Omin sanoin – In My Own Words – videos by young asylum seekers

In 2016, Finn Church Aid initiated a new national project to support young asylum seekers in Finland. The aim of the project was to give the asylum seekers an opportunity and a platform to raise their voice in Finland, and to support their active participation in the society. The project also facilitated mutual solidarity between asylum seekers and other residents of Finland. It was implemented in 2016-2017 as a part of the Changemaker Youth Network of Finn Church Aid.

Engaging mainly young asylum seekers coming from countries such as Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan and now living in reception facilities in Finland, the project organized workshops where participants scripted, filmed and edited short videos on topics of their own choosing. The video clips were filmed using smartphones.

The participants were free to choose what they wanted to tell in their short films and how they wanted to express that. As a result, their films picture stories of people and challenges they meet, experiences they have gone through, and dreams they have for the future. While spectators get glimpses to the realities of asylum seekers in Finland, the making process helped the creators to navigate through a challenging life stage.

Workshops were organized in ten different cities across Finland, and collected 164 participants in total. Afterwards, films were screened to the public in open events, where audience was welcomed to discuss with the project´s participants, too. The screenings collected a total of 3 300 spectators, and offered a space for new encounters, breaking down prejudices and enhancing mutual understanding between different people living in Finland.