“Without the wonderful Finnish friends that I got through my journey in Finland I would never be a human like what I’m today”, says Hayder Yas.
Lukuaika: 2 min.

Photo: Right to Live/ Hayder Yas

Author: Hayder Yas

The decision to grant the ETMU Award to our group Right to Live was a wonderful moral reward, a beautiful gesture. At the time of the award, we were facing many difficulties. Members of the group felt that we were being marginalized by the immigration office, that we were not wanted in Finnish society. And then we received the ETMU Award. It was truly a beautiful award. It showed us that we had earned the trust of decision-makers. I felt very proud to be able to represent the Right to Live collective. All of us were overcome with joy.

During my return on the train from Jyväskylä where I received the Award, I posted my congratulations to everyone on my Facebook page. When I arrived at the train station in Helsinki, many of the group were waiting to welcome me. Their joy was palpable. They handed around the ETMU Award with immense pride. Then everyone started taking pictures with the Award.

The days were difficult but beautiful. The Award was a candle of hope on a dark path. It helped us move forward. Helped us believe in ourselves. Helped us to continue fighting for the right to live in peace. The lives of many became stable. Some found a job. Others started studying. I myself have become the owner and full-time employee of an accounting company. At the same time, I am studying at Metropolia where I hope to soon complete my academic studies.

Thank you for your trust. Thank you for the opportunity to remember all those who once were and still are one group under one cause, to once again remember the members of Right to Live. A big thanks to all those Finnish and international friends who stood with us during those difficult days.

Hayder Yas is a computer engineer and the managing director of Akona Oy working as an accountant and consultant for the new entrepreneurs. After he got a chance to live in peace here in Finland, he finished the Finnish courses, passed the Yki-testi after which he applied for Finnish citizenship. His role in Right To Live was a community leader, a cultural translator and a peacemaker. When it comes to the Right to live demonstration, Yas was the one who put the first tent to start the demonstration, and one of the organizers who survived the Finnish winter outside of Kiasma and Rautatieasema for six months in 2017.