HARO

Haro was founded in 1982, and is a women organization that works for freedom of choice, equality and parenthood and always with the child in focus.

Freedom of choice: We want parents to have the possibility to choose what kind of care that best suits their family and their child and for everyone who wants to have the possibility to care for the children at home.

Equality: We want men and women to have equal possibilities to create and live their own life the way they want.

We want the unpaid caregiving work to be visible and valued and especially as it is mostly women who becomes more vulnerable both economically and socially because of their choice.

Parenthood: We want a more conscious parenthood that is based on the development and the needs of the child. And we also see the development and maturation in parents who dedicate themselves in the process of this task as important and relevant in society.

Organization work

The organization has about seven hundred members. The board has meetings seven times a year during two days witch gives us time for both work and team building. Our General Assembly Meeting is also a two-day meeting and gives the members an opportunity to decide about what to do and where to put the focus for the coming year.

We publish a magazine 4 times a year. are active in social media, debate, meet politicians, arrange seminars both for parents and professionals. We also work internationally as members in FEFAF (European Federation of Parents and Caregivers at Home), which is based in Brussels. We are a member of MMM, Make Mothers Matter and through them were introduced to American Mothers and Dianne Callister.

We have attended the CSW (Commission on the Status of Women) at the UN in New York for several years now and both there and at the European Commission we have created a big network with many organizations as well as politicians and experts.

This past year we have conducted a seminar at the Nordic Forum, witch was a big Nordic feministic conference during 4 days in Malmö, Sweden.  Our subject was Motherhood and the speaker was Rebecca Walker, an American author, lecturer and original leader and founder of Third Wave Feminism.

We also arranged a conference about the situation for families in Europe in Stockholm in October, in conjunction with the 20th Anniversary Celebration of the UN International Year of the Family.

Sweden

The situation in Sweden for parents and children is both good and bad.  We have a lot of support from the state and at the same time we leave our personal responsibility a bit more than necessary. People tend to trust the state more than themselves and it has created a society where the natural family bonds have been broken or at least damaged.  95 % of all the children between 3-5 years old are in preschools and there is no limit in how many hours they can be there and no limits in the group sizes. The psychological impact has been unhealthy among children and youth  and the school results are declining. Nobody knows why.

It is a sad to know that we live in one of the most wealthy countries in the world and still don’t have a real choice to take care of our children in the way we want to.

But fortunately there is a growing movement where especially mothers have had enough and now go their own way despite the lack of support. Even if that means you get thrown out of the social support system.  They do it even though friends and family are questioning them.

To care for children is still not valued and it is more important then ever that we change that.

About the author, Madeleine Wallin is the mother of five and a board member of Haro.  She is also the President of the European Federation of Parents and Caregivers at Home.