When a crisis hits: Vulnerable people in locked-down Bergen

Date, time: 25 March 2021, 12.00-13.00

Place: Zoom


What happens to extremely poor people when their small income disappears overnight? How do they feed themselves, let alone their family? Do they pay their bills? And where do they live? As covid-19 spread to Norway, it hit the most vulnerable first.


This webinar will discuss the pandemic and its’ impact for EEA citizens working in the informal sector in Bergen, highlighting a group’s exceeding vulnerability to economic stress. Most informal EEA workers returned to their home country in the first phase of the pandemic, however, with no or few opportunities at home, many have returned. In Bergen, opportunities are few and there are those who must take high risks to survive. Some sleep at emergency shelters for the homeless, basing their income on collecting bottles in town.

Who is responsible for this group of people? What can be expected from a city such as Bergen, aiming to be a “Human Rights City”? And what makes the situation so desperate in their own countries that travelling during a pandemic is the best option? 

Luminita Dinca, manager of Adina Stiftelsen, is working in rural areas of Romania. She will present the current situation in Romania and attempt to explain why we see so many Romanian street workers in Bergen. Kristine Moskvil Thorsen, head of the migration unit at the Church City Mission will present the situation in Bergen, with comments from Mads Haugebø and Sølve Særte from Bergen municipality.


In June 2018, the City Council in Bergen anonymously voted to become Norway’s first Human Rights City. Although most people would agree on this being a positive action, the label comes without any obligations. The aim of this seminar series is not to further polarize the society, but to bring people with different opinions to the table to openly discuss the challenges in Bergen. This project is a collaboration between LawTransform, the Rafto Foundation, the Church City Mission (Kirkens Bymisjon), CMI, the University of Bergen and Bergen Global and is funded by Fritt Ord.