In what way have you has your voice been heard in Finnish society? In what way it is not being heard?
The initial period when I arrived in Finland was very, very difficult. I did not know anyone and there was no one to contact. Language was another obstacle to make my voice heard in Finnish society. One way of getting help was through social services. They helped me to connect with the right people and authorities, so I would know where to go and how to make my voice heard or how to access services that I need. Social workers were helping in every aspect in Finland.
It was hard to get my voice heard in many situations because I lack Finnish language skills. When you are new, you don’t know how and where to start. Finnish people are quiet people and you don’t get much information unless you start asking questions. Once you do, they are happy to answer your questions. It is quite a challenge here.
How are your dreams and goals being supported?
When I was in my country, my dream was to reach a safe destination and have a good life without any suffering. I would be working and having a stable financial situation. Here I am following my plan such as learning Finnish language, applying for a profession and getting a job, so I can get employed. Any person needs to be hardworking no matter what country you are living in.
I dreamt of being a doctor or a nurse but my dream didn’t come to realization here. In Finland you need to have a high level of Finnish language, so for immigrants it is the most challenging thing. If a person studies hard, perhaps it is possible to achieve such dreams. In my case I had to shift my dream here.
What are things that make you feel part of Finnish society? What issues affect that feeling?
There are many problems in my country Congo and the current situation is not good. I was persecuted there before coming to Finland. Finland is a good country and people are happy. I feel safe and secure here that makes me feel like I belong to the Finnish society. Finland does a good job by giving good conditions to immigrants.
What are the things that make it difficult to feel part of Finnish society?
In Finland people are not very talkative and I am not sure if it is a culture specific thing. If you ask questions, they are happy to answer them. People do not talk too much. The language is the main obstacle for me here. I am a strong man and can do a physical job. I can be a good builder and work on a construction site. In order to work there, you need to have a certain language level. If it is not enough, you cannot find a job in such an area even though you might be the most suitable worker. Language requirement comes first. It is the most difficult thing for me. In Congo we socialize and we can sing in public places. In Finland it is a bit difficult to play music in the evenings and it might cause troubles. Culture is completely different here.