Hi foxes! We visited Refugee Center on International Volunteer Day, 5th Dec. So this time I’ll share from my perspective how we spent time with the children there, and introduce some Finnish culture, because the next day was Finnish Independence Day, 6th Dec. It would be nice if you get to know some Finnish culture, and feel that this event was socially meaningful from this blog :)

 

GINGERBREAD 

Have you ever baked or tasted gingerbread cookies? It is one of the Finnish traditional treats, so you should try that if you haven’t tasted yet. Christmas time in Finland doesn’t complete without Finnish gingerbread cookies, or “Piparkakku.” These cookies are packed full of warm winter spices like cinnamon, ginger and cloves. We baked and decorated gingerbread with children. They are so creative and we saw a lot of amazing designs of gingerbread. It’s also a great idea to have cookies with the special drink, “glögi.” It is also one of the traditions of Finnish Christmas. It is like mulled wine, and mainly made from grape, apple, and blackcurrant juice, gluten spices such as cinnamon, bitter orange, clove, cardamom, and ginger. People sometimes add almonds and raisins in hot glögi. We also had coffee and leipajuusto, which is Finnish squeaky cheese combined with Finnish rye bread and cloudberry jam on top. If you are interested in leipajuusto, check it out in the closest supermarket to your apartment :) 

Anyway, It was a super happy moment to decorate and have some cookies with children. 

 

ART & CRAFTS

 

We also made snowflakes, window candles, and friendship bracelets with children. We had so much fun with them, and they seem to enjoy so much. While we were making something, I think it was really nice to have a conversation with participants. And some children are interested in face painting, and we painted something lovely on each other’s hands and faces :)

 

While doing some activities, we watched the Independence Day reception at the Presidential Palace on a big screen. It seems like a tradition to watch this TV program on the Independence Day. The guests invited to the Palace are among the most famous and distinguished people in Finland, ambassadors of different countries, and a selected group of ordinary citizens. This event is broadcast on national TV, and it seems like half the population watches it. The TV reporters make comments about the 2,000 guests as they line up and shake hands with the President and his or her spouse. 

You can check it out if you want to know more about the TV program → https://youtu.be/nK4LhIePJJk

 

#volunteer4inclusion     

To sum up, we had a great moment with people in the refugee center! I think it is really meaningful to communicate with them and enjoy some activities together. I cited the quote from the UN website about International Volunteer Day to recognize what IVD is and its purposes.   

 

 “International Volunteer Day is an opportunity for us all to promote volunteerism, encourage governments to support volunteer efforts and recognize volunteer contributions to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals at the local, national and international levels. Volunteering provides opportunities for people, particularly those often excluded, to concretely impact their own lives and play a constructive role in their communities by volunteering their time and skills. Through volunteerism, communities around the world often experience strengthened solidarity and inclusion.” 

 

If you want to know more, please click here → https://www.unv.org/international-volunteer-day-2019

 

Lots of love & Merry Christmas :)