Jane Rose, a British volunteer took part in a KVT workcamp near Jyväskylä in 1981. Over 30 years later, she can still remember the spirit of Midsummer, Finnish words learnt during the camp, and of course, sauna! Lue loppuun
Articles in English
Mikä olisikaan parempi tapa pyöräyttää käyntiin kesän leirikausi kuin päivän talkoot raittiissa ulkoilmassa! / What could be a better way to start the workcamp season than working in the garden for one Saturday!
As a part of the Mustarinda camp, KVT ran an Awakening Awareness- workshop, which took place during the Helajuhla, 29th of May. You can follow the camp through a Mustarinda blog as well: http://mustarindagarden.wordpress.com/
As a part of the workshop the partcipants had a chance to think about the consumption of natural resources in their everyday life. The excercise was called the ”Ecological Rucksack”, which has been produced by Suomen Luonnosuojeluliitto and Kierrätyskeskus.
The second part of the workshop consisted of a excercise called the ”Water footprint”. So often people talk about the carbon footprint,where CO2 emissions and their impact on the environment can be mesured on individual basis, through online footprint calculators. The water footprint excercise, however, intends to make people more aware of the hidden water consumption in food production by showing how much water is needed to produce one kilogramme of carrots or an litre of orange juice etc.. Simple yet effective!
Thanks for all those who participated!
While browsing the book ”Maailmantalkoissa KVT 1947-1997 Kansainvälistä vapaaehtoistyötä ja työleirejä”, which is a collection of essays that detail the history of KVT in a chronologic order, I was happy to find the following picture and a small explanation about the picture that dates back to 1995.
KVT on osallistunut vuodesta 1995 lähtien SCI:n kansainväliseen Crossing- Borders -pakolaiskampanjaan, jota on toteutettu mm. välittämällä KVT:n leireille Suomessa asuvia pakolaisia ja turvapaikanhakijoita sekä järjestämällä työleireillä pakolaisaiheisia teemailtoja. Kuvassa KVT:läisiä osallistumassa awareness raising -peliin, jossa tuolien avulla havainnolistettiin väestön ja resurssien jakautumista maailmassa.
Since 1995 KVT has participated in the SCI International Crossing Borders refugee campaign, The campaigning has included sending asylum seekers and refugees to Finnish work camps and organising refugee-related happenings at work camps. The picture shows KVT activists playing awareness raising – game, which by the use of chairs aims to illustrate the division of the population and resources in the world
I was rather pleased to notice that KVT has been actively working with refugees and asylum seekers in Finland already in the 1990’s. Through this, one can also see the grass-root level approach and a forward-looking attitude of KVT activists, as well as the social responsibility embodied by the volunteers and their desire to develop KVT’s activities further.
The Awakening Awareness project aims to gather people from different backgrounds together to work against prejudices and towards a better understanding. One of our central topics is migration and refugees, that we implement in co-operation with our partner organisations and immigrant volunteers. We intend to deal with these topics on the workshops, which will be organized along with our summer’s voluntary camps, taking place all around Finland, but also through the camp themes, visits, smaller projects and media.
Grassroot encounters, and acting together towards a common goal, are important principles that KVT and it’s head organisation SCI use as a method in order to increase global knowledge and understanding affecting prejudices and attitudes. Prejudices often come into being through mental images, lack of intercultural encounters, wrong information or lack of information. Awakening Awareness aims to promote these kinds of encounters and experiences among people of different ages and different backgrounds. By inviting immigrants and asylum seekers as equal partners to our projects and camps, we bring interculturality and the realities of the global south close to Finnish people in their familiar environment through concrete means. We also wish to offer immigrants living in Finland possibilities and channels to act and to be heard as active citizens in our internationalizing homeland.
We asked the following questions from our participants:
1. Why did you decide to participate on a KVT project and what did you achieve from it?
2. In Awakening Awareness project our aim is to spread the knowledge of global responsibility, human rights and equality through the theme of migration and with the help of immigrant participants.
a) How do you think the immigrant participants can contribute to this global education theme and why is it important that they participate?
b) How can it be useful for them to be active in this, or in any other similar field?
3. Would you encourage other people to volunteer in these kinds of projects and why?
1. I decided to participate on a KVT project in order to learn about how to foster peace among people from different cultures and backgrounds, meet new people and learn more about their cultures and way of life. Through the project I became more aware of human rights and overcame some prejudices and stereotypes about people and I also made new friends.
2 a) I think Immigrants can contribute to the global education theme by sharing first-hand information regarding their experience as immigrants and how it feels to be away from the comfort of their home countries. It is important for us to participate so that one could learn about their rights, especially the fundamental human rights.
b) It is useful for them so that they could be enlightened on the current trends in the society. It could also be an opportunity for their voices to be heard and meet new people, both other immigrants and the natives, thereby integrating into the society.
3. I would encourage other people to volunteer in these kinds of projects because it educates them of their rights, helps them deal with some prejudices associated with particular groups of people, gives them the opportunity to meet other people and make friends. It ultimately makes them happier and more at ease with people.
Nawid Safar – Afghanistan
1.I decided to participate on kvt project because I like to be an active person. KVT’s projects are also a good opportunity to do something different, to meet new people, make new friends and to be happy during the camp with different people from around the world. I have learned from the projects a lot of new and good things and made many new friends around the world and I met many different people with different backgrounds. I think that without KVT, it is not possible for asylum seekers to do all these things.
2. a) I think the immigrant participants help a lot in this global education theme. They can spread understanding, share their own experience with others, and so defend human rights together.
b) It is very important that we participate to these projects, because we can get recommendations, find better ways of communication and most importantly it is useful for ourselves to be active and to have connections with people. It is important to me to be an active person in the community and to have connections with organizations that work for peace for example KVT and SCI.
3. Of course I encourage other people to volunteer in these kinds of projects, because it is a good project that works for peace and understanding and spreads knowledge about global things.
Nana Yaw Boachie – Ghana
1. Interestingly I had the opportunity of knowing about KVT in two different occasions; the first was from a colleague who is an immigrant and had previously participated on these camps and the second was an official encounter with the coordinator Emmi, who visited Kemi’s reception center for the purpose of introducing the programs of KVT and Awakening Awareness. I opted to participate in order to make new friends, which includes getting knowledge and understanding about new cultures and also getting along with different people in order to be active and responsible. With a specific reference to the program that I participated, I was taught into knowing more about human rights and global responsible issues. Moreover I had the best time getting to understand people from other side of the world.
2. a) Since the issue of immigrants was core to the global responsibility as a topic, immigration was the focal point. Then it was important to involve us to also contribute to the theme and to talk more of how we each go through to our destinations and the purposes of doing so in order to condemn the stereotypes.
b) The usefulness in partaking in such events varies from understanding people from other side of the world to encouraging us to be active in the society. It brings us closer to the society and helps getting along with it. It gives the opportunity to exhibit the talents we have to support and psychologically stabilize conditions.
3. Counting on the reasons stated above and my personal experience as a volunteer, I will say it was a healthy experience of being adaptable to other cultures. Being responsible to the society and more especially adding to the society the skills that you possess is important.
This is the fifth year KVT will have an Global Education Initiative, of which we are of course very proud of here at KVT! However, as well as educating global citizen’s in Finland, our international volunteers have taken the skills and methods they have learned back home with them, and on occasion they have developed the ideas further in their own countries.We have been pleased to see how the work and ideas of Global Education have become truly global! Below is an inspiring story from SCI Hong Kong.
A turning point:Global Education Project in Hong Kong
By Sudam Jayasinghe – Coordinator, SCI Hong Kong
In the year 2012, Hunag Pik Lam (Pat), a founder member of SCI Hong Kong traveled to Finland to join a workcamp. Being a teacher in Hong Kong is a respectable profession with a very good pay. Education system in Hong Kong ranks high in the world. However, there is a downside. The current education system in Hong Kong is regarded as highly competitive and stressful not only for the students but also for the teachers.
Pat had worked for five years in the mainstream secondary schools as an English teacher. Whilst she was studying for her Master degree in Education she learnt that Finland offers a very different approach to education. Ironically, Finnish students spend half of the time what Hong Kong students spend in their classrooms, yet Finland score just above Hong Kong on the PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) scale which measures quality of education across countries. Furthermore, Hong Kong students face tests after tests every term in order to improve performance and Finnish students only face exams at the end of their school life.
Hong Kong education system is driven by competition between students, teachers and schools. Students are divided into classes according to their abilities. Schools are ranked according to their performance and teachers are constantly monitored making the whole system competitive and stressful. However, Hong Kong ranks one of the top performers on the PISA scale. The Irony is that Finland that follows a very different model based on cooperation and relaxed learning environment yet, achieve as just as or even better.
The workcamp offered by KVT Finland (SCI Finland) fascinated her. It was an ideal opportunity for her to see what is going on in Finnish schools. Pat badly wanted to join this project. There were ten volunteers from different parts of the world joining the workcamp along with Pat. They visited schools, talked to students about their cultures, countries and customs. The volunteers organized a “Human Library” to tell their story to the students.The motivation and the enthusiasm of students and the satisfaction of teachers were very visible.
Pat returned to Hong Kong inspired and wanting to contribute something from her experience to the current Hong Kong education system. It is true that Hong Kong and Finland have very different governance systems backed by different ways of thinking. What is practiced in Finland cannot be just brought to Hong Kong overnight.
But the idea of Global Education is universal. We need to educate our young generation about the world, different cultures and different ways of living in other parts of the world. We need to educate our young generation by cooperating we can achieve as much or even more. We need to educate our young generation that it is possible to achieve more by doing less if we think differently and creatively.
Pat wanted to design a project to bring some of the things she learnt from Finland. As always, it was not easy. There were two obstacles, first financing the project and second finding schools to join this project. A small group of SCI activists started working on this adventure. A remarkable funding opportunity came when the government’s youth program (Commission on Youth) announced a pilot-funding scheme for innovative projects. The criteria fitted very well with our idea but the scheme offered only 50% of the total expenditure. We took the challenge and turned to our SCI branches for help. We were greeted with very positive response. As an example Matteo Testino from Italy (current visa-president of SCI) agreed to come to Hong Kong to do a training spending his own money. Local members agreed to support the project by volunteering to carry out activities. Different branches offered training opportunities for project participants.
Next challenge was to convince schools to join the project. We wanted ten schools to join this wonderful project. We called it “Myself Our World: Global Education Initiative” This included five activities, A leadership training, capacity building training, international workcamp with Human Library and an Exhibition. We wanted to conduct all the activities in English and include international participants in the activities allowing students to get engaged in a true global education project. We wanted students to work on a global problem of their choice, find solution and design an activity. We wanted to include schools across different ranking in Hong Kong, in other words bottom-ranking and top-ranking schools to join this project and work together. In our project description we wrote that this project would allow students to make mistakes. It turned out to be a big mistake.
Not many schools liked our ideas. Pat turned to her previous supervisors, colleagues and friends for help. She managed to convince five schools to join. It was a wonderful experience for all of us. Doing something, which has never been done before in Hong Kong. Over 1000 secondary school students and 36 International participants from 20 counties joined the project. The Hong Kong government gave 20,000 Euro and 3,600 Euro paid by the schools.
More importantly, this year we designed the second stage of the project, which was approved, for funding by the same COY scheme and eight schools joined the “Mapping Our World: Global Education Project”, which is currently underway.
Since her return, Pat was invited several times to talk at the University of Hong Kong to teachers and students about her experience in Finland and catering for Learner Diversity. Pat decided to leave the mainstream teaching and now teaches students with special needs. Pat is the head of the Global Education unit of SCI Hong Kong and the coordinator of Mapping Our Word Global Education Project.
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!
Check out the whole exposition HERE !
Visiting Kärsämäki Art and Culture Project 2.6.-15.6.
Tavastkenkä Village Festival 5.7.-16.7.
Awakening Awareness in Lieksa 4.8-18.8.
The exhibition was also present in:
lammassaari summer party 1.6,
Siuntio reception center – Open door day 18.6,
Haapamäki locomotive park – open dance party 28.7,
Worlds of women event in Lieksa 10.8
Joensuu street action 16.8
KVT’s end of year party 23.11 at Peace Station
On our way to our working day together in Lammassaari. There was such a fair amount of participants, that by fetching everyone from the bus stop, I got quite familiar with these duckboards running from the one edge to another.
Our intention was to empty the attic of an old wooden house of the island in order to get the roof reconditioned. By giving our effort and doing this favor, we would get to have our summer opening party in the building next to it.
The work was much dirtier and harder that I had imagined in my optimistic mind, and as a result I got quite a few sniding thanks from the friends that I kindly invited to join us. However we had a great time and without sniding at all I myself thank everyone for coming open mindedly along to this craziness. As a reward, we had a great summer party!
Our sunshine Habbad passed his smile on to the faces the others as well. When I met this little smilyface a couple years ago in Siuntio reception center, he was the one who came along to all craziness and if didn’t have anything wiser to do asked me to bury him under a pile of sand. In the winter he wanted to learn how to ski, and I hardly had the time to say out loud that I can teach him, when he already had found some pink women’s’ skis and was self-actingly sliding towards the nearest trench. Now this charmer already expresses himself, studies and works in such fluent Helsinki-Finnish, that I couldn’t believe that he has lived here for less than three years!
These lovely ladies of ours don’t lack any roughness or attitude. With them, and Laura’s spontaneous shouting, we even found just the bar-studio needed, where even the fact that Finland didn’t make it to the finals of the world championship games, didn’t ruin our day.
And then these jolly fellows found the crazy-company in each other, which lead into pushups, a surfing performance on dry land, which between us still needs some practice.. ;)
These guys didn’t want to stop working, but always slipped back to the attic to continue working. It can be hard for people from here to understand, that when you long enough sit still waiting, counting days, not being able to feel useful, then almost every kind of work and activity is helpful and rewarding in the battle towards time.
I mentioned that your clothes ”might” get dirty, didn’t I?
It was tough, but fun. Swimming in the sea full of seaweed feels surprisingly refreshing!
Warm thanks for Maija for cooking, Eeva for coordinating, volunteers from the World Village camp for sacrificing their free day, people from the reception center for participating and every other new or old friends who came to help. Special greetings for Danny and Lanja, who unfortunately couldn’t be there to party the results of our hard work.
Thanks also for Laura, Maija, Tomi, Harri, Anu, Eeva and Noora for organizing, Matin for the delicious food and the performers for the energetic music!
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