Posted by: Sarah | September 2, 2011

The Poverty House In Oslo (Fattighuset)


Last Friday my SAP colleagues and I spent the day supporting a local charity in Oslo.  SAP takes its role within the community seriously and encourages employees to take time out to contribute back to society.  In addition to this the company encourages entire offices to spend time out of the working calendar to do something together to support a local initiative.

We chose the Fattighuset (Poverty House) in Oslo. This is a charity that aims to eradicate poverty and help improve living conditions for those who are living below the poverty line.  It’s hard to believe that one of the richest countries in the world can have poverty issues…but it does!  They do so much more though.  They offer free health service, a library, a drop-in cafe and even a choir.

Throughout the week the volunteers at Fattighuset work hard to collect clothes, toys and food to distribute it out to those who need it most.  What astonished me most was the amount of food that organisations like KIWI, ICA and Norges Gruppen donate.  This food is often sat in the warehouse.  It isn’t out of date but by the time it’s transported to local shops the shelf life isn’t long enough to sell so they donate it to the Fattighuset for distribution.

Every Friday anywhere between 500 and 700 people queue up outside to collect a food pack which is made up from donated food and goods.  It’s an incredible operation.  We arrived at 9.30 and started bagging up potatoes, sorting out the goods, preparing to re-stock quickly…then a truck load of food turned up.  Everything from fruit to chocolate to biscuits to pasta to vegetables – you name it – it was in the shipment!  We formed a line and took the food off pretty quickly but what an operation!  How the volunteers do this every week is quite amazing.  We were shattered!

I spoke to a few of the volunteers at the Fattighuset and they fantastic people.  A Russian lady who has lived in Norway for over 15 years.  A highly qualified petroleum engineer from Syria who has lived in Norway for nearly 20 years.  A young mother who has suffered badly from anxiety but has gradually got her confidence back through helping at the Fattighuset.  Incredible stories and an incredible charity.  I hope that SAP maintains the relationship for years to come since I feel we have so much more to give this charity.

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Responses

  1. Bravo for you! Assist in any way necessary. In every city you can always help someone who is worse than us. In Ibiza we live very well but we also have a place where people who are unemployed or out of resources going to ask for help and I am proud to say that all directly or indirectly put some of us.
    I like your post and of course your blog.
    In December I will spend a week in Oslo, if you want something of Spain and tell me.
    Happy weekend.
    a hug

    • Thanks Maria – always lovely to hear from you! Glad to hear you’re coming to Oslo in December. If you’re coming over you should always make sure to bring your full alcohol quota from Duty Free for whoever you’re staying with…I’m sure it will be most appreciated! It would be so nice to meet you for a coffee however, we may be a little busy (see latest post coming tonight :-)) Hugs, Sarah

  2. This is a wonderful post. I too thought Norway had little poverty. Do you know the poverty rate?

    • Hi Lynette – very good question so I did a little research and found this article: http://www.newsinenglish.no/2011/08/31/concerns-rise-over-poverty-in-norway/ It seems like the number of children living below what Norway classifies as ‘below the poverty line’ has been increasing in recent years. “SSB’s numbers showed 73,800 children living in relative poverty in Norway in the most recent reporting years of 2007-2009. That’s up by 6,500 since the current government took over in 2005. A family of three living on household income of less than NOK 273,000 is considered below the poverty line in Norway.”


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