Finland: migration and refugees

How we started

  • – Group: The three students that were chosen to travel to Lampedusa and their history and social studies teacher.
  • – At first we read what is meant by the term refugee.
  • – We had a series of questions about refugees and migration to Europe and Finland. We started by finding answers to them.

The questions

Background information

  • – Why do people end up being refugees?
  • – How many refugees there are globally? (Estimation.)
  • – Where do they leave from and why do they have to leave?
  • – Why did the number of refugees coming to Europe rise dramatically during the year 2015?
  • – How do the refugees choose the places they flee to and why these areas?
  • – What kind of dangers they encounter during the journey?
  • – Which are the most frequently used routes by refugees in the world, to Europe and to Finland?
  • – From which countries are the refugees that come to Finland from?

Reactions in Europe and in Finland

  • – What were the reactions towards the refugees in Europe and in Finland during the autumn 2015?
  • – What kind of confrontations there were in Finland?
  • – What is the impression that Finnish people have on the refugees that came to Finland?
  • – Where to find reliable information about the refugees and their reasons to flee from their homes?
  • – Why there is so much unreliable information about the refugees? Who does it benefit?

International politics and relations

  • – How did the EU try to find solutions in the situation where more and more refugees tried to cross the borders?
  • – How did this situation affect to the relations between the members of EU?
  • – What was the content of the agreement between EU and Turkey? What are the threats on this agreement?
  • – How did the refugee issue become relevant in relations between Finland and Russia?

Idea of our work for Lampedusa Museum of Dialogue and Trust

We started planning a collage with things we carry with us during school days and what we would gather to the same backpack if we had to leave our homes.

Meeting with a refugee

There is a school in Lapinlahti which offers education for refugees and immigrants (Finnish language, mathematics etc.). We contacted this school, Portaanpään kristillinen opisto, and asked if we could meet one of their students. They were very kind to arrange us a meeting with a young man who has been in Finland since summer 2014.

We asked him about his background, reasons why he had left his home country and the journey he had taken to Finland. He also told us about his experiences in Finland.

We were surprised how well this young man spoke Finnish after being in Finland only for two years. He had traveled from Iraq to Finland through Turkey, Italy, Germany, Denmark and Sweden. We were surprised that this journey took him only 10 days.

We had imagined most of the refugees leave their home with maybe a backpack full of things they need. We asked him what he took with him when he left Iraq and he told us he only could take a mobile phone and some chocolate bars. That led us change the artwork we are making for Lampedusa.

Artwork for Museum of Dialogue and Trust

Our work is a collage of things that we will take with us to Lampedusa.