Stories from the Reception Centre

The voice of the asylum seekers is often left unheard in the public debate. We hear a lot about how many refugees are arriving and from which countries, but the people behind the numbers are often left outside. This can cause prejudice against the newcomers, because it is so easy to be afraid of something you don’t know. Many people forget that the refugees are just people who have had to leave their family members and their everyday lives behind.

In the summer of 2015, as the number of the refugees were growing all over Europe I wanted to do my part in affecting the situation. To demonstrate how behind all the numbers and news there are actual people with actual worries, I started the Stories from the Reception Centre project together with some volunteer reporters, photographers and interpreters. We went into the reception centres to interview the inhabitants, to take photographs of them (so that you won’t recognize them) and to post the story formed by these elements into Facebook, in Finnish and in English. By bringing the people and their stories into people’s awareness we wanted to increase the mutual understanding of the Finns and the refugees. The site received a lot of followers and the project got a lot of positive attention. In March-April 2016 there will also be an exhibition based on the project at the culture centre Stoa in eastern Helsinki.