Making More Noise about Older Migrants in Finland

Written by Siiri Jaakson & Susanna Lehtovaara

Finnish active ENIEC members have founded together a consortium of intercultural elderly care in Finland. Six partner organizations in the field of intercultural elderly care have joined forces more officially to work together to strengthen and promote the work and expertise of working with older migrants in Finland.

There is a real need for intercultural framework and culture-sensitive understanding in the field of elderly care in Finland. The consortium responds to this need through developing the skills of professionals in elderly care to understand the needs of older migrants or minority older people. In Finland we have been struggling with our status as a small, marginalized people’s NGOs so there was a need for more co-operation on national level. We see that there needs to be more dialogue between the various activities, as well as practical tools, training, guidance and sharing information, so that older people from ethnic minorities can have equal access to services that promote their well-being. This is a major social and also financial issue in Finland, but also in other European countries.

The purpose of the consortium is to strengthen our opportunities to influence decision-making in society, to utilize each other’s expertise and resources in advocacy work, and to intensify mutual co-operation in order to improve the position of older people from ethnic and linguistic minorities in Finland. The consortium will bring together the multi-professional skills of the members and influence the situation of older people from ethnic minorities regionally and nationally.

The activities of the consortium strengthen each member in their own line of work and brings together knowledge and shares expertise with each other. In addition, the consortium will support new organizations and activities to work with older people from minorities, such as municipal workers, NGOs and projects, by sharing information nationwide and inviting interested people to join events and discussions. The vision for the future is to act as a supporter and trainer for new organizations and people coming to the field.

The activities of the consortium:

  1. organize events such as discussions, seminars and field visits
  2. draw up statements, opinions and reports
  3. provide training for professionals and students in the field of elderly care
  4. support new organizations and people coming to the field of intercultural elderly care
  5. deepen cooperation with the authorities and decision-makers
  6. act as a support group to each other on challenging work issues

We wanted to write down this declaration of the establishment of our consortium, because it shows how the strength of our international network of ENIEC can also strengthen the work in one country. Working very closely together for the past couple of years (as the organizing committee of ENIEC Annual Meeting in Tallinn 2020) has brought us, here in Finland, even more closer together as partners. As times get harder, with COVID19 pandemic, cancelling our ENIEC annual meeting and having to worry about future funding of our NGO activities in Finland, we as the consortium have been working a lot in the background. Now we want to bring that work up front! The support, ideas and strength that we get from each other has been priceless. We strongly believe that the only way of making an impact to the lives of older people from ethnic or language minorities, is by working together. We may have but a small voice in a noisy world, but together we can make that voice louder.

We wish you a noisy rest of the year 2020!