The emerging green industry in Boden is attracting hand-picked talent from around the world. The Inavolu and Pampana families from India were some of the first families to come to Boden in the wake of global social change.
For 17 years, Bharat Pampana and Krishnama Inavolu have been colleagues. They belong to the expertise that is not available in Europe and travel the world for the kind of cutting-edge missions needed at H2 Green Steel.
in Boden in the coming years. They are part of the team developing the direct reduced iron (DRI) technology that is crucial to H2 Green Steel’s planned production.
For the first time in years, their families have chosen, and been given the opportunity, to accompany them around the world.
– It means a lot to us to be together as a family. “For me it’s a lot of emotions and I’m very happy that we can all live here,” says Naveena Inavolu, who was used to being alone with the children for long periods before.
The families left the heat of the big cities of Vijayawada and Rajamunday in southern India in the spring of 2023. Pampanas experienced some snow. Inovalus arrived just before leaf burst. After long bright summer nights, they were fascinated by the changing yellow of the autumn leaves, flaming northern lights and crisp frost. And apple trees!
– We are used to buying and eating apples where we lived, but we haven’t seen them growing on trees like here,” smiles Naveena, who also vlogs from Boden and shares her impressions on YouTube with followers around the world.
– Our first goal was to find homes close to each other. Now we have it and we like it very much,” says Sailaja Pampana.
With other relatives and friends far away, the proximity of compatriots and local friends means a lot. Here children can take the football under their arm and go outside to play. Families can cycle into the city center and to their children’s soccer practice. Food shops are close by and the bus to schools and work stops right outside the house.
The next goal is to learn Swedish. Naveena and Sailaja are well on their way after just a few weeks at SFI together with students from 13 other nationalities.
A major support for new residents is the municipality’s relocation service. They provide both the practical reception and the organizational systematization of all the data received by the relocation service via the www.flyttatillboden.se website and employers with relocating staff. The team is an important piece of the puzzle in the global competition for skills where quick and smooth entry into the new country is crucial.
The municipality’s relocation service assists with everything from practical questions to introducing what we call #neighborhood life – leisure activities, tourist destinations, trade, public services and more.
The families’ children became the first students of the new International School of Boden. It is gradually being filled with more students at different levels. The school follows an international education program with internationally trained and experienced teachers to provide students with a high quality worldwide curriculum that is transferable and widely recognized throughout the world. Some parts are integrated with the other students in the Swedish school and Swedish is also included in the curriculum.
The children have learned to like Swedish dishes such as meatballs and potato balls. The Indian flavors come home to the kitchen where cooking is a major interest for both families. So much so that it has even sparked a dream of opening an Indian restaurant in Boden.
– We already have a name – Indian Housewives kitchen,” says Naveena with a laugh.
– But first we want to learn the language so we can talk to the customers, that’s important,” she continues.
The families’ new life is a big contrast to life in India. Besides the benefit of not having to live apart while fathers work around the world, the temperature and climate make a huge difference. In their old hometown, temperatures of 40-50 degrees were not uncommon. In Boden it was below freezing when they arrived, and during the summer it was often only half as hot as the Indian heat.
For Indian children, the cooler climate is one of the best things about Sweden.
– I love the cold. Here we can run and play outside without it being too hot,” says Anirvesh.
All children play in local football teams. The families like the library, the second hand and sustainability services available in Boden, are happy to buy recycled goods and have learned where to advertise what they need. They listen to Swedish friends and note Swedish customs, furnishings, curtains, potted plants and dinner times.
– This is a whole new life for us. We are learning new things all the time and have received very good support and help from the municipality. We have not received this reception anywhere else in the world where we have worked,” says Krishnama.
– We are very grateful and enjoy it so much. We will be here for several years, but I feel we could stay longer,” says Bharat.
TEXT: ANNA BERGSTRÖM