Ilayta’s and her family’s new life in Finland is a message full of resilience, hope, and courage

by , under Enrique Tessieri

Migrants search for hope. Their searching offer us hope.

Fourteen-year-old Ilayta’s family history and her drawings offer a glimpse of what hope is. They were searching for five years for a new home in Greece, and four years in Finland finally paid off in July 2019, when they were given a residence permit in Finland.

Uncertainty and deportation always fiollowed them during those years like a shadow.

A long and grueling nine-year journey for Ilayta and her family that came to a happy ending in July 2019. From left to right: Sabah, Donya, and Ilayta.

Migrant Tales wrote about Ilayta and her family in January 2019.

“Their daughter [then] 13 years old and she speaks at least five languages. Since she is the only one who can speak Finnish, she not only interprets language but the family’s anxiety and fear.”

Despite that difficult phase of their lives, Ilayta draws a picture of a bird below to symbolize their new beginning in Finland.

“I drew a bird because it expresses freedom,” she said. “As asylum seekers, we weren’t free because everyone told us what to do. Now we are free [to get on with our lives].”

“Lintu on vappa ja se lentää niin kin muutkin linnut taivassa.” Translation: “The bird is free and its flies like other birds in the sky.” Drawing by Ilayta S.

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So what does Ilayta want to do when she grows up?

“I want to become a language teacher and teach you people,” she said.

Ilayta speaks Turkmen, Finnish,, Greek, English, Finnish, and a little Swedish which she has learned at school.

“Speaking a language is important,” she continued. “Speaking five languages is like being five persons. Problems can be solved more easily because each langague offers a different perspetive.”

“Voi olla hyvää jos noi ulkomaalaiset ei olisi täällä! Älä arvostele toisi niiten ulkonään perusteella, et voi ikinä tiedää ne on kokenut!” Translation: “It may be a good matter if those foreigners weren’t here. Don’ judge others based on their appearance since you can never know what they have gone through!

We wish Ilayta and her family the best and how to write more stories about their lives in Finland.