Asylum Seeker Support Project: PSV collaboration with Finnish Red Cross

All over Finland reception centres for asylum seekers are closing down. To illustrate, of the 52 reception centres that are currently operational only 25 are expected to be open by the end of August 2017. This means that some asylum seekers will be granted refugee status and will be assisted to integrate into Finland. Of those who will be refused some are likely to remain here – “paperless” and without any claim to social support. Organisations like the Finnish Red Cross are likely to widen their focus to include this group in service provision. Collaboration with the Global Clinic would be important in this regard e.g. training volunteers.

Asylum seekers still resident in the reception centres will be facing more uncertainty, insecurity and losses as they are relocated to other centres pending decisions regarding their status.

In February 2017 Red Cross conducted a needs assessment pertaining to psychosocial support at the reception centres. 16 Centres reported that they would be interested in different forms of support from PSV volunteers including:

  • PSV volunteers could serve in a consultative function to staff at the centres, e.g. helping workers to decide when a referral for professional treatment is needed. Such consultations could be done via phone or video facilities so volunteers would not need to travel.
  • Group interventions similar to ones already facilitated at Auramo and Siuntio.
  • Individual sessions with some clients; these should be time limited and should not replace treatment.

If you are interested in volunteering for this project please contact Gudrun Kober ( ) or Riitta Päätalo (

This is a continuation of collaboration between PSV and the Red Cross. In the winter 2016 four group sessions were facilitated with asylum seekers at the Auramo reception centre in Vantaa. These were aimed at enabling participants to relax and to have better access to personal resources. And currently two PSV volunteers are conducting group interventions with youths at Siuntio building on the work started in the summer 2016.

Written by Gudrun Kober