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A few minutes with Ahmed Dia Jeber...

Ahmed Jaber

...undergraduate engineering student who won an award for his committed work in the district of Berga in Linköping.

You won a safety award from the property rental company Stångåstaden for your voluntary work in Berga. What did you do?

“I live in Berga myself, and I am very well aware that there are problems, especially among the young people there. Two years ago I set up a group called “Safe Berga” in order to deal with the problem. Now we do night patrols there. We are a team of fifteen people who walk around the streets twice very night; ten of us are youth, and five are parents. We talk to the youths we meet, see what kind of problems they have, and keep an eye on what’s happening.”

In fact you had only been living in Sweden for a few years when you started the group. How is it that you got so involved?

“I like it in Berga. I don’t want to move somewhere else. All the friends and contacts I have, I meet on the football pitches, at home on the street or downtown. It was important for me to do something when I realised there was a problem. And then I came up with the idea of the night patrols. A Swedish neighbour helped me to write the application to the town hall, and now we are working together with the municipality and the police.”

You arrived five years ago with your family as refugees from Iraq. Since then you have quickly settled in a new country, made voluntary contributions to society, learned Swedish and started studying at university. How have you managed all this?

“I was 18 when I came to Sweden. It was difficult to find a way into Swedish society and to get to know Swedes. But I had a goal and that was to become a policeman. I asked my Swedish teacher what I should do to achieve that. I knew that the Swedish language was the key to Swedish society and she said that I should read books, read books, read books and read newspapers and magazines. But I was lazy, ha ha, I only read magazines. Articles about the police, how they work and what crime prevention work is like. And I watched a lot of Swedish crime films, like for example Johan Falk. I guess I know those films by heart...

“I toiled away with the language, learning more each day. My teachers supported me. And after three years I had learned Swedish and managed to supplement and finish the school studies I started in Iraq. It was really hard. But I still didn’t have my Swedish citizenship so I couldn’t apply to the police force.”

Now you are studying for a degree in computer science at LiU and also working extra at McDonald’s.

“Yes I’m in the second year of my course and I’m really enjoying it. But I don’t want to take out a student loan, so I work at McDonald’s. It’s also a way to get into society; I learn Swedish in its environment and the job gives me life experience.”

How is the dream of being a policeman going?

“I have my Swedish citizenship now, but I am thinking of using my IT education instead and applying directly to the police for a job in IT with them.”

What motivates you?

“My parents give me strength. They have supported me, asked the right questions and helped me become a good member of Swedish society.”

Eva Bergstedt 2012-10-18

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Last updated: 2017-02-13