"As a non-Swedish speaking resident, I realized that I have very limited access to Swedish history and culture. If a person like me, who has a PhD and cannot access the knowledge, just think about thousands of immigrants who came to Sweden, who were unlucky to have a decent education and who does not speak Swedish or English! It will take at least a generation shift for them to understand Swedish society. I want to bring a change here and make Sweden more inclusive."
Surviving chronic unemployment in Sweden: Aravin’s Story
My name is Aravin Chakravarthi. From my childhood, I aspired to study insects and wanted to pursue research. So, one thing followed another, and I landed up at Lund University in the summer of 2012 to pursue my PhD. I successfully defended and all went well so far.
This is when we got our son, and my wife got a job in the "Kommun" as a caretaker for dementia patients. By the time she got this employment, she was unemployed for four and a half years in Sweden. So, I thought, I will pause while she takes up the job. But this turned out to be a very long pause.
I enrolled in programmes for the unemployed, enrolled in programmes where they provide mentors and job coaches and enrolled in SFI. And I was sending in job applications almost every day. I never got any reply for my cold calls nor a single positive response for my job applications. Reply to my job application was always, Dear applicant, Thank you for your application...... We decided to move on...... If I am lucky, they would mention my name ….Dear Aravin......rest was the same content.
One and a half years after unemployment, I started to lose hope of getting a job. Then finally I thought I will try to make some money by hosting myself as a Malmö tour guide on the Airbnb platform. I started to read about the history of Malmö and in a few months, I was hosting guests from all over the world. I was happy with this job, but this did not help me earn enough to pay my bills. I was looking for all possibilities. Meanwhile, took many small hourly-paid jobs whenever it came by.
Being unemployed and not getting a proper humane reply for my job applications made me think that there is some genuine problem with the Swedish job market. I thought it is conservative. But after, I became a tour guide, I finally realised that Sweden truly has a lot of problems that needs to be addressed. I began to realise Sweden is in its bubble of pompousness. This is when I realised, I can do something to change.
As a tour guide, I realized that non-Swedish speaking residents have very limited or no access to history and culture. If a person like me, who has a PhD and cannot access the cultural heritage of Sweden, just think about thousands of immigrants who came to Sweden, who were unlucky to have a decent education and who does not speak Swedish or English! It will take at least a generation shift for them to understand Swedish society. I want to bring a change here and make Sweden more inclusive.
This is exactly what Trailsi is doing. We dig out historical stories of museums and parks, develop those stories into engaging content and deliver them through the help of apps. We translate the content into multilingual content and cater it to Adults and Children so that everyone in Sweden can learn and appreciate its history. At Trailsi, we also make places and trails interact with its users using the latest IoT technology.
I think I found my spark!
/ Aravin Chakravarthi