Jamie Bolling, Mari Siilsalu and Esti Alvarez visited ULOBA in Trondheim on May 16th 2014. They drove from Härnösand, Sweden with the trip being beautiful and there was an unexpected encounter with a group of Swedish Reindeer eating by the road! Luckily they were busy eating and not charging the road!
They met both with Lena Mari Steinfjell Karlsen, a peer counsellor for ULOBA and Henriette Nielsen, a work leader from ULOBA. Lena Mari has been a counsellor for two years responsible for fifty-seven work leaders in the Troms and Finnmark County area including the Trömsö area of Norway. Trömsö is north of Trondheim and is a sparsely populated area. ULOBA found Lena Mari in Trondheim where she had completed her university studies in German and in counseling. Lena Mari needs to fly to meet many of her work leaders.
Lena Mari described how ULOBA works in the field with counsellors being responsible for training and follow-up of the work of the individual work leaders and assistants within ULOBA. Lena Mari described the work as exciting and that there was a lot of responsibility to the role to ensure the development of each individual and the effective work of ULOBA. The counselling is done with a solution focused perspective. All ULOBA counsellors have a disability so the work is peer counselling.
Henriette described her own work in counseling with another disability organisation and young people between 15 – 26 years old.
Discussions were held on ENIL and how ENIL is approached with requests to improve peer support and peer counselling within the movement. ENIL recognise the importance of peer counselling and ULOBA provides a very good example of how this works in practice.