Emma Arnesson

Emma Arnesson

See Emmas Talk at TEDxÖstersund »

Only seventeen years old Emma raised money for a SOS Children’s Village in the Central African Republic as part of her non-profit organisation “Share for Life”. Her dedication in that organisation took her to many parts of the world and gave her both knowledge and lessons learned from people she met. She says listening to real stories has been crucial for her own development, which has shaped her to the ambitious and responsible leader she is trying to be. Today, she spends the majority of her time and commitment working with the non-profit organisation “Hey stranger!” which started with a couple of friends in the autumn of 2013. They organise free-of-charge health and fitness activities for everyone, with a particular focus on asylum seekers and recently arrived immigrants.

1. How come it was you who started “Hey Stranger!”?

This comes from my heart. This is needed, and then you find solutions. I have, thanks to “Hey Stranger!”, got in contact and got to know so many amazing people. There are so many qualified people already engaged. They, the people at Grytan and those contacting me who wants to contribute with their ideas and knowledge are inspiring me every day. This idea is still new and we are developing it every day.

2. You have received a lot of praise for the initiative “Hey Stranger!”. Why do you think people want to work with you and be engaged in this kind of organisation?

I find it difficult to understand that I inspire others. I think this is a good idea, and good ideas engage people. It was also good timing. Many are worried about the increasing influences from politicians and others using racist argumentation in debates. The knowledge of problems with lack of integration has also got increased attention in recent years. I think “Hey Stranger!” has found an important key to integration. I think we can share more and learn from each other.

3. What are your hopes for “Hey Stranger!” in the future?

I want more people to know of our idea! I really want people to understand and want to do similar things in their communities.

4. What is your advice to people that want to do things like “Hey Stranger!”?

Forget all the reasons why it will not work and believe the one reason why it will. I love to try new ways and to challenge norms. Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn.

Posted in Speaker, TEDxÖstersund.