Immigrant males frequently find it hard to strike up friendships with Finnish men. Such friendships facilitate better integration both for the men themselves and for their families. Helsinki City officials plan to increase programmes targeted at the immigrant male population.
Two organisations aimed at the social empowerment of men, Miessakit and Semo, organise conversation groups which bring together immigrant and Finnish men. Many topical issues are discussed and it is also an opportunity to learn Finnish.
”Here we have the time to talk and exchange views. There isn’t normally time for that at work or college. We can talk about many things here–prejudices disappear and we also get to understand each other’s culture,” says Ali Hussein from Semo.
There are still very few activities for male immigrants in Finland. Such programmes are nevertheless needed, as men’s issues can differ significantly from those of their female counterparts.