Pradyumn and Vislanj, aged 8, and Ninanya and Anigresh, aged 11, and their mothers, have left their home country of India to join their fathers who have found jobs in Boden in the far north of Sweden.
The two Indian families left a hot, densely populated city and came to little Boden in the spring winter. The first family experienced some snow. The second came just in time for leaf burst. There was great disappointment that the ice was gone – skating is high on their wish list for their first winter here. In summer, they are fascinated by the midnight sun and bright nights.
For 17 years, fathers Bharat and Krishnama have been colleagues. They are part of the hand-picked expertise that travels the world for the kind of cutting-edge work that will be needed at H2 Green Steel in Boden in the coming years. For the first time in years, families have chosen to join them.
“It means a lot to us to be together as a family. For me it’s a lot of emotions and I’m very happy that we can all live here together,” says Naveena Raju, whose husband Krishnama works at H2 Green Steel’s office at Boden Business Park.
“When H2 Green Steel told my Dad that he could bring the family, we all wanted to,” says Anigresh, the older brother in the family.
The two families are currently living in separate rented apartments in central Boden, but they are looking for houses, preferably close to each other and their children’s school.
The siblings became the first students of the new International School of Boden. The teachers are Erin Blair and Margaretha Van der Veen. The International School will gradually add more students at different levels. It is aimed at students from international families staying in Boden for a limited time. The school follows an international education program with internationally trained and experienced teachers to provide students with a high quality worldwide curriculum that is transferable and widely recognized throughout the world. Some parts are integrated with the other students in the Swedish school and Swedish is also included in the curriculum.
During our visit just before the children’s first Swedish school graduation, the pupils have been asked to make a self-portrait. Ninanya draws the Swedish flag and the Indian flag on either side of the heart of the portrait. She has already gained favorites here in Sweden. Dishes such as meatballs and potato balls. And favorite shops. The family likes the second-hand and sustainable products available in Boden. They are happy to shop second-hand and have learned where to advertise what they need.
The children have received bicycles, started playing football, tried fishing and visited the library. The accompanying wives Naveena and Sailaja are looking forward to learning Swedish and starting work.
The new life of the Indian families is a great contrast to life in India. Besides the benefit of not having to live apart while fathers work around the world, the temperature and climate make a huge difference. In their old hometown, temperatures of 40-50 Celcius degrees were not uncommon. Here it was below freezing when they arrived and in summer it is usually a pleasant Swedish “lagom” below 25 degrees.
For the Indian children, the cooler climate is one of the best things about Sweden.
“Here we can run and play outside without being too hot. We have built a hut in the schoolyard, and usually spend time in the playground where we live,” says Anigresh.
In order to guide the newly arrived employees as smoothly as possible, the municipality of Boden has a relocation team consisting of three people with different functions. The relocation team reinforces the work on both the practical reception and the organizational systematization of all the information received by the relocation service via H2 Green Steel, personal contact and the Move to Boden website. They are an important piece of the puzzle in the global competition for skills where quick and smooth entry into the new country is crucial.
The municipality’s relocation team assists with everything from practical questions to introducing “the good life” and what we call #närhetsliv – leisure activities, tourist destinations, trade, public services and more. In addition to personal contact on specific issues, there are also events such as international after-work events and help to get childcare, studies and jobs for accompanying family members.
The municipality of Boden’s relocation service can be found HERE and their connection to the internal ecosystem of skills management HERE.
Photo/Film: KOMM/Boden Municipality