The voice of asylum seekers often goes unheard in public debate. We hear about the number of refugees coming to Finland and from which countries they are, but people behind these statistics remain distant to us. This may cause distrust as it is natural for one to fear the unknown. Many forget that the asylum seekers are normal people who have left family members and daily routines in their home countries.
In order to show that behind statistics and news headlines there are real people with real concerns, we have launched a Facebook page called Stories from the Reception Centre which offers asylum seekers a chance to tell about themselves, their life and dreams. By giving asylum seekers an opportunity introduce themselves we hope to increase mutual understanding between Finns and the refugees.
The stories of asylum seekers are collected by interviewing and photographing them near the reception centres. If necessary, a voluntary interpreter is asked to join the process. The stories are published on the project’s Facebook page, webpage and possibly on other platforms also. All the stories are published in Finnish and English to reach a larger audience.
The project is run by volunteer professional reporters, photographers and interpreters, who go to interview and photograph the residents of the reception centres. Interviewees have themselves chosen to share their story and know their right to privacy will be respected. The asylum seekers interviewed should not be recognized from the photographs used in the stories – and the photos can be taken of also something else than the asylum seeker him/herself, for example, of a personal belonging.