The fifth part of REGI training program for social work professionals named as „Experiences of Finnish practitioners working with transnational families“ took place on 1st of March 2017 and it hosted two guests who both have prolonged experience with living and working in Finland. Tuuli Raamat has now returned to Estonia, but she has worked in Finland (mostly in Helsingi) for 20 years, and Anneli Tamme, who is an Estonian social worker who has worked for several years in Finland.
Tuuli Raamat started the presentation with the overview of the history of Estonians waves of emigration and immigration, explaining Estonians’ immigration reasons to Finland before and now. She also brought a myriad of real life examples about the main problems of Estonians who have moved to Finland.
Tuuli Raamat: „For today I am an immigrant who have moved back to Estonia. My key messages are focused on the main problems Estonians face while they move to live to Finland and if they have not done enough homework to what awaits them there. Which are the critical issues and how we have been treated. And if we're talking about language, every Estonian who decides to move to Finland, should learn the language properly and with quality. You have to live by the rules and traditions of the other country, but do not forget - in Finland you can never be Finns, you’ll stay an immigrants. "
Anneli Tamme’s presentation „Myths and beliefs of the Finnish child protection and family work – yes or no?“ gave a good overview of the challenges faced by families moving to Finland from Estonia. She shared lot of experiences and pointed to practical cases, and explained the differences between the social systems of Finland and Estonia.
Anneli Tamme dealt with the topic from the the perspective and experience of child protection specialists and on the other hand as a customer, being as a parent of disabled child – which has been surprising, difficult or rather supportive and a good living on the Finnish side. She explained to the specialists the Finnish law, in order to make them understand which factors prohibit and prevent or support the cross-border cooperation.
Anneli Tamme: „For today, I have lived and worked for 10 years in Finland. Finnish child welfare, about of which has talked a lot, has changed and is changing today. Finnish child protection is proactive, inclusive to the network and is focusing on family - back home, and the clarification of relations and restoration. Being as a servant in Finland I trust this system where I work, and I wish to encourage those Estonian families, who live in Finland – do not be afraid to ask help, because the help exists. And do not be afraid to be an Estonians, because this is something which is part of us and helps us in our everyday life. Do not torget your native language, do not try to be like the Finns.“
Participants solved practical tasks in groups based on the examples of cases in Finland. Training day was finished with the presentation of REGI project´s publication "Vigurivända kaks kodumaad/Viguriväntin kaksi kotimaata".
The feedback of professionals participating in the training day were very approvingly and positive. „It was very exhilarating to hear reports from reality. Life is much more complicated than it looks by the law“ told one participant. „Today's training gave a good insight into the real life of Finland and the life I have imagined. I got a good overview about the cultural differences of two countries, potential difficulties, differences in laws etc,“ added the other.
It was admitted that such exchange of experiences is very useful and informative for specialists, because they have to be very open-minded in work with transnational families.
„I totally agree with the lecturers that one should not make the decision to move to abroad lightly. All the topics discussed were very realistic, what broadened our horizons. We got to know how the things are from direct source. Variety of impressions could be formed via media“ was noted in conclusion. The acquired knowledge can successfully be implemented in everyday work and the transnational families can get the support they need.