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.