Soroptimist International Turku, Finland
Six of SI Turku members mentored six highly educated migrant women in southwest Finland in Spring-Summer of 2020. The sisters worked in pairs, two mentors, and two mentees. The aim was to support international talents’ careers and job-seeking skills in Finland but also implement the Soroptimist mentoring programme (http://www.soroptimisteurope.org/mentoring/).
Implementing the Mentoring Programme
This project was organized in cooperation with Turku University of Applied Sciences MESH project https://mesh.turkuamk.fi/. The project lasted six months and there were 8-10 meetings, including training at the beginning and networking events.
The aim of MESH-project (ESF-funded, 2019-2021) is to support individuals with an immigrant background, in other words, international talents, positioning into the Finnish labour market.
Great experience for mentors and mentees
The mentees were job seekers at the beginning of their careers in Finland. They were grateful for the support and sharing of knowledge, competencies, and networks of the Soroptimist sisters. For the sisters, it gave the chance to do hands-on work toward the empowerment of women, as one of them tells us: ”It was wonderful to support international talents and to get to know interesting people!”
Hang Vo, from Vietnam, testifies: “As an international student in Finland, during these 2 years, I have quite enjoyed my life. I love to learn innovative knowledge, to get to know more people and to explore new cultures. — However, after graduation, I felt a bit stressed with the current situation. I must accept that finding a job is not easy. This mentoring program helped me to improve my confidence and to keep optimistic for the future. I have met many positive people and they motivate me a lot in my job-seeking journey. “
The Covid-19 situation challenged the project and only the kick-off was organized face-to-face. The rest of the process was online. For some of the sisters, this change gave the chance to participate more thoroughly.
”The online realization gave me the chance to participate because I am very busy in working life.”