Do you know the House of Opportunities in Vennesla?

14/07/2022

Opportunity house is a unique concept! 

As we enter the house, we enter a nice coffee with simple buffet. Cozy atmosphere with walls and interior in natural materials and calm colors, creates heart space for visitors. The place should be seen and experienced, but see their website: www.muligheteneshus.no. Raymond Bærø is one of the fire souls who founded and now runs the house: «We have used remnants of sawmills and used things that people should throw away. This applies to all of the interior and furnishings in the house and 80% of the food we use in the coffee. The workforce is mainly volunteers who have some form of disability benefit, who have come into contact with the services in the house and have later taken the initiative to be involved in the work. What has lofted our measures is social and material sustainability. We see that there is a difference between people, and with that different environments and measures are needed. We have, among other things, self-help groups, resource groups, and a beekeeping project that is mainly run by refugees ».

The special thing about the House's main measures, in meetings with families referred by the child welfare service, is that they give them plenty of time (2 years of treatment) and that they aim to reconcile the members of the family, often over several generations. As a method in the process, dialogue meetings and teaching of trauma evidence care and security use the circle. It turns out that their method has a good effect on making the participants aware when it comes to changing attitudes and clarifying basic values ​​in the family relationship. After the process, people are motivated to take responsibility for preserving the community and cultivating dreams in their own lives. This is because the culture in the workplace creates space for the pain and life experience that previously contributed to them experiencing exclusion, to now become the source of empathy, compassion and competence to reach out to those who are struggling. This is, I think, is in faith with recovery mindset. Where people have the opportunity to take responsibility, contribute with meaningful work, be with community and see that hope flourishes. One of those who both uses the house's services and works as a volunteer herself, says that when she became acquainted with the opportunity house, she asked to join a resource group, which was arranged in collaboration with the child welfare service. This gave her the strength to come up from a very heavy and depressive period in life. "I started volunteering for coffee. After a month of work, I was given the responsibility to extend the opening hours and develop the entire buffet. Later I opened the food distribution department. Now I have switched to catering. We have access to another kitchen. 

From being at the bottom, I now have a leadership role here in the house. The fact that I am disabled, my health does not allow me to be in a normal one hundred percent job. So being here and being allowed to develop, to climb the paths, to be part of the development and to see things flourish, makes me very happy for this opportunity. It is important to point out that it is possible for us sick / disabled to recover. The whole house here is like one big family, I could never imagine moving from Vennesla again ». Another volunteer: "My sister and I have a self-help group for sexually abused and abused children. It was actually my sister's idea, she went here for many years, who experienced that being exposed to abuse is not a topic to talk about. She asked me to join a group. The work is very rewarding ». The house has several offers, such as the distribution of used clothes. They have developed their own comprehensive scheme that contributes to the family being better equipped in several areas. We believe that they are doing a fantastic job and that the country needs more examples of opportunity houses. (Khunche Muhamedi, ROM-Agder)