Success stories of immigrants in Finland

by , under All categories, Enrique

Migrant Tales would be interested in publishing cases of immigrants and refugees that have succeeded and adapted well to Finland. There are many cases out there and we’d like to hear your story. Why? Because your example would take steam off anti-immigrant parties like the True Finns, which are responsible for giving immigrants and refugees a bad name.

Your story can be published anonymously or with your name.  One of my friends that comes to mind is a restaurant owner who works 15 hours a day seven days a week!  When some Finns unfairly accuse immigrants of being lazy, I would like them to hear this person’s story and the long hours he works.

Please send your story to [email protected] Please specify if you want to appear anonymously or with your name.


  1. Tony Garcia

    Enrique, let me honestly congratulate you for this initiative. I’ve been following this blog for two and a half years and this is the first article witch focus not on what is wrong but on what is working.

    Well done, looking forward to read the stories…

    • Enrique

      Tony, thank you and I hope you send us some cases to publish. What you say about what is written on this blog is a common criticism given to journalists. Can’t they write anything positive? Certainly but the aim of the media is not to be a mouthpiece of governments or special interests (at least it shouldn’t be). As I mentioned, and speaking on my behalf, Migrant Tales comes from the heart and grass roots. I am not running for office so I do not have any political goals like some people who go around bashing immigrants/refugees to get votes.

  2. William O'Gorman

    I agree this is a good idea I am just thinking how to best approach in a speedy and logical manner? The Helsinki Times has this section dealing with ex-pat views:

    So it would be best to try and create something along these lines but with more relevance. The article : is quite interesting so have a read.

    I wonder if we cna get something going on this….

    • Enrique

      Hi William and thank you for the links. They are a good model to base our “success” stories. I will try to publish a case soon. In my opinion, it should be short and to the point and answer two important questions: What kinds of goals and dreams the person wants to attain in Finland and what factors are hindering his chances of reaching such goals? These are only suggestions but they could serve as a starting point for these cases.

      One matter that we cannot escape and hide our heads in the sand is the rise of anti-immigration parties like the True Finns. We should be relentless with those groups that want to hinder immigrants’ adaption to Finnish society with the questionable weapons of prejudice and myopic thinking.

  3. William O'Gorman

    I would be also interested to hear what some of the True Finns supporters who post here think of this idea. Lets if they can add something constructive to the mix?

  4. Klay_Immigrant

    Look ofcourse there will be immigrants who have made a success out of themselves through hardwork, determination and perseverance. No one ever has denied that, and I doubt you will find any Finn who thinks literally every single immigrant is a burden or a failure. The problem is there are those who unfortunately let the side down so to speak and overshadow the success stories. In certain immigrant groups the majority are unemployed and living in social housing with benefits. So you could hardly blame the general public for giving a bad image to these particular groups.

    • Enrique

      Sure you can, Klay. Unemployed people of all backgrounds fuel prejudice since it is a way of lifting a person who may have a job from his low self-esteem. Is that acceptable behavior? I don’t think so.

  5. William O'Gorman


    Its also quite sad that the good and hard working respectable immigrants dont get the credit they deserve, as your post shows, and that the bad ones outweigh the majority. Why isnt there a more positive spin put on immigrants? why all the negativity?the vast mjority of immigrints offer more to this country in so many positive ways yet for some underlining reasons its more a negitive projection we see. What for and for what political gain? (well thats obvious but still not right) This is the problem not the lazy groups who dont want to integrate. That will happen and theres nothing we can do about it but what we can do is try to shine more light on the good ones and not the bad and so paint a more true and fair picture. Maybe we should start an True Immigrant party!”!!

  6. JusticeDemon

    Somebody please explain what counts as success.

    One obvious example of a living immigrant who has had a huge impact on Finland in cultural terms is Neil Hardwick. His work for television has profoundly influenced this country in the post-industrial period, though British immigrants might dismiss a good deal of this as merely introducing and adapting the Monty Python point of view.

    • Enrique

      Hi JusticeDemon, this is a good question: How do we classify “success?” Is it becoming an immigrant superman or superwoman? Successful from whose point of view? Or does it mean becoming a model for others to emulate? Success in my opinion means being able to adapt and survive like any other person in this society. This can happen in many ways: being employed or unemployed. An example of an unsuccessful person, in my opinion, was an immigrant we knew here who had serious adaption problems. He ended up committing suicide.

      In sum, you don’t have to be only employed but can be unemployed and be successful. I guess it would in general terms keeping you head above water no matter what the circumstances would be. Success is also defined by the person. If he considers himself or herself to be successful, then all power to him/her.

  7. JusticeDemon

    Naseem Ahmed also comes to mind. Naseem was described in the following pen portrait in the members’ magazine of the Finnish Squash Association a couple of years ago:

    Naseem on selkeästi pitkän linjan Squash-ihminen East-Squashin riveistä. Helsingissä asuva 65-vuotias Squash-halliyrittäjä on pelannut vuodesta 1975 lähtien, mutta jättää aktiivipelaamisen jo nuoremmilleen. Perheessä on vaimo ja 2 aikuista lasta, joista nuorempi Suomen squashpiirissä tuttu Hameed Ahmed. Hän opiskelee nyt USA:ssa ja on tällä hetkellä Amerikan opiskelijoiden CSA-rankingissa nro 8.

    Naseem on aktiivinen monissa järjestötoimissa, kuten Helsinki International Rotary Clubin Presidentti, KANY ry:n (Maahanmuuttajien urheiluharrastusten edistämisyhdistys) puheenjohtaja ja 09Helsinki Human Rights säätiön hallituksen jäsen. Hän haluaa toiminnallaan edistää liittoa avoimena lajin edistämisjärjestönä, joka antaa mahdollisuuden kaikille kehittää toteuttamiskelpoisia ideoita. Toiminnan ei tule olla kuppikuntakulttuuria, jossa asiat hoidetaan pienessä piirissä. Naseem toivoo, että resurssit käytettäisiin mahdollisimman tehokkaasti ainoastaan ja vain lajin hyväksi.
    Ensimmäisen Squash-seuran Naseem perusti yli 30 v. sitten keskusosuusliike OTK:n ATK-osastolle. Seurassa oli yli 70 aktiivista harrastajaa. Sittemmin hän on toiminut East Squash ry:n puheenjohtajana 6 vuotta ja saanut Suomen Squash-liiton kultaisen kunniamerkin sekä myös Lauri Tarastin merkin. Naseem on myös toiminut sekä miesten maajoukkueiden johtajana MM-kisamatkoilla että junioreiden EM-kisamatkojen johtajana. Hänellä onkin sekä kotimaisessa että kansainvälisissä squashpiireissä laaja tuttava- ja ystäväverkosto.