‘Once I Was a Refugee, Now I am Grateful For Everything’ – A Heart-warming Campaign is Spreading on Facebook


Picture: #Ennenolinpakolainen campaign.

Picture: #Ennenolinpakolainen campaign.

“Take a picture of yourself. Tell us what is that you do or who you are. Upload the picture to your personal timeline as a public post. Add the hashtag #Ennenolinpakolainen. We will share it to the page.”

These are the instructions of a campaign in the social media, #Ennenolinpakolainen (Once I was a refugee,) which has spread all over the Nordic countries to shed new light to the ongoing refugee debate in today’s society.

The goal is “to show that refugees are much more to Finland than a number and an expenditure.”

The model for the campaign is the Danish En gang Var Jeg Flygtning Facebook group.

The Finnish version is an independent extension to the campaign.

Here are some of the heart-warming stories shared on the community page.

“A great campaign, thank you for that! I encourage you to share your own stories,” said Nasima Razmyar, MP of the Social Democratic party.

“Once I was a refugee, now I am a nurse and studying for my master’s degree.”

“I moved to Finland about six and a half years ago. Now I am a dental nurse (I graduated in 2004). My goal in the future is to become a dentist.”

“Once I was a refugee. Now I am a mother of three children and a dental nurse.”

“I moved to Finland in 1999. I wrote my matriculation exam in 2009. Now I graduated as a bachelor of social services and as a kindergarten teacher.

“I work as a travel organiser and I am a second-year practical nurse student and I am also an entrepreneur.”

“I moved from Iraq to Finland in 1991 because of the war at the Persian gulf. I am a business graduate in sales and retailing. Currently, I work as a store manager in an international company. Thank you for everything!”

“I moved to Finland eight years ago. I graduated from the elementary school, upper secondary school and now I am a second-year engineer student. At the same time, I work in a corner store.”

“Once I was a refugee and now I am the CEO of Finplats Oy.”

“I came to Finland in 2003. I study for a master’s degree in science (techonlogy).

“Once I was a refugee, a present-day entrepreneur. I am a founder of the first multicultural model agency in Finland.”

“Once I was a refugee. Now I am a nurse in the department of children’s special health care.”

“Once I was a refugee, now I am a graduate of the upper secondary school (2014). I am seeking admission to the police university college. Wish for the best, prepare for the worst.”

“Once I was a refugee. Now I am grateful for everything.”