Stories of integration and resilience in Finland
Updated: Oct 24, 2022
A fresh initiative has begun in Finland to provide refugees the chance to be heard regarding their engagement in Finnish society and services. Using the hashtag #KuuleekoKukaan (#CanAnyoneHear), social media and blog entries written by persons with refugee backgrounds are shared.
Refugee woman of the year, Lama Kourdi, arrived in Finland in 2015 as an asylum seeker with her husband and firstborn. Lama and her husband demonstrated their readiness to work and study during their first week in Finland. Lama volunteered as a language and culture assistant in the neighbourhood primary school.
In 2017, Lama began to work as a school attendance assistant at a secondary school and visited hospitals and schools to share her expertise on various initiatives. Her work and life were already focused on advancing the rights of immigrant women. Just two weeks after the birth of her son, she set up a club for women in her local housing committee, which provides a space for women to learn Finnish, and experts like nurses and social workers are invited to the club meetings to discuss different topics.
As the Refugee Woman of the Year, Lama discovered that refugees’ views are not heard and plan to continue her fight for the well-being and inclusion of immigrant women and children.
Refugee man of the year. Aladdin Delli arrived in Finland in 2019 as a refugee with his brother. His vision was impaired in the other when he was only 7 years old. The brothers worked in a clothing factory 10 hours a day for almost two years before seeking asylum in Finland.
Less than 2 years after arriving in Finland, Aladdin pursued the language and culture, which earned him an internship at the Tampere Vocational College as an assistant to a Finnish language teacher. He wishes to continue teaching Finnish to immigrants. Things may be a little more challenging for Aladdin as a person with disabilities, but he believes that anything is possible with the right kind of support and assistance.
An active member of the Suurella Sydämellä volunteering network, Aladdin helps refugees to know their new hometown and the Finnish culture and language.
Photo © unhcr.org