15 March, 2016

A Discrimination Free Welcome

120 years ago Louise af Forselles, one of the founders of the YWCA of Finland, pointed out there should be room for different kind of views – a sisterhood that emphasizes the uniting things. It would be the only way to achieve something significant.

If you talk with the YWCA women, you probably hear the words like hospitality and a safe place. Those are basic values of the YWCA. The idea is that all women and girls are welcome, and all are entitled to feel safe physically, mentally, and spiritually.

– When I meet YWCA women from different backgrounds – with all kinds of views, thoughts and beliefs – it’s enriching. We learn so much from each other! And we do not use titles, mostly just our first names. It’s about what we can do together, not what we have achieved as individuals. And there’s room for all kinds of women and girls; we represent for example different ages and educational backgrounds, says one of the members of YWCA.

– I once visited a local YWCA. There were volunteers working together and I noticed one of them was different. I wondered who she was. A bit later she told herself that she didn’t have a job or actually any other place to go, but she felt YWCA as welcoming and a safe place. She wanted to come and help the way she could. That way she was able to be part of something, feel herself appreciated. It warmed my heart; there’s place for everyone in YWCA, tells Ilona from YWCA of Finland.

Hospitality and the idea of a safe place are important for Hotel Helka as well.  – For us at the Hotel Helka, non-discrimination has always been familiar. All kinds of people have always been welcome, both as clients and employees. Diversity enriches our lives and broaden our worldview. And as my colleague Anna said, we’re allowed to be and stay different, says Anu from Helka.

Both YWCA of Finland and Hotel Helka have joined to Finnish Ministry of Justices Discrimination Free Zone -campaign.