WHERE & WHEN?
Lieksa is a municipality located in the province of Eastern Finland and is part of the North Karelia region. The municipality has a population of 12,568 habitants. KVT’s Awakening Awareness initiative organized a human rights theme camp there between 4-18.8.2013, where volunteers from all around the world participated.
Lieksa’s street view has changed during the last years into a more diverse direction. The largest new nationality group are the Somalis followed by the Iraqi Kurds. Before 2010 the largest foreign nationality group was the Russians. The most difficult time has probably passed, however the immigrant groups and the local people seem to remain mostly separated in daily life. We wanted to bring some intercultural co-actions with us by organizing different kinds of open activities for all people of Lieksa!
Worlds of women
The volunteers prepared activities, workshops and events for and together with the local people. We had a multicultural women’s day ”WORLDS OF WOMEN” with costumes from different countries and a human right activist singer Nilufar Banu Lily performing.
We arranged an AWAKENING AWARENESS & FAIR PLAY football match,where we invited Atik Ismail to coach us. We served fair trade treats, had a fair trade exhibition, played with fair trade football and fair trade banana cheerleaders. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t on our side on this one, but we weren’t definately made out of sugar!
We had a humanlibrary event in the public library of Lieksa. We presented ourselves as books of certain theme, and the reader could ask us questions about our lives. We were also glad to have Aino, Tiitu and Sini-Maria from Joensuu to join our crew.
We also did some school visits, where we had group discussions with the students about different topics linked to the subjet of the lession. At the same time they got some useful english practising ;)
Guitar, grannies and granpas
We wanted to visit in elderly houses, and go cheer up the grannies and grandpas. We were singing familiar songs in different languages and playing guitar and djembe drums.
We also visited group homes for underaged asylum seekers, and the christian folkschool, and different NGO’s.
Joensuu here we come
We carried the exhibition of the initiative with us and used it with our multicultural costumes in a street action in Joensuu. We had the opportunity to visit schools and NGO’s as well.
Among all this, the volunteers themselves, were trained in workshops during the camp. We had workshops about human rights, prejudices, stereotypes, attitudes, minorities, immigration, asylum seekers and so on..
To this we got some help from our visitors, who took part in organizing these; Thank you Ville, Venla, Mimosa, Silja, Maria, Nilufar, Azizeh and her crew.
A special thank you is referred here to our occasional baby-sitters, that took care of our wild little toddlers, so that mommies could participate a bit more. We would have needed much more of this (;
In this project we had a great crew of people from 13 different nationalities working together with the project coordinator of the Awakening Awareness. We had Angelina (South-Sudan) and Katri (Finland) as camp leaders, and as participants Sunghee (South-Korea), Mami (Japan), Fede (Italy), Alfredo (Spain), Mojca (Slovenia), Polina (Ukraine), Magda (Poland), Hope (Nigeria), Kate (Cameroon), Nana (Ghana) and Nawid (Afghanistan). With Hope and Kate we got extra energy from their toddlers Joy (2), Neriah (4 months), Llyod (4) and Rooney (2).
Of course we wouldn’t have managed without some local help, that we got from Lieksan tukipiste, Lieksa’s christian folk school, group home Tuikku, Lieksa’s schools, an elderly home Helmikoti and a center for elderly leisure time Karpalo, center of Joensuu’s multicultural work, local and national offices of Finnish Refugee Council, Nuutilan loma, Lieksa’s library and many others. THANK YOU!