The Swallows’ work in Sweden

The Swallows is working in Sweden to spread information about our programmes and the issues we work with, as well as to rasie funds and to advocacy work. Read more below.

Ecological footprints
Ecological Footprints is one of the campaigns where we actively lift the problems of environment and call for more sustainable ways of living. This campaign includes recruitment of volunteers and educating them on how ordinary people can reduce their ecological footprints. Subsequently after the education these volunteers arrange meetings and hold presentations at schools. There are also forms on “environmental promises” which can be filled out after the presentation along with the questionnaires. The idea is for students and others to think about how they, themselves, can reduce their ecological footprint and make themselves a promise. The information work is not limited to the presentations of volunteers at schools but can cover a wide range of activities such as writing articles, participating in debates, arranging exhibitions and printing out brochures. The idea to the campaign came from one of The Swallows’ partners in India, SOPHIA. They work with the indigenous group Van Gujjars, a nomad people living in the forests and having a very limited ecological footprint. If all of us lived like the Van Gujjars we would need only one fourth of a planet, while if everybody lived like the average Swede we would need three planets. The campaign about ecological footprints is therefore not only a campaign to raise the issue of environment but also about climate and environmental justice.

Good buy plastic bags
The Swallows together with Nature Conservation association (Naturskyddsföreningen) works on the project named ‘Good Bye Plastic Bags’. Plastic bags are one the sources of environmental problems contributing to the increase of temperature on the earth. Incineration of plastic bags emits big amounts of carbon dioxide and leaving them without incineration is also problematic. There are around 500 tons of plastic bags drifting back and forth on the Mediterranean Sea. The usage of paper bags is better but it takes much larger space at transportation. Therefore we advocate the usage of cloth bags as an accessible alternative.

Seminars & Open Houses
The Swallows informs about the work done both in Sweden and in partner organizations in India and Bangladesh. We often hold seminars and lectures at schools on topics such as Indian caste system, food sovereignty, forest rights, gender issues, exploitation of natural resources and others. Moreover, we continuously hold open houses in the premises of The Swallows in Lund. Representatives from our partner organizations are invited each year and during their visits they hold presentations at the open houses. Each presentation gives a comprehensive insight into their work and the floor is open for discussions where participants can bring up their own questions. We invite general public to our open houses. Information about next open house can be found at our facebook and twitter websites.

Exhibitions
We have different kinds of material on the issues we work with. The last years we have developed exhibitions which can be seen in different places, such as schools, libraries, museums and in other places when it is requested. If you wish to reserve an exhibition with the Swallows, you can contact us on info@svalorna.org
We have the following exhibitions:

Forest rights
An astonishing exhibition of pictures reflecting the lives of the indigineous people Van Gujjars who are forced to leave the Himalayan forests. This group of people is dependent on forests for their livelihood and they are fighting for their rights to continue living in these vicinities. We support the organization called SOPHIA that works for the forest rights of Van Gujjars.

In the shaddow of the Indian democracy – Violence, caste discrimination and the resistance of Dalits
The exhibition is about dalits (formery called untouchables) and reflect six cases of discrimination and violence against dalits. Dalits is the group of people who find themselves on the lowest level of the caste system in India. The exhibition is based on the documentation of Evidence which is a partner organization of The Swallows. Although the Indian constitution prohibits the discrimination there is a wide-ranging prejudices across the country against dalits and they are most often objects of violence and abuse.

Reuse and flea market
We also advocate the re-use of items as one of the ways to decrease emissions. Through buying used clothes, dishes, furniture and other items energy and resources of the earth are less consumed and less depleted. The Swallows has its own flea market as part of our environmental endeavors. Volunteers maintain and staff the flea market and we welcome all new interested to help out. Besides being an initiative to reuse for environmental reasons, the income from the flea market goes to The Swallows’s work in India, Bangladesh and Sweden.

Fund raising
Fundraising activities are crucial and make possible our work along with the prospect of further enlargement. Recently we have launched a campaign called Run to India which aims at raising financial support. The participants in the campaign contribute with one Swedish krona for each kilometer they run during 2012 and each krona that we receive goes to our work in India, Bangladesh and Sweden for better livelihood and the rights of the marginalized people and the environmental work. Together we aim at running the 18 988 kilometers to India and back. We also strive to have as many as possible company friends that can sponsor our activities. Currently we have around 20 company friends and all interested companies wishing to contribute to more sustainable and more just world are welcome to join us as our new company friends.

Members
Membership basis is not only important as economic contribution but also gives legitimacy and strengthens the organization both internally and externally. Improved legitimacy facilitates our partnership with new organizations and makes us an established actor with a stronger voice and better ability to exert influence. Moreover our members receive membership cards that entitle them to 20% discount available at our Second Hand shop. Newsletters and leaflets are sent exclusively to our members.