Save the Children report: Young people in Groruddalen in Oslo feel they have been blamed for spreading corona

Stovner - power gridPhoto: Heiko Junge / NTB

A new report based on interviews with youth in Groruddalen shows that many feel they have been singled out as scapegoats for the spread of the coronavirus.

The report “Do not blame us! Conversations with youth from deprived areas about what it has been like to be young during the pandemic” is based on qualitative interviews with 14- to 19-year-olds from Groruddalen in Oslo about what it has been like to be young in the corona era.

The youth who participated in the survey live in areas exposed to living conditions challenges, particularly hard-hit by the pandemic. 

They say that they feel they have been blamed for the spread of the virus, both as young people with different skin colors and residents on the eastern edge of Oslo.

“I barely dared to go out”

The youths in the survey said they had felt the daily worries during the pandemic, related to infection, school, and grades. They did not want to walk around with guilt in addition to this.

“If you say where you live, then you are a threat,” a young person in the survey said.

“I barely dared to go out. If anyone had seen me, they would have thought I was spreading the infection. I had to take more responsibility than others,” another said.

Leader of Save the Children Norway’s program, Monica Sydgård, thinks it’s sad that young people feel like that.

“It is outrageous that young people feel they have been stigmatized because of where they live and because of their skin color – that they have a feeling that they have been blamed for the pandemic. If there is anyone who is not to blame, it is precisely the youth,” she said.

On dangerous ground

“It is an adult responsibility to ensure that young people are not stigmatized in Norway. When we know that young people feel so stigmatized that they cannot defend themselves with facts or good behavior in the pandemic, we are on dangerous ground,” Sydgård warned.

The youth said that the news picture of overcrowding and the spread of infection in different ethnic environments felt like an attack on them and their skin color. They want adults to focus more on facts when they talk about the spread of infection.

“We must prick up our ears and listen to what the young people here in Groruddalen say in this report so that we do not fall into the trap and stigmatize them again,” Sydgård said.

Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews

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