Sherry Hakimnejad moved with her family from Iran to Norway when she was 5 years old. After travelling, living abroad and spending a year in the military, Sherry became more and more aware what she wanted to do. She wanted to work with troubled youth. She studied psychology and social work, and during her studies she became a foster parent to a 17 year old girl. At that time Sherry herself was only 27.
Sherry experienced the social aid system, and the realities of kids who are dropouts from her many different experiences: As a child being bullied by her peers, as a foster parent, and as a social worker. Although the Norwegian state puts a lot of effort and resources to assisting these kids, Sherry felt that many things were not working to actually empower the kids, and she wanted to try something different.
"The youth we work with have had all the government programmes, been in foster homes and lived in institutions, but they are still not sustainable within themselves"
Sherry started Kompass Invest AS with Katerina Medbøe Eriksen, one off the partner enterprises in their collaborative network called Kompass & Co 2.5 years ago. Their company is a social enterprise with focus on sustainability within social and green innovation. Moreover, it is an empowerment arena for youth. Sherry and Katerina have created a different programme that enables youth through hands on experiences. Rather than sitting in an office, talking about problems and watching as things stay the same and the youth's self esteem becomes lower and lower, Sherry and Katerina are using food as a tool to reach the youth and make a difference.
"What is unique about Kompass & Co is our way to start different projects that focus on different tools to empower youth. This summer is about experimenting and doing projects we have wanted to do for a long time. I love being a part of Kompass & Co because we dare to take risks and to act, rather than just talk"
They have been testing several different ways, including offering a catering service to elderly, thereby creating a meeting space between the youth and elderly.
"I wanted to combine the youth and the elderly as they are both outsiders in Norwegian society, and they can both learn so much from each other"