2009-2011 youthasrefugees.com. Website in collaboration with young refugees and art students of Tampere University of Applied Sciences (Anna Knappe, Timo Piikkilä, Jaana Ristola) Inter Cool 3.0 in Dortmund 2010, Grenzlinien in Frankfurt am Mein 2010, Inside/Outside in Rovaniemi 2010, Forum Box in Helsinki 2011.
Youth as Refugees website has been made together with young people from Afghanistan, the Congo and Somalia, who seek asylum from Finland. The site tells the story of the homelessness of young refugees, their lives in refugee reception centers and attempts at integration into a foreign society. The same questions about the right for an education and a life in the community as an equal with other young people rise over and over again.
Videos, which are shown on the site, are an opportunity for the young refugees to get their voices heard outside the refugee reception centers. Some of the youth have escaped conflicts in their homeland, some have had to flee their countries as a result of the War on Terror. Meanwhile, young people fleeing from the war in Afghanistan have to wait for an unreasonably long time for the asylum decisions made by the Finnish authorities. They are secluded in facilities, which are mostly located in the countryside outside cities.
Videos made by Amir, Arman, Elorien and others, together with art students, tell of a life in which parents have been replaced with refugee reception center employees, siblings with other refugees and their own country’s government with the authorities and police interrogating them. As a result of prolonged asylum decisions the young won’t officially get to study the Finnish language or have the opportunity to go to school.
Between the young refugees, the refugee reception centers and the authorities remains a tension, which rather produces conflicts than prevents them. The prolonged asylum decisions tell of the mission of the Finnish authorities to doubt every refugee’s life story, even though there might be no real reason for this. Are the young refugees guilty until proven otherwise?
Youth as Refugees project started in November 2009 and continued until summer 2011.