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City of Vaasa participates in anti-racism week and distributes tips to residents

Published: 23.3.2022

Week 12 marks the International Week against Racism and Discrimination. Vaasa is an international and multicultural city, and we also want to involve residents in anti-racism work.

Not everyone can do everything, but everyone can do something, and even small actions often have a big impact. As a city, we are also participating in the Ministry of Justice’s ‘I am Anti-rasist’ campaign, which challenges us to build a racist-free Finland.

– In particular, I would like to encourage people to meet. Promoting good relations between population groups starts with small actions, encounters, smiles and greetings. Everyone can contribute to the work against racism, there are many ways to make an impact, and everyone can find their own way to help, reminds the Director of Integration Services at the City of Vaasa, Hanna Kakko.

In the face of racism, it is important to address inappropriate behaviour. You can expand your own knowledge by being open to the art and cultural experiences of those belonging to minorities. You can also share your lessons with others, both in discussion events and on social media, and participate in anti-racist campaigns, for example. You can become a linguistic friend or friend of those who have moved to the country, or join a sponsorship association.

Multilingualism is the strength of Vaasa

Internationality is strongly present in the strategy of the City of Vaasa, and the richness of languages is also heard in the street scene: almost a hundred languages are spoken in our city.

Multilingual services has invested in, among other things, a language programme and visibility on the InfoFinland website, which provides information about Vaasa internationally in ten different languages. The Welcome Office service point provides local advice in many languages.

– These platforms and services serve both those who are planning to move to Finland, those who have already moved to Finland, the authorities and those who work with those who have already moved to the country and live in the City of Vaasa. In addition, the InfoFinland website will significantly increase Vaasa’s international appeal, says Welcome Office service consultant Petra Winberg.

In addition, the city’s various units organise multicultural and multinational activities, and cooperate with organisational actors.

Anonymous recruitment is part of equality

Anti-discrimination work targets all minorities and the disadvantaged. The aim of the city’s equality work is to prevent discrimination faced by both local residents and city staff.

The equality plan is constantly being developed and updated. Anonymous recruitment has been used and developed in the city since 2018. In 2021, 16 anonymous recruitments were carried out. The feedback from both applicants and recruiting supervisors has been positive.

Multicultural Council and Integration Services

The City of Vaasa has a Multicultural Council, whose tasks include making proposals and initiatives for the development of integration services, strengthening two-way integration, and promoting dialogue and cooperation with the authorities, migrants and their representative organisations.

The Multicultural Council compiles an integration programme to promote the wellbeing of individuals and families, the conditions for employment, the creation of social networks and the framework in which Vaasa would become a hometown for the integrator.

Integration services, in turn, provides guidance and counselling services to beneficiaries of international protection and positive asylum seekers and their families. They often need support and contacts from the local population.