Photographer: Aleksi Kokora – Editor: Sems Erik
Generally, it is customary to talk about someone’s success in a field because that success may be related to a time or an event accompanied by a certain amount of media fuss and then end until another experience comes with a stronger impact and some forget what preceded it.
However, some people we read about or observe can be considered to have a profession where impact or changing the rules is the primary objective rather than only achieving success.
Especially when it comes to one of the youngest people who has experienced a remarkable radiance in the middle of Finland over the last three years through a young woman under the age of 23, who has decided to be the nucleus of change and renewal in the region of Vantaa and her future vision, which makes her an example of positive citizenship and how bold she is to take responsibility for being one of the few initiators of young women from Somalia.
It’s Salaado Qasim.
A master’s student at the University of Helsinki and an educator in Vantaa, who is also a writer and the owner of a pen in the newspaper Vantaa Sanomat, she also holds a prominent leadership position in the organization.
Peace and Well-Being
An organization founded in 2019 by university students with a strong background in issues affecting young people and women.
Our role in the institution
Our role is to improve the living conditions of women and young people, by providing opportunities in Finland and across Europe, by combating institutional racism in educational institutions with the goal of helping young people and women by giving them clear information about educational and career opportunities.
We are trying to create a secure space for everyone, especially for those with fewer opportunities.
Parempi Vantaa – competition winner
This contest aims to involve the people of this region in the development and revitalization of the system. Considering their perspectives and ideas on how to improve it. Believing that everyone has the right to put his/her fingerprint and the future of the region to make it attractive, where everyone can participate if all conditions are met, considering the age.
In the competition, every resident of Vantaa could propose an activity in their area. The main idea was to create a photo exhibition of multicultural influencers living in Finland. The idea was successful, and after winning the competition, I had the opportunity to establish an exhibition in Vantaa, Hakunila.
A dreamer in the quest for development.
In Finland, the number of immigrant students at university is low, and according to them, studying at the university is seen as a significant achievement. However, my success at university has now inspired other young people of immigrant origin to pursue higher education.
To build on this, I have set up my organization, Peace and Well-Being (Rauhan ja hyvinvoinnin järjestö), which helps young people and women achieve their dreams by providing clear information on educational and career opportunities for them.
It’s not easy, but it’s not impossible.
I believe that success is always associated with meeting challenges, especially in the European setting. Given that I am from a different cultural background, it requires me to change a certain reality or change people’s mindsets.
I have faced some obstacles in my education along the way. Although I was born in Finland, I have to deal with prejudice from Finnish society due to my immigrant origin. My activism is driven in part by a desire to ensure that others do not have to face the same challenges in the future.
My book, and what it is about.
The goal of writing for children is to increase diversity in literature. Children’s representation in literature plays an important role in child development and growth. Positive representation helps children see themselves in books. I have also written a book for young people, aiming to expose young people to stories that are usually not told.
- Suuria unelmia-tarinoita suomalaisista, jotka muuttavat maailmaa (2022)
- Anisa tahtoo kierrättää (2022)
I received the Arjen Turvaaja award for my work in a Peace and Well-Being organization, an organization that collaborates with women and youth organizations, promoting equity by creating spaces for all people.
The organization works especially with those who feel they do not belong to society and cannot find their place.
We emphasize that each person must be considered as an individual, not just a representative of their community.
The award was presented by The Foundation for Municipal Development and was awarded by President Tarja Halonen.
More Honors & awards throughout the years
Most of these relate to youth, culture, education, growth, and development.
- Kulttuurisen nuorisotyön tunnustuspalkinto (Issued by Suomen Nuorisoseurat · May 2022)
- Prometheus -talk into (Issued by Prometheus-learn tuki ry · May 2022)
- Ennakkoluuloton edelläkävijä -tunnustus (Issued by Finnish Red Cross · Mar 2022)
- Young Changemaker of the Year Award (Issued by Ashoka Nordic · Feb 2022)
- Vuoden vantaalainen vapaaehtoisteko -palkinto (Issued by City of Vantaa · Nov 2021)
- Maailmanparantaja -kunniamaininta (Issued by Fingo · Jun 2021)
- Kulttuuriseppä-palkinto (Issued by City of Vantaa · Dec 2020)
In addition to honors and awards, I have been nominated for Young European of the Year
(Schwarzkopf-Stiftung Junges Europa), the Youth Peace Prize (Suomen YMCA), and Resident of Vantaa 2020 (Vantaan Sanomat).
I was involved in Finland’s UN Human Rights last year and have been highly active in campaigns.
The Council campaign for 2022–2024 on the themes of new technologies, digital transformation, women’s rights, climate change, and education as a human right. As a student representative at my university during the pandemic, I have assisted foreign language students in finding internships that are hard to access as they typically do not have extensive networks in Finland.
Vision & Goals
Every young person needs to become an active citizen because everyone’s opinion and perspectives are important. Young people should be involved in decision-making as their voice is as valuable as any other group.
My goal is to showcase diversity through art and literature. I make sure that positive representation is apparent in my work and creating an environment where every young person can see themselves is a top priority. I want to have an impact on the Finnish school’s equality plan.
There is still a long way to go in the next five years, and I want to make an impact on the equality of educational institutions and help young people pursue their dreams by providing them with clear information on educational and career opportunities.
In the future, I will launch a development project in Africa to improve the situation of young people and women who are vulnerable to violence and poverty. In particular, women must be guaranteed equal rights as well as access to education, healthcare, and work. I would also like to help developing economies create a school system closer to Finland’s, with high standards in core subjects, freedom of choice, and a consistent level of education throughout the country.
”The most important factors behind my success are empathy, hard work, and consistency. For me, success is about accomplishing your mission. ”
Integration is not a one-way process. Migrants abandon their culture and adopt the language, culture, and practices of the host country. The concept of integration can be defined as a two-way process of mutual accommodation between migrants and the receiving societies.
Unfortunately, the process is placed on migrants as if it was all down to their own will. Always it is migrants who are called to integrate. Although, societies also play an important role in integration, and societies must accommodate migrants’ political, social, and cultural needs.