Finland’s Refugees Of The Year Announced

Award winners were successful with their own integration to life in Finland, and also worked to help others.

Composite picture showing Sirwa Farik (L) and Ahmad Hosseini (R) recipients of the 2018 Refugee Of The Year awards / Credit: Finnish Refugee Council

The Finnish Refugee Council Pakolaisapu has announced the recipients of this year’s Refugee Of The Year awards.

Sirwa Farik from Iraq, and Ahmad Hosseini from Afghanistan were awarded for their community work and activism.

Sirwa came to Finland in 2000 as a quota refugee. Now living in Vantaa, the 45-year old is a project worker helping refugee women to integrate better into their new lives in Finland.

She works to inform refugees about practical issues and also about equality and women’s rights.

“Many immigrant women may have lived in Europe for ten years but they still live as in Iraq where they have no power to influence their own lives” she says.

Nineteen-year old Ahmad Hosseini arrived in Finland in 2015 and is studying to become a practical nurse in Turku. In addition, he is active in the ‘We See You’ network, advocating for a fair asylum policy and has also taken part in organising anti-racism events in Turku, and encourages other immigrants to take action towards building a better society.

“Don’t only be here physically, but also mentally. Just as we have rights in Finland and the society supports us, we also have responsibilities” he says.

The Finnish Refugee Council cited Farik and Hosseini’s motivation to promote the issues that were important to them as one of the reasons for their awards. Both Refugees Of The Year have also supported other immigrants starting over, as well as being successful in their own integration the Council says in a press release.

The Refugee Woman Of The Year award has been given out since 1998. The Refugee Man of The Year award is being awarded now for the third time.