Insights on NO ONE WANTS TO BE A REFUGEE event
I was part of organizing an event where two person shared their refugee experience with others, and the impact it had on me was overwhelming. The event’s aim was to raise the voices of refugees in Finland in order to tackle discrimination and prejudice and I felt the great impact of the event.
I noticed how the audience was engaged, curious and supportive and I realized even more how much these kinds of events are needed.
The guest speakers in the event were extremely brave in sharing such a lived and emotional story with us. The message of ‘No One WANTS to be a Refugee’ was loud and clear. The speakers shared how happy and secure their life was before they were forced to leave their home country. They share their strength in putting a brave face in front of their children, who didn’t have a clue of what’s was going on. Hearing this inside struggle of a parent left a significant impact on me. A father who tries to give hope and strength to his kids, a mother who did all she can to put a smile on her children face and act like the whole struggle of finding a safe place for the family, from one country to another, was just a fun and exciting adventure. And another mother who hold her childs hands in a dangerous river, not sure if they survive the trip or if they will lost in this crisis, like many others. Those moments which I pictured in my head when I heard these stories, will always stay in my heart.
As a mother myself, who will do everything in my power to keep my children safe, I related deeply with the parent’s love and strength that reflected in their stories. A guest speaker shared his painful moment of the ‘night of horror’ that he and his young children have suffered. I could feel his pain, his uncertainty of his future at that moment and the effort of giving support when children needed it the most. I can only imagine how hard it was and this shared moment will be always remembered. Another guest speaker shared the moment her family reunited in a video. I was overwhelmed with feelings, I could feel her pain, relief and happiness in her eyes. I could relate and feel how hard her separation was from her husband and how grateful she was to get her family back, all in a safe place. I did not wanted to cry in the event but as I’m writing these words, I can not hold my tears.
And that is the power of these kind of events, where people share their stories, their personal challenges, struggle, hopes and dreams, everyone can relate in some point. I left this event with inspiring feeling and empowered to know how strong and brave people can be. You can never know what is hiding behind people’s eyes, and in this event we got a glimpse of their challenge, struggle, hopes and dreams, their humanity. May will all be more humane and less judgmental.
I want to take this time to also encourage other people to share their stories. Your voice is important, your story needs to be heard. You matter and you are not alone.
Founder and author of thesocialmirror.fi