How have you got your voice heard in the Finnish society? Has there been times or occasions when you feel that you haven’t been heard?
Initially, I would like to thank you for offering me this opportunity to share my journey in Finnish society with people. I wanted the project, and I loved to be part of it. When I arrived in Finland, I lived in Rovaniemi for two months. Then, they created a new housing center in Kemijärvi and told me to move to the continues residing place. I lived there for a year, and I have learned a lot about Finland’s culture, society, and the law. Although I felt that my voice was a bit audible, there were still difficulties that I personally faced, such as the lack of information we received from the social workers since they were new employed and did not have the experience. Also, I didn’t have the chance to study or work due to the lack of resources in Kemijärvi. So, I decided to learn Finnish and English by myself through the internet.
I moved to Helsinki at the beginning of 2017, which was the first job I found in Finland. I have been working since that time, and besides my work, I decided to go to school to learn and improve the Finnish language. In 2019, I decided to continue my education, so I started my bachelor’s degree in the International Business program at Arcada university of applied sciences. Besides studying, working full time is not an easy process to go through, but the support that I have been getting from my friends, teachers, and managers helped me a lot when I was feeling exhausted, so these kinds of moments when I felt my voice has heard in Finland.
How are your goals and dreams supported? Have there been times when you feel that you haven’t gotten support?
Although we come from different backgrounds, we are individuals, and everyone has goals and dreams want to achieve someday, just like Finnish people. School supported my goals and objectives when it let me study. Also, some companies offered me a job to work, and unprofitable organizations provided me opportunities to learn something new or work as a volunteer. On the other hand, there have been times when I did not get any support, especially from the immigration service, when still I am suffering from not obtaining a residence permit in Finland for about seven years now. Due to the same reason that I am still an asylum seeker processing, usually, many things are affected so badly in my situational life. For instance, the hosting companies did not allow me to rent an apartment even though I have a permanent job.
What kind of things make you feel that you are part of Finnish society? What kind of things affect that feeling?
When I got treated on the same level as Finns, not as a foreigner living in Finland, I felt a part of the Finnish society. In my opinion, if foreigners would not have the same rights and duties as same as Finns, they would never feel as if they were part of the Finnish society. Therefore, I think everyone has to take part in the responsibility, including state institutions, civil society organizations, companies, Finns, and foreigners, in order to have a more homogeneous society in the future.
What kind of things make you feel that you are not welcomed or that you are not a part of Finnish society?
Of course, I would say the racist attitudes that I have faced privately or even publicly made me feel unwelcome here. But racism exists in every society around the world, so I used to adapt to these kinds of situations and not let it affects me anymore. In addition, the most hurt me that t when I got judged by ”strangers” people based on my hair color or background, especially when I have heard many times that I came here to take Finn’s money while I am sitting home, and this is a very wrong idea. Because I have been working for over five years in Finland, and even during my studies, I kept working full time and didn’t get any support from Kela or social support. In my opinion, if we want to have a better future, we have to accept each other. Finn people have to accept the idea that Finland will continue to grow and prosper faster with foreigners. We are productive here.