The Year’s New Citizen of Turku, Ali Sagal, and the Multicultural Act of the Year, Nuorten TyöTuki ry, both work towards an increasingly tolerant Turku.

According to the suggesting citizens, the Year’s New Citizen of Turku, Ali Sagal, is a persistent, helpful, and active woman who has significantly helped young people to integrate in Finland. Sagal herself has integrated in her new country and the Finnish society very well. As an active influencer in organisational activity, she is a noticeable and excellent example and a big sister and mother figure to Turku citizens with immigrant backgrounds.

– I especially want to show young women with immigrant backgrounds that they can dream and they are capable of anything. You can learn the language and get everything, but you should never give up easily, Sagal says.

A friendly smile in the bus can mean a great deal

The 2018 New Citizen of Turku wants to promote the idea that Turku equally belongs to both new and old Turku citizens.

– I hope that everyone of us would accept a human being as a human being and hold out their helping hand when it’s needed. Just a friendly smile in the bus can mean a great deal to someone.

Sagal moved to Finland 28 years ago. She works as a refugee instructor in the refugee reception centre of Turku and as Chair of the Somali Association of Western Finland (in Finnish LSSRY).

The Multicultural Act acknowledgement for work towards the employment of young immigrants

Photo: Jyrki Heinonen and Eija Salminen from Nuorten TyöTuki ry and Ali Sagal, the 2018 New Citizen of Turku

Nuorten TyöTuki ry creates career and education paths for clients of the Varsinais-Suomi TE Office. In addition to workshops, the association offers career planning services and Finnish language education and other kind of education to immigrants.

According to Turku citizens, Nuorten TyöTuki works hard to prevent the social exclusion of young people, and the association also significantly contributes to the employment market. In Nuorten TyöTuki, immigrants receive regular Finnish language education, learn new skills and have the possibility to get to know both Finns and other immigrants.

– It’s important that people can see Finnish everyday life and become familiar with the local culture and work culture. It’s even more important with young people, says Eija Salminen, Project Secretary of Nuorten TyöTuki.

In their reasons, the suggesting citizens have described that through the activities provided by this association, immigrants and Finns work together and help young people in difficult situations to be employed.

– There can never be too much tolerance. Acceptance and giving someone an opportunity do not take anything away from yourself or anyone else; it’s the other way around, stresses Jyrki Heinonen, Project Manager of Nuorten TyöTuki ry.

– Creating connections and having dialogue in a positive tone pay off. Even one created connection between a Finn and an immigrant makes the next encounter a lot easier. It’s a long process, but the work continues, Heinonen adds.

Turku citizens suggested actively

The Multicultural Council of Turku selected the acknowledgement receivers on the basis of suggestions made by Turku citizens.

– This has become a wonderful and valuable tradition in our city. The acknowledgements are given for the 13th time this year, and the receivers are positive and radiant flag bearers of multiculturalism, says Petja Raaska, Vice-Chair of the Multicultural Council.

– We received plenty of suggestions from the citizens and were able to select from a wide range of good options. This year’s acknowledged ones have worked for multiculturalism in Turku perseveringly for a long period of time, continues Muhis Azizi, Chair of the Multicultural Council.

The acknowledgements will be handed at the celebration for new citizens 10 April 2018

The acknowledgements to the 2018 New Citizen of Turku and the Multicultural Act of the Year will be handed by City Council Chair Elina Rantanen on Tuesday 10 April 2018, at a celebration for new citizens of Finland that will take place at the Turku Volunteer Fire Brigade Building.

The celebration is a joint event between the municipalities in the Turku region for congratulating the more than 600 new Finns in our region who received Finnish citizenship last year. The speech of the event will be given by journalist Yagmur Özberkan who has become known by e.g. the radio podcast Mahadura & Özberkan on Yle Puhe.

Read more about the selection of the Year’s New Citizen of Turku and the Multicultural Act of the Year and the previously acknowledged persons and entities.