växjö.

– I go to the Nattfotboll after this and I usually ask the girls if they also want to join. In this way, more girls dare to come there too, says Freja Richardson.

Sacrificing every Friday night at the gym and Nattfotboll may not be something everyone is prepared to do. But for Freja Richardson, Sara Lennqvist and Iman Hussein it is.

– We have been doing this for a while in different constellations, and we know how much it gives to each individual who is here. It's easy to sacrifice every Friday because we know how much it means for the young people, says Sara Lennqvist.

Nadia HagbergSkicka e-post
Så här jobbar Mosaik Vxonews med journalistik. Uppgifter som publiceras ska vara korrekta och relevanta. Vi strävar efter förstahandskällor och att vara på plats där det händer. Trovärdighet och opartiskhet är centrala värden för vår nyhetsjournalistik.