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Aftonbladet celebrates Swedish heroes

News are often serious and terrible. But there are also a lot of good stories out there, and good people who make a difference. Aftonbladet’s annual campaign, Swedish Heroes, pays tribute to the everyday heroes, those who set an example to all of us on how to reach out to help and support each other.

Thanks to Lasse Wennman, no one in the city of Gävle needs to be hungry. He’s started the initiative Matakuten (food emergency), collecting food that stores are throwing away. He then gives the food to those who need it – old people, single moms, large families, refugees with no documents and EU immigrants. It started off as commitment to help those in need, but now he also has a focus on the environment when taking care of food that otherwise would become waste.

Lasse is one of the Swedish heroes, 2016, and the first environmental hero. When he was awarded at the Swedish hero’s gala he said:

”Matakuten is a counterforce to child poverty and poor retirees. We are actually throwing away their food. I want every child to have breakfast. We need to get together and share our abundance.”The environmental hero-prize is a cooperation with WWF and is only one of several categories. An animal hero, a hero from school, a neighbor, and several enthusiasts are also rewarded.

Schibsted’s Swedish mediahouse Aftonbladet started the campaign in 2007 as a reaction to the common criticism that the picture given by media is too dark, only telling stories of conflicts and violence. Aftonbladet wanted to show a different side. Every year since, readers can nominate their heroes. They might have saved a life, stood up for an opinion or supported someone who needed it. A heroic deed can be small or big.

Along the way Aftonbladet reports these stories that engage and inspire. A jury makes the decision and in December the winners are celebrated at a gala show that is also broadcasted on Swedish TV4.

To expand the concept, Aftonbladet brought Swedish Heroes into schools in 2012. A tour was set up to speak to pupils about ethics and moral and to highlight the fact that you, as an individual, can make a difference.

Swedish Heroes is about courage, bravery and compassion. It’s about big issues told through everyday stories. It’s about ordinary people doing extraordinary things. It’s about individuals that in different situations take actions all the rest of us wish we would take.