Bloomberg Businessweek reports: It’s a scene that could possibly warm even the two-sizes-too-small heart of the Grinch. Here in a little village in Norway, as dusky midday light filters in through the forest outside a classroom, a half-dozen Afghan teenagers hunch over a long wooden table, assiduously scissoring colored sheets of construction paper.
These are 15- to 18-year-old boys who’ve endured miseries no child deserves—gunfire, explosions, the killing of a parent by Islamic State—and they’ve traveled here from their homeland on foot and in suffocatingly crowded vans.
They sneaked through the woods on the Turkey-Bulgaria border, and they’ve been chased and bitten by police dogs and beaten by their smugglers. Now they’re celebrating Christmas and inscribing cards with some of the very first Norwegian words they’ve learned: God Jul. Merry Christmas.
Are they happy to be here?
“It is calm and peaceful,” says Bilal, 15, in Pashto.
“It is nice,” says Ahmad, also 15, “but why isn’t there a cricket pitch?”
Their middle-aged teachers—a Syrian and an Eritrean, both onetime refugees themselves—hover over them, benevolent, smiling, as a commuter train rattles in the distance. This, arguably, is the Scandinavia that the self-proclaimed socialist presidential candidate Bernie Sanders was referring to in October when he suggested that Americans “should look to countries like Denmark, like Sweden and Norway, and learn from what they have accomplished”—particularly when it comes to government programs that assist those in need.
Read more at Bloomberg Businessweek