The highlight of the week is when they get to gather in Växjö to cook together and learn new things. After several years as asylum seekers, they also finally receive instruction in Swedish.

The seven asylum seekers who have gathered in the old carpentry behind the Italian Palace in Växjö live in Lessebo. Twice a week, they take a bus to an activity that Macken’s friends arrange and which is financed by funds from the County Administrative Board of Kronoberg.

Around the table in the bright room, the atmosphere is good.

– We like to come here a lot. Here we get to do fun things and for the first time learn Swedish. It is our leaders at Macken’s friends who teach us. We must not go to SFI because we are asylum seekers without a residence permit, says Fateh from Iraq, who so far has only learned Swedish from his children.

The conversation around the table is about the war in Ukraine that arouses old feelings of fear and anxiety. Some believe that there is also war in Sweden. The leaders talk about how important it is to be critical of sources when we read on Facebook and other social media.

In addition to peace, a social security number is what women want most.

– Without a social security number, we can not do anything. I want a job and a residence permit. It is more stressful to go home and wait with nothing to do than to work. In Palestine, I worked constantly, sewed clothes and painted glass, says Saba, who has been in Sweden for eight years.

At Macken’s friends, they can bake, cook, sew bags and look for work, but they also make excursions. Recently they were in Karlskrona and an excursion has gone to the large shopping center Ge-Kås in Ullared. Travel that is much appreciated by the small group.