Today Finland celebrates Kalevala's Day. It's a day to remember a great Epic of Kalevala by Elias Lönnrot. This day is also known by some as the Finnish Culture Day. I decided to talk to my 6-year-old son about the Sampo, which was a Magical artefact constructed by Ilmarinen in Kalevala, and it brought riches and good fortune to its holder. I asked my son what he wanted if he had the Sampo and he answered sugar for sweet, salt so my food would be tasty and crystals because they are so beautiful. He asked me what I would have wished for, and I really wasn't sure for a while, so he said "Äiti, you always say that all you wish for is love and peace!" It made me realise that I actually didn't want any material fortunes. I want safer world, filled with love and respect. And this reminded me of 3 wonderful individuals that are inspiring exactly that.
Tiia-Marina has been with Familia more than 10 years, when she first joined as a trainee when she has decided to follow her heart to the social field. She describes Familia as a wonderful place where intercultural families, like hers, found activities, opportunities to meet other intercultural families who they shared similarities with. Tiia-Marina describes the Finnish culture as "a challenging culture for many foreigners to understand", and that Familia offers help and guidance to ease their bureaucratic frustrations. She mentions the colourful olden days where people walking in and out of the premises, cooking, and socialising.
Tiia-Marina, explains how Familia's services are needed in present and future of intercultural families. The relationship counselling that Familia offers is very important to both sides, the foreign and Finnish part of the family she clarifies. She describes the problems of immigrants and intercultural families as familiar to her as the back of her hand. Her personal difficult experiences made it clear to her how important it is to receive that support. Tiia-Marina also talks of multilingualism and how it is the child's right to have their other languages supported, acknowledged and respected. She wishes for Familia to bring even more activities in the future to support intercultural families and all who moves to Finland.
Alec sees also the importance in the work and what Familia is offering from various range of services. He describes how Familia is assisting intercultural families to navigate a complex environment. Alec is very proud to offer his time and service to an NGO that is offering tools and a voice for many intercultural families in Finland, and hopes to continue supporting in all ways possible for the inspirational staff and volunteers at Familia.
Alec describes Familia as vital for health of society and the promotion of intercultural dialogue. He believes that Familia will improve the integration of immigrants and advocates on their behalf for better polices, through their works. He worries how in the recent years we have seen the revival of populism and anti-immigrant rhetoric, which he believes is mostly due a misguided fear of the "other". He thinks that Familia and other NGOs with similar minds and way will be a great assed to tackle this issue head on.
Petra describes Familia work as important and close to her heart. She has been with Familia for 4 years and ever since has found out that Familia shares the same values with her and so it has been a key factor in her involvement with Familia. Petra believes in giving back to the community, so she finds it important to volunteer in NGOs such as Familia. Petra also tells that she is happy to have a is a part of a place where her experience has been found useful and could be used in helping others.
In Petra's view Finland is changing, intercultural families and immigrants are increasing, so Familia is needed to be involved in this change and support the those who have moved here. Petra also believes that NGOs will benefit from identifying challenges and opportunities in the communities through research, surveys, and other analyses. Then this valuable knowledge can be used to build a new common good through constructive projects and developments.
So if we think about it and imagine a world filled with such selfless people we would be able to see how wonderful the world would be. So yes... Maybe I would wish for unending production of people that are filled with love, selflessness and desire to change the world for everyone to live in peace and feel accepted.
Ajatuksia ja kokemuksia elämästä kahden kulttuurin keskellä.
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