Photo: Alexander Mahmoud
Tina: ‘We founded Refugees Welcome Stockholm’
I head for the central station in Stockholm. I have a paper bag filled to the brim with chocolate bars, thinking that I will only help out for a while. But it was total chaos, no clear organisation.
Every hour a train with migrants arrived. They were either going to stay in Stockholm or continue on, and we helped them with translations, train tickets and food.
I tried to coordinate everyone; it became my role. I didn’t sleep, more like collapsed in my bed at home.
The chocolate bars ran out the first day, but I ended up staying for weeks. We founded Refugees Welcome Stockholm and made sure refugees who came to Stockholm met with volunteers who could help them.
I was there from five in the morning until two at night almost every day. If I didn’t stay there for as long as I could, then how could I motivate others to stay and help out?
I opted out of my other life, the one outside the train station, including my master’s studies in political science. You can’t study the theoretical while there’s a humanitarian disaster going on.
When my mother and I fled – I remember – we were dropped off in the desert, and the first thing we encountered was the volunteers who picked us up by car. They saved my life. So now I feel compelled to do what I can for those fleeing today. If you always think about giving back, you close the circle. Yesterday I was the one who fled, tomorrow it could be you.
Go to Sweden and migration to get the bigger picture and the historical perspective.
Last updated: 5 April 2017