A total of 1,080,000 euros has been granted to several charity groups arranging programmes meant to promote the integration of arriving asylum seekers into society. Finland’s Minister of Education and Culture Sanni Grahn-Laasonen signed off on the grants on Monday.


Asylum seekers have a chance to meet with Finns at events organised by the community resource center located in the eastern city of Joensuu


Charity organisations receiving support for their courses include the Finnish Red Cross for their first aid training and the Martha organisation, a group specialising in home economics, for their cooking classes.


Money for the activates came from RAY grants collected from slot machine and casino gaming operations, traditionally a major source of charity funding in Finland.


Education Minister Sanni Grahn-Laasonen hopes the slated programmes will provide opportunities for asylum seekers and Finnish youth to get to know each other.


Altogether 116 organisations and foundations applied for the funding, with the Ministry deciding to fund eight nationwide projects.


Keeping active also encouraged


Additional money has been set aside for arranging sports activities for different asylum seeker age groups. This half a million euros will be distributed by the six Regional State Administrative Agencies of the central government.


As part of this initiative, asylum seeker reception centres will organise group leader training, cooperate with local sports clubs, encourage outdoor exercise with regular excursions, found family sports centre nights and other fitness groups, as well as promote self-directed physical activity.


Some of the first aid and cooking courses will target young people in particular, as will dance and circus clubs that will promote movement and IT classes to encourage youth to find their voice on social media.


“Over 30,000 asylum seekers have come to Finland in the last year, a significant number of whom are under the age of 29. We have reacted to the large number of asylum seekers by providing non-governmental organisations and reception centres will additional funding to promote young asylum seekers’ recreational activities and sports,” Minister Grahn-Laasonen said.






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