Cultural Orientation Programme for Refugees Wins Fresh Funding


Congolese and Iraqi refugees bound for resettlement to Finland will
benefit from IOM's pre-departure cultural orientation classes
thanks to new funding from the Finnish Government.

The five-month programme will provide 156 refugees from the
Democratic Republic of Congo and 300 Iraqi refugees with the
necessary knowledge and skills to help them adjust to their new
lives in Finland.

"IOM's cultural orientation classes aim to minimize the culture
shock that most refugees experience when they arrive in a
resettlement country," says IOM's cultural orientation officer
Raqib Wahabzada.  "The classes are an essential part of
efforts deployed by IOM and its partners to empower refugees to
ensure their integration process is a success."

The three-day cultural orientation classes, which will be
carried out as of September in English and in local languages in
Rwanda and Syria, will provide refugees with factual information on
daily life in Finland and practical guidance on how to find
accommodation, employment, and access health care and

Since 2001, IOM Helsinki's multicultural training team has been
organizing cultural orientation classes for a total of 1,954
refugees in Cambodia, Egypt, Iran, Lebanon, Rwanda, Thailand, and

Finland was the first country in Europe to set up cultural
orientation training prior to the resettlement of refugees. Finland
resettles 750 refugees every year, and accepts, on average, another
200 persons within the framework of family reunification.

For more information, please contact:

Raqib Wahabzada

IOM Helsinki

Tel: +358 9 684 11 527

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