Ingrid Lena Mari Friblick
Lena Friblick is a journalist and social entrepreneur from Sweden. She is the founder of Xenofilia, a socially conscious company, and the nonprofit foundation Botildenborg. During the last ten years, Lena has led the social sustainability movement in Malmö, a city in the south of Sweden, faced with deep challenges and opportunities to integrate the community through diversity, social good and sound employment. Lena has been a journalist for over 20 years, both as a reporter and an anchor. In 2017, she was honored as Role Model of the Year for diversity issues in Sweden.
Today, Sweden as compared to other countries, is still considered a wealthy and equal country. But even in a welfare state such as Sweden the gaps between rich and poor is starkly growing. Sweden is a country which has welcomed thousands of refugees, and in the city of Malmö, over 30 percent of the population is born in another country. Today Islam has become an increasingly prominent religion in the area. The goal of Lena's work is to connect people from different backgrounds, ethnicities and religion to create awareness and friendship between borders. To acknowledge the differences and blur the lines so we are seen as one humanity.
Right now she is developing Botildenborg, a unique community site in Rosengård, Malmö that has over 150 nationalities. Botildenborg, is a renovated historic house from 1886 to become Europe's leading site for social sustainability and understanding. The work will concentrate on three critical areas: creating employment, spreading knowledge and understanding about diversity and socially sustainable issues and give hope for everyone.
Activities within Xenofilia and the foundation Botildenborg:
Rosengård cooking: food creates the best connections with people and is a good starting point for discussion and friendship. At the same time, Rosengård cooking provides work opportunities to women with excellent culinary skills but without formal education. Rosengård cooking gives cooking classes, has created two books, TV-program, exhibitions and events.
Growing buddies: connects newly arrived families with established swedes through gardening. Families are given a plot of land to take care of, plant and harvest. The seeds in springtime become a flower of friendship by autumn.
City farming:Xenofilia has started the first incubator (organized support for entrepreneurs) for companies that farm on commercial land within the city. Thirty new companies have started in the last two years around Sweden. The method also provides a concept for the municipalities to help the new farmers.
Work: Xenofilia has developed a method to provide gainful employment for newly arrived refugees. Xenolfilia works directly with companies to provide training and education to both employees and the unemployed resulting in jobs for 60 % of those joining the program.
Change through stories: Featured interviews with Holocaust survivors and their families about how to start a new life after witnessing trauma. A book and film have both been a starting point for an exhibition in the Museum of Malmö and an educational program for students to discuss and prevent antisemitism and racism in school.