Kuva: Punaisen Ristin kuva-arkisto/Stefan Bremer
Photo: Finnish Red Cross/Stefan Bremer
Memory Collection Campaign 15 Oct 2018–15 March 2019

Have you undertaken voluntary work with asylum seekers? Share your memories.

In autumn 2015, some 32 000 asylum seekers arrived in Finland. Thousands of Finns were there to receive the newcomers. Many of them were volunteers who came to the job, for example, through the Finnish Red Cross or social media networks. Volunteer work has created an important safety net for the newcomers and has affected the volunteers’ lives in many ways.

We are hoping to hear stories of volunteer work: short and long term activities, personal encounters and work in social media networks.

You can, for example, discuss some of the following topics. Remember to include the location and time of the events.

  • Describe how you ended up partaking in voluntary work. How have your life experiences and educational background influenced your choices? Do you have earlier experience of voluntary work?
  • Describe what kind of voluntary work you have done in practice. What kind of challenges have you faced? What has been the hardest part of your work and what the most enjoyable? What kind of training have you received for the voluntary work? Have you been training other volunteers?
  • What kind of communication channels have you been using in your work and how? How would you assess the significance of traditional and social media with reference to helping asylum seekers?
  • What is your relationship to asylum seekers? How have you been helping them to start a new life and find employment? Which types of asylum seekers in particular need help, and what kind of help they need? What do you feel you have gained from voluntary work?
  • What kind of emotions has voluntary work evoked in you, and how have you been dealing with these emotions? How have you managed to fit voluntary work in your life? Has voluntary work turned into paid work in your case?
  • How has your view of the Finnish society changed as a result of your voluntary work?  Have you been partaking in demonstrations related to asylum seekers?

The memory collection campaign is organized by the Finnish Literature Society (SKS), University Lecturer Kirsti Salmi-Niklander and Assistant Professor Mervi Pantti (University of Helsinki) as well as Specialist Researcher Sofia Laine (Finnish Youth Research Network).

The collected data will be stored in the archives of the SKS. We will report on the results in autumn 2019. All respondents are entered into a prize draw.

Instructions for completing the survey

Write your answers in your own language and style. There is no length limit for your answers. Please give your written consent for archiving the material you provided into SKS archives with your name or alias and for handing over the data to be processed by the Finnish Social Science Data Archive and handed over for the purposes of research, teaching and study.

We also accept photographs. By sending the photographs you give your consent for the archiving, research and publication of the photographs in accordance with the archive guidelines. Please contact arkistokuvat@finlit.fi concerning other photographic submissions.

Read more about the collection guidelines (in Finnish).

Please submit by 15 March 2019

  • by using the online form below or
  • by mail to Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura, arkisto, PL 259, 00171 Helsinki, please write “Kohtaamisia” on the envelope or
  • as an email attachment to the address keruu@finlit.fi, please write ”Kohtaamisia” in the subject field.
If your answer exceeds 5000 characters, please add it as an attachment.