By Helena Lufuma, refugee mother of four from Angola




Webmaster’s comments:
In order to bring her case to the attention of the Swedish public, Helena Lufuma performed a sit-strike at

Sergel Square
in Stockholm, August 1997 to May1998. Her efforts were to no avail.

Helena Lufuma's four children are now quite grown-up. The forced separation of this African refugee family and the placing of the children in foster homes has had devastating consequences for them. Her two sons have spent many terms in prison and the youngest daughter has been a truant and on drugs.

 This story is presented here with the kind consent of the mother and author, Helena Lufuma.







Are children commodities? the sign asks.

From Helena Lufuma's demonstration at

Sergel Square, Stockholm



Why did the Swedish Social Services separate me from my children?


My name is Helena Lufuma. I came to Sweden in 1987 from Angola with my family, which consisted of 2 daughters, 10 years old and 3 years old,  plus two boys ages 7 and 6 years old.





The whole thing started when I visited the social welfare office on July 25th 1995, having realised that I needed a little help and advice.


I thought that maybe the help that I could get would be to place my children in a foster home for a month or two until I got on my feet again and was more organized. I thought that maybe they could help me with some kind of guidance and parental advice.


But instead quick decisions, short-term solutions were made and they talked me into placing my children in different homes. I wasn’t for the idea of having my children placed in different homes; I wanted help in my own home. The situation resulted in my case being taken to court and I lost custody of my children.




"Why are so many children being taken from their parents??
Is it because of a collision of cultures, flaws in the law or those exercising office???




My opinion is that the court made the wrong decisions. In the investigation there were several points missing:

1 - the children's behaviour and if unsatisfactory how they could be corrected.


2 - my capacity and possibility of taking care of my children.


At the same time the social authorities contacted a private child care company that was supposed to help with the placement of my children in a foster home. I didn't want my children to be put into a foster home, but my opinion was ignored. I wanted to have an African guidance assistant who could easily identify with me and my situation, but I was told that this wasn't possible and that I wasn't allowed to choose the members at the meetings and that it was no need for an African child guidance consultant.





"Stop the dictatorial bureaucrats in the social services".

Helena Lufuma's demonstration at

Sergel Square, Stockholm




After awhile in a temporary foster family, my children were forced to move to the home of one of the swedish child guidance consultants, this having taken place without my knowledge. It was after my children had been moved from their foster homes that I was notified. The social authorities had not made an official decision. When I found out I was upset and I contacted the Ombudsman and requested that he look into the matter. The Ombudsman later told me that the social authorities had committed a breach of duty.


The social authorities have never given me the advice, directions, therapy or help that they said I needed for being able to return to my role as a good mother. Plans for reuniting me with my children have never been made or drawn up.


 My children have instead been forced to move to new homes10 times in three years, and to change school several times. In one of the foster homes my children were not allowed to use their mother tongue when talking to each other. I have asked to be reunited and placed with my children in a neutral place, a place that would be good for all of us, where we can get the help we need and repair the pain and suffering that was caused when my children were taken away from me. But this suggestion is still not accepted by the "Söderleds Stadsdelsnämnd".




"Why are the social services breaking up my family???"
"Why do the social services boycott my children's sibling relationship?"



The people in charge of my case were replaced by new staff several times, without my knowledge, and many new decisions have been made without me knowing and this has come to my attention months later.


I have been denied the right to read my case journal by the "Söderleds Stadsdelsförvaltning" even thought I have made this request several times.


My children have been turned against me through bribes. Instead of returning my children to me the social authorities gave them extra pocket money, nice clothes and expensive things that they knew I couldn't afford, and I believe this was done to keep them away from me. The monthly allowance that I can offer my children is far less than the weekly allowance they receive.




"The social services ill-treated me and my children. Then they called our reactions mental disorders"



My values and my attitude as a mother and my opinion concerning how my children should be brought up do not seem to have any relevance in the social authorities' eyes. They have given the children an environment where they can do what they want, sleep where they want, come home when they feel like it.


As a mother I have never wanted my children to be brought up without taking responsibilities in life.




"Söderled's Social Service Army should be disarmed"



The staff at the Social Services is trying to take my life through psychic outrage.


Söderled's Social Service Army should be disarmed.


The photos above are from my demonstration at

Sergel Square
(Sergels Torg) in Stockholm August 1997 to May1998.


Do you want to support me? I am fighting for reunion of my family.


Please send your support to:


Helena Lufuma, Pepparvägen 9.1tr, 12356 Farsta, Sweden


You can mail to:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Thank you!



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