On 17-18 March 2014, Finland's National Network Focal Point and SHARE Partner, the Finnish Red Cross (represented by Ann-Charlotte Siren-Borrego) organised an event together with its partners, including the Ministry of Employment and Economy, Regional Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centres), the Multi-Cultural Centre Gloria, the European Resettlement Network and the SHARE Network at the Public Library in Jyväskylä, Finland. The event was entitled: Refugees Need a Home.
The event began with opening remarks by the Finnish Red Cross, who provided an overview of the European Resettlement Network and the Emergency Resettlement Project, as well as their work as National Network Focal Point. This was followed by additional opening remarks by the Multi-Cultural Centre Gloria, a Centre open to all, which brings individuals and organisations together and offers cultural events, courses and activities.
The event was open to the public and also attracted numerous school groups of different ages who could experience what it would be like to live in a refugee tent by speaking with refugees and Red Cross volunteers. Watch the film below to see how the event unfolded and view interviews with key participants and organisers.
This event is one of many events being organised in Finland as part of the Refugee Tent Tour, the impact of which is aimed at encouraging municipalities to offer places for refugees and increase awareness of the Syrian refugee situation. In 2014, three tent units will tour Finland and be displayed at 21 different sites. During these events, volunteers provide information to visitors about life in a refugee camp, with the aim of encouraging more people to advocate for their municipalities to receive increased numbers of resettled refugees.
Since 2009, the Finnish resettlement programme has experienced some challenges in relation to a decline in the numbers of places offered for resettlement by municipalities. By increasing awareness of refugee situations, including the situation of refugees in Syria, and encouraging municipalities to offer more places for resettled refugees, the Refugee Tent Tour aims to reverse this decline. Finland’s resettlement programme quota for 2014 was increased from 750 to 1050, providing 300 additional places for Syrian refugees in response to UNHCR's call for states to respond to the crisis in the region. In total, Finland has pledged to accept 500 Syrian refugees during 2014.
The photo gallery of the event is available here.
Click on the links below to watch video interviews with local and national actors in Finland, as well as previously resettled refugees.
- Elina Hienola - Social Worker at the Immigrant Services of the city of Jyväskylä, Finland (2mins 49secs; English)
- Kristina Stenman - Head of Unit on Integration at the Ministry of Employment and the Economy, Finland (7mins 36secs; English)
- Ann-Charlotte Siren-Borrego - Planning Officer at the Finnish Red Cross (2mins 45secs; English)
- Emmanuel Sibomana - Congolese refugee resettled from Burundi to Finland in 2007 (1min 40secs; French) English subtitles to follow
- Consolée Nyiramutuzo - Congolese refugee resettled from Rwanda to Finland in 2009 (13mins 14secs; French) English subtitles to follow