The LANDA project is a cultural orientation programme implemented by a group of municipalities in one Swedish county, Gävleborg. It enables them to pool their resources to create useful content, delivered at the right time. It is summarised in three words: leaving, landing and living.
Leaving → Representatives from the SMB, the receiving municipality, the County Board and a bi-cultural trainer organise and deliver a pre-departure cultural orientation lasting one week. A video made by resettled refugees already living in Sweden is shown to the refugees about to be resettled. In this manner refugees receive testimonies in their own language about the previous experiences of their countrymen and about what the newcomers can expect. Age-appropriate classes are also provided for children.
Landing → The cultural orientation programme continues after refugees have arrived in Gävleborg County with the same team that delivered the pre-departure cultural orientation. Several municipalities are involved at this point and the programme provides more information about Swedish society, its geography, economy and refugees’ rights and responsibilities in Sweden. Five such sessions are held during the first 1-2 weeks post-arrival. Follow-up sessions on this phase are carried out after 3-4 months.
Living → This final stage consists of continued education and training mainly for adults. LANDA uses a wide range of teaching methods: family workshops, information delivered in the refugees’ language and using former refugees to share their experiences and advice.
The project arose from an evaluation of existing orientation programmes conducted under the MOST project58, concluding in part that those working closest with resettled refugees’ such as Swedish municipalities are well placed to deliver the cultural orientation.
‘We (municipality) already had a lot of knowledge on how to work with the reception of resettled refugees…we wanted to find a model for getting more involved in the pre-arrival planning and to improve cultural orientation methods. The methods of delivering the cultural orientation are very important to consider for refugees who have never been in a traditional classroom setting…DVD’s are a good way to show people, as well as lots of photos.’
Lars Blomqvist, Municipality of Hudiksvall