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Adela Sejdija lives her passion for life by helping others

- The main objective of establishing an association is to show the positivity in our society, which is reflected in how strong we are with each other and help each other.
- When I was young we traveled to different countries and people would welcome us and help us in every country we go to, and how touching that was for me so I wanted to do the same and help immigrants.
- We only have one life and our time in it is very limited. There is no time to waste looking back on the past. Just keep going and fight to get back to the way you were.
Växjö • Publicerad 26 september 2022

Adela Sejdija came to Sweden in 2012, and it was love that brought her to Sweden. She married a man who lives in Sweden and came to live with him. Adela was born in Croatia, then moved due to the war to Kosovo, then to Germany, then to the United States and then settled in Sweden with the man she loves. Adela holds a Bachelor's degree in Social and Cultural Anthropology from the United States, and a Master's degree in Peace and Development from Linnaeus University in Växjö. She loves to help others, so Adela chose to help mothers, immigrant women and children through the association she founded with a group of other women to help families who come to Sweden to integrate. So She lives her passion for life through the help she gives to others. Adela is also an inspiration to many women who are currently active in society.

- When I came to Sweden, I started learning Swedish. It was very tiring because I found the language very difficult. Because I speak English and everyone here speaks English, I found it easy to speak English, which did not help me at first with learning the language. But then I tried to speak Swedish, and it was difficult but I tried. I finished all the stages of studying the language. After that, I completed a master's study at Linnaeus University in the field of peace and development. During my master's study I got pregnant with my first child. So I did not enter the labor market. Then I got pregnant with my second child and stayed away from The job market for a while. So I chose to go to Nallen Open Kindergarten. I was speaking English when I went there. But a lot of wonderful mothers were there with their kids and they were the ones who encouraged me to try to speak Swedish. Says Adela.

How did the idea of creating an association come about?

The association was established as a team project, not mine alone. True, it was my idea, but we all worked as a group to make it work and continue with it. I was surrounded by wonderful people who guided me, supported me and helped me. It all started when I met the wonderful moms at Nallen, which was the reason we started our activities targeting women and children later on. We started to carry out activities at the Araby Park Arena and invited people from Studievägledare, recruitment agency and the library, to talk about job and education opportunities, activities in the library and information about Swedish society. We started the activities with a few mothers and then a lot of mothers flocked in. First we met one day at Araby Park Arena and then we met several days a week. After that, I thought about opening Arabys Aktiva Familjer with a group of mothers. And we started implementing many activities through the association, such as learning to ride bikes for women, swimming, dancing, and cooking. Every week we had food from different cultures. We also had an activity in Tallgården with the library and were reading books with each other and with the children. In addition to children's activities. We started the association in 2018 and continue with the support of the municipality, in cooperation with various associations and organizations. Such as studiefrämjandet and others. Currently there is an activity in Tallgården for children which is dancing and showing movies. Some mothers also make food and sell it. There is a training course for parents to help them learn about Swedish society and how to do different things on their own, for example, how to register their children in kindergarten and how to deal with their children, etc. I am no longer the one who runs the association, I am behind now and there are those who continue to do activities and come up with new and developed ideas, and everyone is still continuing with enthusiasm as we started. Even if I don't exist anymore, there are others who care about it as if it were their own association.

Adela Sejdija has lived for a long time in the Araby region, she said that she chose to stay in the Araby because she loves Araby. Also, the people who live in Arabe are wonderful people and inspiring people. People who went through hard times and came here to start a new life from scratch.

- I've been living in Araby for a long time and I've seen wonderful people, especially women and mothers who struggle to study and to work, which is not an easy thing. They wake up every day showing their lives struggling to settle in the new society. And yet they are happy. They helped me and gave me a lot of Power. As Adela Sigdega says.

What is the main goal behind the establishment of the Arabys Aktiva Familjer Association?

The main goal is to show positivity and get rid of the negativity that exists in our society, which is reflected in how we are strong with each other and help each other. How did we start the association project together and then each of us invited his friends and acquaintances to participate and benefit from the available activities. For example, we live in Araby and this is what we can contribute. As the association is a center to provide support and assistance to each other. The aim of the association was to show that people are active and carry out tasks and activities. And that immigrants struggle to integrate into society and thus actively contribute to society. No one is waiting at home or walking around and doing nothing, everyone is trying to contribute. Everyone is trying to get a job. There is a big misconception that people do not want to work and do not want to do anything and this is not true. Everyone wants to work and support themselves. Because here you have no one to rely on. You don't have a big family that you can count on. You only have yourself or maybe a partner, husband or wife. So everyone has to work and needs stability. It is not easy to have a previous life, your home and work and live in safety and in a moment it all goes away and you find yourself having to start over. And that's what I'm trying to show, how amazing and strong the people who came to Sweden are. Too bad we don't get to see their stories and what they do so well. It is a pity that newspapers write only on the bad things, and not on the good things.

In addition to all of Adela,s contributions through the Arabys Aktiva Familjer Association. She works with a housing company as a meeting place developer, she has also been a volunteer for the Red Cross for the past six years, and she is one of the Board members.

- I try to help refugees there as much as possible. For example when so many refugees came From Ukraine we helped them, whether it was through activities or help with clothes, food, etc. Adela Sejdija says.

What is your passion for life?

My passion is helping others, especially helping people to integrate into Sweden. Because I have been a refugee for many years of my life and I know what that means. And I know how hard it is to come into a new society and start over and how much time it takes to learn the language and get a job, it's not easy. When I was young we traveled to different countries and people would welcome us and help us in every country we went to, for example the Red Cross in different countries and different organizations. All the people came to help us. How touching it was for me. So I wanted to do the same and help immigrants.

Through your work with immigrants, what do you think are the obstacles that might stand in front of immigrants when they find themselves in a new society?

I think language is the first obstacle that all immigrants face, and then the difficulty of getting a job. Because this is not easy. I think that if a person gets a job, it will be easy to learn and develop the language. And everything becomes easy when you have a job.

What is your advice to immigrants who stumbled and could not continue living because they faced the obstacles of the new society?

For me, it was not difficult, because I entered society easier than anyone else. I say to everyone who is frustrated and depressed and doesn't know where to start: It's great to think how happy and successful you were in the past, but thinking about the past won't always help you. We are here in Sweden today and in Växjö, and we must think about what we can do today! We must think about the possibilities that we have and the opportunities available. Learn the language and look for work! In addition, I am looking for a person or entity that can help you. Take into account the advice you receive! Never give up! We only have one life and our time is very limited in it, and there is no time to waste looking back and bemoaning the past. Just keep going and fight to get back to the way you were. I know it's sad that all the immigrants here have lost so much and gone through difficult experiences. But that does not mean that we stand there to continue because life goes on. If you don't help yourself and get on your feet, no one can help you get up. So you have to help yourself first and then find someone else who can help you. Maybe there are people out there who are unhelpful and they may be rough with you, but there are plenty of people out there who can help you. So communicate with others and ask for help and advice. It's all about communication and networking. And it's all about mental strength and the way you think.

Maha Nasser
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