Thinking about all the troubling things I have faced I am not here just to complain about them. I am here to do something to make things better for myself and for others. I have received a lot of support from my classmates as well as from different organizations and communities.
Starting from my own surroundings, I have built an own culture. In my home, me and my boyfriend we have our own culture. We share some things from his and my cultural background as well as from our Finnish surroundings. The food we make, the decoration we have, the things we do, the music we listen, the clothes we wear. I have had a lot of support from my friends and family. My parents always supported me and encouraged me to have my own cultural background and they emphasized the importance and meaning of having many kinds of friends from many backgrounds.
Having a good social safety net is important. To have persons with whom you can share your thoughts and worries, as well as happiness and joy. My safety net supports me with my own culture. Having friends from different cultures, religions and countries is important and it makes me richer in life. I have learned so much from them and I have adopted many things from them.
I started to work as a volunteer in Mannerheimin Lastensuojeliitto in 2018. I did voluntary work with immigrant women, helping them to integrate and learn the language. I also learned from it. I learned about different cultures, costumes, food, language etc. Mannerheimin Lastensuojeluliitto does a lot of work with immigrants, especially with families, women and children. I was participating to this Vatukka-hanke in Kajaani in a program called Ystäväksi maahanmuuttajaäidille. It aims to help with integration and learning Finnish language. Many times, the immigrant women and moms stay at home, because they don’t have that many social networks or possibility to go to a language course. Even shopping for food might be hard without someone helping with the language or to show what to buy. I was as a friend of this young woman from the Middle East and I had fun with her. I was able to teach many things to her. It did not even feel like voluntary work, it felt like I was hanging out with a friend. This is an opportunity to do something important, helping others but also helping myself at the same time.
My school, Laurea University of Applied Sciences supports multiculturality well. Starting from my classmates there is a mix of different cultures and backgrounds and I have learned so much from them. When we share stuff, I feel like they understand me, and some may even relate to my feelings. Teachers as well are from many backgrounds and, they give me inspiration when they tell about their studies, multiculturality and their professional background. Being able to go to exchange somewhere where I feel like I´m at home is a wonderful opportunity. I can’t even describe with words how happy I am to go to Valencia. The language, the warmth, the atmosphere, I´m going to be healed. On the other hand, I am going to miss my boyfriend a lot, so a part of me will stay here in Finland.
My friends are having these open events in Helsinki like about once a month. Ubuntu Film Club is based by a group of young women who wanted to give joy, support and empowerment to others. It is always free to attend. Their motto is “Expanding narratives, with a twist of fun, one film at the time”. The idea is to bring people together. Usually it starts with a movie and after that there is a panel discussion based on the theme of the movie. There is always good food and drinks offered and after that it is all about the party.
Picture from the Beyonce movie & party. Nisa, a young artist was telling about her career and the difficulties she had faced as a female artist from a different cultural background here in Finland.
Tyttöjentalo was visiting and telling about sexual violence.
Having these kinds of circles around me makes me feel blessed and safe in my life. Having places and surroundings where I can feel that I am safe, and I can kind of be at home is rare but a blessing. For me home is more internal place than physically visible and external. It is an atmosphere, created by me and the people around me. Without this support I feel like I would go crazy. One thing that I want to give to my clients in the future is this feeling, an atmosphere or guidance to a place or to a mindset where they can feel the same. All of us should have a place we could be safe, that we could call home.