When Valéria Pinto moved to Finland with her Finnish partner two years ago, she was looking for opportunities to integrate and network. Originally from Brazil, Valéria has experience in both working as a media coordinator and teaching English. It was during this time that Valéria met Familia by chance during an event with another organisation that at the time had a partnership with Familia.
“I won’t say it was my dream to volunteer when I moved to Finland, but it was something to fulfill the need of doing something and being useful, of meeting people and understanding things a bit better.”
“I wanted to find a way to get more connected to the Finnish mindset and lifestyle, but also to become more employable”, she shares. “I met someone from Familia who was giving me tips regarding my CV and she suggested volunteer work. Her professionalism, her energy made an impression on me.”
This autumn Valéria led workshops about Brazilian music for learners of Portuguese to become more familiar with important cultural moments in Brazilian history. The workshops included exercises and discussion to contextualise these cultural moments through songs of the era. The Portuguese club was part of Familia's language club activities. For Valéria, the best thing about volunteering at Familia was the freedom to develop her own activities. “Familia gave me great freedom to develop my idea […] and was very open to my proposition.”
“What’s the point with my volunteer experiences? Exchange: exchange of experiences and exchange of stories.” says Valéria, “I have lived in 6 countries and I really enjoy knowing different things, meeting different people, listening to their stories and telling my own stories.” Volunteering in Familia was also a way to challenge some assumptions about Finland. “After my experience with Familia, I felt that [Finland] is a friendly environment and I just have to go a step further to integrate. […] I learned that Finns are very open, welcoming and curious about things.” she says, “It’s about sisu!”
This week we are celebrating our volunteers by sharing their stories in the Duo Blog. We are currently looking for new volunteers to run multicultural and multilingual activities. If you are interested in leading activities in your language please fill in the volunteer application on our website or contact Familia’s volunteer coordinator, Camilla Bergman be email at camilla.bergman(at)familiary.fi.
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