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Building the future in Greenland

Oak Foundation Denmark / Partner story

Photo credit : Siu-Tsiu 

The small town of Tasiilaq, Greenland, is located 106 km (66 miles) south of the Arctic Circle. While remote and beautiful, the growing season is virtually non-existent. Yet, thanks to the The Siu-Tsiu project, kale, onions, and turnips now improbably shoot up out of the ground.  

The Siu-Tsiu project works to establish a locally rooted social economy in Tasiilaq. Tasiilaq is one of just two towns on the 3,000-km-long east Greenlandic coast. It has a population of 2,000, and young people between the ages of 15 and 29 make up almost a quarter of the residents. 

Teaching them how to grow vegetables, especially in this tough northern climate, is one way to help them get a foothold in the labour market, and help improve their sense of wellbeing. Other ways include teaching them skills, such as how to carry out repairs in the town, like painting houses, fixing bridges, and other tasks. 

Siu-Tsiu also cooperates with Greenlandic businesses, educational institutions, and civil organisations to create jobs and allow young people to gain skills. “Siu-Tsiu aims to help young people gain both professional and social experience,” says CEO Hanne Danielsen. “Our goal is to provide new opportunities for education or work that contribute to lasting employment, improved wellbeing, and hope for the future.” 

Siu-Tsiu is an abbreviation – written in both East and West Greenlandic – for the word ‘future’. And its meaning is significant – in a few years, Siu-Tsiu hopes to have created new companies in collaboration with local business owners, helping to demonstrate the value of social economy in Greenlandic society, and give a future to many. “Our dream is to create new jobs in the city, in South Greenland and hopefully in a third location,” says Hanne. “Siu-Tsiu is not a project, but rather a permanent effort.” 

Siu-Tsiu has already completed its first training programme, with 10 young people between 16 and 24 years old. The next ten-month long programme is already underway. Siu-Tsiu wants to ensure that there are fewer vulnerable young people, and the wellbeing of its young trainees is always a top priority. Therefore, Siu-Tsiu continues working with the trainees for another year after the training has ended. This is important as it allows the young people to feel supported as they enter the workforce. “Now it can never go completely wrong. Now I have Siu-Tsiu,” says one 19-year-old man attending the Siu-Tsiu training. 

Created in partnership with the Nuuk Municipality, Siu-Tsiu aims to roll out its project to support the whole of Greenland. Siu-Tsiu has established a secretariat in Nuuk, and it hopes to build a network of Greenlandic participants and expand the efforts to other parts of the country, so that municipalities can obtain knowledge and support, and create more opportunities for young people to get jobs. 

All people working on the project are local Greenlanders, with the exception of Hanne, who is Danish. “The locals in Tasiilaq have welcomed us,” says Hanne. “Through the young people, we work with the whole community.”  

This project falls under Oak Foundation Denmark, which seeks to support innovative solutions that improve the daily lives and future prospects of socially vulnerable and marginalised groups. You can find out more about the programme on our website. For information about the programme in Danish, please visit its website here. You can find more information about Siu-Tsiu here.