Rohingya children drawing.
Rohingya children participate in Essence of Learning activities in one of Caritas’s child-friendly spaces in Kutupalong refugee camp in Bangladesh.   © UNHCR/Antoine Tardy

| Finland flag Finland Making a difference, together.

Finland is a key donor of multi-year and flexible funding to UNHCR and a leader in promoting inclusion of persons with disabilities in humanitarian response around the world.

Finland is a staunch supporter of UNHCR and a key ally, providing multifaceted assistance ranging from resettlement to political and financial support. As a member of UNHCR's governing Executive Committee (ExCom) since 1979, Finland's support for UNHCR has been crucial in ensuring that the voices of refugees, IDPs and stateless persons around the world, including vulnerable women and girls, are heard amid humanitarian crises. 

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Finland adheres to the principles of the Grand Bargain, including the localization agenda and increasing the multi-year planning and funding of humanitarian aid, in line with UNHCR’s priorities. Multi-year core funding is an integral part of Finland's support to UNHCR, which enables the protection and assistance of forcibly displaced people in a predictable, timely and effective manner in new emergencies as well as protracted situations. UNHCR is Finland's largest multilateral recipient of humanitarian funding. Finland's flexible funding supports critical UNHCR programmes, including education, environment and GBV prevention and response. In addition to flexible funding, and as per Finland's Global Refugee Forum commitments, Finland provides earmarked technical support to UNHCR to ensure the inclusion of persons with disabilities in humanitarian action. The technical support aims to enhance the institutionalization of disability inclusion in all UNHCR’s activities.

Finland and UNHCR share a strong partnership centered around improving the life of people living with a disability.

Grace Atim, Protection Officer of UNHCR, engages with Charity Gala, a South Sudanese refugee at her home in Bidibidi refugee settlement in Yumbe district of Northern Uganda. When it comes to promoting and protecting the rights of persons with disabilities, as well as the rights of women and girls, Finland sets a high standard. The multi-year and flexible support provided by Finland serves as a vital element for the Office to continue its work, together.

Grace Atim, Protection Officer of UNHCR, talks to Charity Gala, South Sudanese refugee with with special need at her home in Bidibidi refugee settlement in Yumbe district of Northern Uganda on 2 May 2017.
Grace Atim, Protection Officer of UNHCR, talks to Charity Gala, South Sudanese refugee with with special need at her home in Bidibidi refugee settlement in Yumbe district of Northern Uganda on 2 May 2017. © UNHCR/Jiro Ose   © UNHCR/Jiro Ose

Mona Hemmer (left) and Kaj Nyréen (right) are Finnish pensioners who have taken the role of grandparents to 3-year-old Diana from Iraq, who came to the island of Nagu with her father after her mother was abducted.

Over 200 kilometers from the capital Helsinki, the village of Nagu and its population of 1,500 have received a hundred refugees for temporary housing during the winter months. The refugees were warmly welcomed by the villagers and the community has developed close relationships.

The bond forged between Mona Hemmer, her partner Kay Nyréen, three-year-old Iraqi refugee Diana and her father Azaldeen, is a great example of how well integration can work between people of different backgrounds.

Mona Hemmer is a Finnish pensioner who lives on the Finnish island Nagu together with her partner, Kaj. They have assumed the role of grandparents for 3-year-old Diana who came to the Finnish island Nagu in 2015 as a refugee from Iraq. Diana came to Nagu with her father, Azaldeen, after leaving their home in Iraq following the abduction of Diana’s mother.
Mona Hemmer is a Finnish pensioner who lives on the Finnish island Nagu together with her partner, Kaj. They have assumed the role of grandparents for 3-year-old Diana who came to the Finnish island Nagu in 2015 as a refugee from Iraq. Diana came to Nagu with her father, Azaldeen, after leaving their home in Iraq following the abduction of Diana’s mother. © UNHCR/Max-Michel Kolijn   © UNHCR/Max-Michel Kolijn

Pupils sit beneath the shade of mulberry trees in the village of Qarabagh, some 200 kilometers south-west of the capital Kabul.

Teachers at the school say some parents are reluctant to send their children to study outdoors, fearing their health could be affected by exposure to the weather. Due to a lack of funding, the children in Qarabagh have studied outdoors for years. Now, a primary school is being built in the village with UNHCR support. Underfunded projects in Afghanistan rely on unearmarked funding from generous donors like Finland.

School children attend class outside while sitting on the ground under the shade of mulberry trees in Qarabagh.
School children attend class outside while sitting on the ground under the shade of mulberry trees in Qarabagh. Without a building the children have studied this way for 7 years. Now a primary school is being built in the village with the support of UNHCR. The school currently has approximately 500 students; once the building is completed it will be able to accommodate up to 1,000 students. © UNHCR/Claire Thomas  

Sudanese girls are studying hard at Werak primary school in Yusuf Batil Refugee Camp, in the remote corner of South Sudan.

Accessing and receiving quality education is a universal human right. Refugee children are some of the most marginalized when it comes to accessing basic education as they have been forced from their homes, into a foreign country. In Greater Maban, UNHCR is working with donors like Finland to address factors affecting refugee children’s access to basic education.

Sudanese children are studying hard at Werak primary school in Yusuf Batil refugee camp, South Sudan.
Sudanese children are studying hard at Werak primary school in Yusuf Batil refugee camp, in the remort corner of South Sudan. © UNHCR/Mary-Sanyu Osire  

South Sudanese refugee Nakout builds a new life and finds happiness in Finland.

“They always beat me because I’m still new in the game, but I’ll not give up. I never give up, no matter what.”

Nakout plays frisbee golf, a popular local game she has taken up to keep fit and make friends in her new hometown of Vaasa in Finland – home to hundreds of people who have fled east and central Africa over the last few decades.

Nakout laughs as she takes her stance before throwing a frisbee.
Nakout laughs as she takes her stance before throwing a frisbee. She's taken up frisbee golf, a popular local game, to keep fit and make friends in her new home in Vaasa, Finland. © UNHCR/Hereward Holland  

Food and relief items distributed in Dadaab Refugee Camp, Kenya, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

With Finland’s unearmarked funding to support UNHCR response to COVID-19, refugees have been able to collect food and aid packages at Dadaab Refugee Camp, Kenya.

Refugees collect UNHCR and WFP food and aid packages from partner staff at Dadaab camp in Kenya.
On 1 June 2020, refugees collect UNHCR and WFP food and aid packages from partner staff at Dadaab camp in Kenya. © UNHCR/Mohamed Jimale  
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