It may seem just a number – but behind those 50,000 there are faces. Faces of children like Linda, who lies in school about what her family did over vacation, and Leo who was neglected by his alcoholic father, or Sandra who has moved to yet another temporary home – she can’t remember how many times she has moved.

Stockholm county alone has 50,000 poor children. In a series of articles, is taking a look at these children – and what can be done about their situations. The articles are being published in collaboration with a campaign by Stockholms Stadsmission (Stockholm City Mission – a non-profit organization that works to make Stockholm a more humane city for everyone), called “Många barn döljer sanningen” (Many children hide the truth), in order to spotlight child poverty to the public.
(We earlier covered the situation for children in the Malmö suburb Rosengård: Sweden becomes more segregated)
“We cannot help all 50 000, but we want to be able to help more than we can do today,” says Yvonne Borg, director of communication and collection at Stadsmissionen. Many know that Stockholms Stadsmission helps homeless people and people with addiction problems, but few know that today the mission operates almost as much to help children and youngsters who are fighting for their lives. It may be broken homes, homelessness, or the fact that their families don’t have enough money for the basics. But each person has his or her unique background and story, something that authorities often have difficulties in handling.
“You cannot put all people under one template: ‘this is your problem, therefore this is your way out’. Here at Stockholms Stadsmission we’ve decided to see each individual, listen to his or her story, and see how we can help.” Stadsmissionen offers help in a home-like environment, but also through support in the shape of talks, financial advice, and help in contacting social services. With Swedes paying such high taxes, why should they help Stadsmissionen? Says Yvonne Borg: “Those who come here have usually already gone through all the authorities that our society provides, without getting the help they need. The system we have fails too often, and that’s when you come to Stadsmissionen.” Says editor-in-chief at Metro Mona Johansson: “In your city, on your block, perhaps even in your building there are children living in misery. We want this series of articles to focus on how vulnerable many children in Stockholm are and make people care.” Poverty here refers to families with an income under 1.0 in Save the Children’s poverty index. The income standard 1.0 means the income just about covers the minimum for adequate living expenses.
For more information: Stadsmissionen Stockholm