New Roots

New Roots

Nye Rødder – New Roots is a social business registered in 2015. It was founded by Lotta Wilson Bruun and Sasja Iza Christensen who have been pioneering the nature-based therapy for refugees in Denmark.

New Roots is based in the Ecovillage Hallingelille near Ringsted, about 65 km from Copenhagen. In Hallingelille forest, open fields, farm animals, blue sky and a supporting community shape the background and surroundings for the work.

The aim of New Roots is to help traumatized refugees and vulnerable immigrants to gain a mental, physical and social balance through nature-based therapy, green activities and a sense of community. Participants are often suffering from PTSD, anxiety and depression or have a poor work identity, social problems and low Danish language skills.

The rehabilitation programme GROW is based on a connection between treatment, work-orientation and nature. Treatment is conducted through nature-based therapy, coping exercises and conversations, all aiming at improving the psychological, physical and social well-being.

Work-orientation is an underlying goal of helping the participant to enter the labour market, though we often find a number of obstacles that need to be uncovered and addressed before doing so.

Nature is at the center of our method, since it provides us with meaningful activities, healthy surroundings and immediate effects. Being in nature has been proven to help lower blood pressure, stress hormones and enhance cognitive functions, while it also gives room for relaxing and strengthening the body. In nature we also train the ability to work through meaningful activities such as gardening, landscaping, wood constructing, sustainability, health and green cooking.

New Roots has an affiliated association, FOGI – association for green integration. FOGI is a volunteer network where former GROW-participants and their families meet each other and Danes for recreational and social activities.

FOGI promotes diversity, community and exchange across ethnicity, language and age. Through its activities FOGI gives the opportunity to stay in touch and continue healthy and positive co-existence to fight loneliness, trauma symptoms and relapse.