Empowerment of Social Enterprise at Basta, Nykvarn in Sweden

Basta Nykvarn – a social enterprise - was the first stop of the RRR visit to Sweden to study the social mobilisation of the former addicts. Social enterprise as Basta Nykvarn is unique for Sweden and Swedish drug policy climate. It has nothing to do with standard rehabilitation programmes, psychological therapy or 12-steps programmes, according to Basta`s founder, Alec Carlberg.

The idea behind a one-year rehabilitation programme is empowerment with work and acquiring good social skills for each client. The programme has existed for more than 10 years now, and is very much inspired by the Community of San Patrignano in Italy. This means no medication or substitution therapy is used, and there is a lot of pride and care in quality and value of the products and services provided by the clients.

Basta is client-owned and depends on the sales of drug rehabilitation services and carpentry, construction, cleaning and maintenance, graffiti removal services, horse breeding and dog hotels. RRR group has seen a major part of this work, stayed at the client-run hostel, shared meals at the client-run canteen and took a ride on the horseback, a courtesy of the Basta clients employed in Nykvarn.

Basta cooperates directly with the social services at the local and regional level and with the penitentiary services at the state level, said Kristina Blixt, the project coordinator at Basta. The number of clients can amount to 100, this year there were around 70 people, including the staff. Many of the clients stay at Basta when the rehabilitation programme is finished and live and work here, shared Namu Nambiar, the head of the rehabilitation at Basta Nykvarn. This makes the concept of social enterprising rehabilitation unique, making use of the human potential for the benefit of society in the long run. Thus Basta is a self-procuring enterprise; it constantly develops the quality of services and products to be able to compete with other ventures and rehabilitation programmes.

Basta is also about social mobilisation in the meaning of expanding the labour market, using the skills of clients on their road to self-esteem although no psychologists are involved in this kind of therapy.

A rewarding visit to the deep Swedish forest by the lake it was!