My experiences as a volunteer, part 2

Hei!                 

Today I woke up with a beautiful sunset. Days are getting longer again and I survived the darkness without feeling depressed. Although, the latest joke4_1.jpgweeks it felt like I had a jetlag everyday. But spring will be coming soon! I already look forward to the experience of a sun that doesn’t go down at night. While writing this I realize that I might need better curtains if I want to have a good sleep in the next months…

December passed by in a rush: I went to a lot of ‘pikku joulu’, I went on a real ‘souvenir hunt’ for my family and friends, I was invited by a Finnish family to spend the weekend on the countryside, I helped to plan and organise a big event for Tyttöjen talo (women’s café), I did celebrate Christmas with other European volunteers and I went back home for two weeks of meeting up with family and friends.

Suddenly we are March (Maaliskuu) and I don’t know where January and February have gone. I think it shows that I lost control over my calendar. The variety of activities makes that I still learn new things about Finland every week. I started to talk about those activities in my previous post, so let’s continue.

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Working in the girls house

My last blog post gave a view on my work in the youth houses and the hanaa project. In this blog post I want to tell more about my voluntary work in the girls house (tyttöjen talo).

Being a volunteer in the girls house is a big opportunity for me. In Belgium I never heard of ‘girls house’, so I didn’t know what to expect. My first experience after entering the house is one of a safe and a cosy joke4_3.jpgenvironment. The workers welcomed me with a big smile and made me feel comfortable. This also shows what Tyttöjen talo stands for: you can be the person you are, you are beautiful as you are, you are welcome and you can feel at home. The atmosphere makes it possible to discuss topics that might be difficult to talk about. Furthermore tyttöjen talo gives possibilities to relax and to build new friendships.

The first weeks I tested different activity groups. I couldn’t do them all, so I had to make a choice. Now I am volunteering in the ‘Woman’s Café’ group. This is a group of immigrant women of all ages. This group learned me a lot about differences between cultures and experiences I never thought about before. When I look at the women and their children I realize how strong they actually are. Everyone can see the world in a different way. And no one knows better, you only know different. Sharing experiences, cultures and knowledge makes us all stronger.

Working in tyttöjen talo also makes me realize that there has been a lot of work to give women better rights in society. On joke4.pngthe other hand I realise that there is still a lot of work to do and maybe even more work in Belgium than in Finland. This realisation came especially after an interview about how it is to be a woman in Belgium and Finland. It’s a thought I will not loose when going back to Belgium. I hope this might be something you also think about after reading this post?

To all the girls between 18 and 29: I hope I see you one day at tyttöjen talo! You are welcome as you are.

See you in a next blog post!