maanantai 18. helmikuuta 2019

Meeting in Oulu, Finland

The very last meeting in Erasmus+ program Leading Lights was held 11th to 15th February 2019 in Oulu. The whole January and beginning of February had been -20 degrees in Oulu but when our guests arrived, the temperature got warmer. That was good because we had quite a lot of outdoor activities in the program and our guests are not that used to cold as we northern people are.

On Sunday we had non-official program at Nallikari beach where we walked on frozen sea, built up snowmen, tried ice fishing and grilled sausages on open fire. We also visited Winter Village where some of our guests met reindeers for the very first time in their lives. 

At the evening the teachers gathered to a restaurant and enjoyed the welcome dinner and some Portuguese music performed by Manuel and his ukulele.

On Monday the official program started at Svenska Privatskolan i Uleåborg, the Swedish School. Our headmaster Anna and the headmaster Timo from Laanila High School welcomed the guests and after that our students presented some information videos and PowerPoints about our city, our school and the Finnish-Swedish culture. We also saw a video about St. Lucia and after that a real Lucia of Oulu arrived to perform with her choir. We also had some get together games and a tour around the school. 

After lunch the students went baking Finnish laskiaispulla and the teachers had a mathematic lesson with our first-year students as teachers. After that we all tasted the results of baking lesson together. 

In the evening we had a Welcome Ceremony by the City of Oulu at the Town Hall. That was an incredible way to finish the first day.

On Tuesday we headed to the Arctic Circle. In the bus the students red aloud the letters that they had written to Santa Claus before Christmas. The letters were about the wishes and hopes that we have concerning the equality in our home countries and in the whole world. The letters can be red in the previous post in this blog.

When we arrived to Rovaniemi we first visited Santa at his village. Then we had lunch and a guided tour at Arktikum Science Center. Then the journey continued to Kemi Snow Castle. It was a day full of snow and arctic vibes.

On Wednesday we met at Laanila High School where we first had a Living Library panel discussion. Different Finnish minorities, Roma people, immigrants, sexual minorities and lingual minorities, were represented. The discussion was vivid and fruitful. The audience got not only information but certainly also new perspectives to thinking. 

After lunch we saw videos about Best Equality News in Europe that the students had made before the meeting. By chance (due to some technical problems) we also enjoyed an ex tempore concert. Awesome!

Thursday was a special day for the last year high school students in Finland, it was the day of Penkkarit. Some of the guests joined the celebration at Swedish School and some at Laanila High School. We also saw a video about Air guitar World Championships that are held every year in Oulu. Afterwards we went to the downtown to see students parading with their Abi trucks. 

In the evening the teachers had dinner at headmaster Timo, and the students were having pizza party at Swedish School.

Friday was also a special day, now for the second-year students that became the new seniors at their schools. We participated their celebration at Ouluhalli where all the new high school seniors of Oulu performed with old dances. 

Before that, the Erasmus students started the day with ice skating while the teachers had a meeting where they planned the new project. 

After lunch was the time for something everybody had waited the whole week, maybe with a little bit scared feeling: ice swimming! The bus took us to the Tuira beach where the bravest (or craziest) people jumped to the freezing river. 

Friday, and the whole week, culminated in the evening at the Erasmus Party. Every country had prepared some program that we all enjoyed. Even the Santa Claus visited our party! Everybody got also their diplomas and some Finnish salmiakki to bring back home.

The whole week was intensive but rewarding. It was a pleasure to have you all here and give back a little bit of all that we have got during the earlier meetings. We Finnish people really hope that you enjoyed your stay and that we all will meet again in the future! 


keskiviikko 30. tammikuuta 2019

Pigeons for Peace

Happy School Day of Non-violence and Peace!

The theme of this year's School Day of Non-violence and Peace is "Pigeons for Peace". Our first year students in high school participated by making their own pigeons.

maanantai 17. joulukuuta 2018

Letters to Santa

Erasmus+ "Leading Lights" Equality Letter to Santa

Erasmus+ "Leading Lights" Student task no 1 by email by the end of November 2018.
"Three Wishes" to Santa 
Write a letter (150-250 words) to Santa with your most important wishes on equality 

a) in your city/country
b) in Europe
c) in the world.

While in Finland, 

a) be prepared to read it out loud to our Erasmus+ group on the bus on our way to Arctic Circle and
b) be prepared to personally hand it to Santa on 12th February 2019.

Dear Father Christmas,

I have 3 wishes on equality for Wales, Europe and The World. I hope that you will help solve the problems of equality that we are facing in our world today. Here are the 3 wishes.

A wish for Wales:

Improve gender equality in Wales, the UK ranks 25 out of 30 for gender pay gap (no figures for Wales). However Wales lacks a shared vision of gender equality, we need strong leadership from Welsh Government to deliver change.

A wish for Europe:

Stop the rise of extremist intolerant religious beliefs such as Wahhabism an extreme form of the Islam. Saudi Arabia has been using its money from oil to promote Wahhabism around the world, building mosques and paying for TV channels etc. Wahhabism has been accused of being "a source of global terrorism"

A wish for the world:

An improvement in many countries around the world of the following :

· Poverty
· Religious extremism and practices
· Political corruption and inertia
· Education

So that equality can flourish and or improve.

Yours sincerely,


X     X     X     X     X     X     X     X     X


In order to make our world a better place, we would like to send our best wishes for all the ones that are struggling with something. But especially we have three petitions for this Christmas and this New Year:

For our city, Melilla, we would appreciate a lot if there could be a solution for all the immigrants’ problem. We believe that if we help people in need, then they will not have the necessity of leaving their country to improve their life quality.

For all Spain, where the number of dead women by gender violence is around 40 since this last January, we would like that people finally understood women and men as equals so everyone would have the same opportunities, would earn the same wages for the same job, no woman would fear walking alone at night and no child would lose a mother.

Four Europeans, we wish that all the homophobia and the transphobia were gone and that everyone understood and accepted that there is not just one way of living that everyone is different and still precious in their own way and that someone´s worth is not related to their sexual orientation.

Of course we know that the humanity has a lot more issues that need to be solved, but those three are the ones that we consider more important and more urgent. But the thing is that no matter where you come from, what your gender is or who do you feel attracted by, everyone should be accepted, and that is something that all the people haven't realized yet.

Belén, Pablo, Rafa and Rocío 

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Dear Santa,

I come from Reunion, and here there are a lot of people who don’t have much money and I don’t think the government understands this. Here, a lot of things are more expensive than in France, and so many people aren’t happy and are demonstrating in the streets. Also there is too much unemployment. So Santa, could you give a decent life to these people?

In Europe, people talk of the migrant crisis. Migrants are people who flee their countries because they can’t live there because of wars or famine, but when they arrive in Europe they don’t have anything: no food, no home, no job. They end up in the streets and people reject them. Santa, my second wish if for you to stop these wars so that these people can live good lives at home, and make them accepted in our countries.

In the world, there are so many inequalities. We must all do something to help all these people who are suffering, especially you Santa. Can you bring more tolerance and love to the world?

Thank you,


X     X     X     X     X     X     X     X     X

Dear Santa,

I know that this period is very difficult for you because you have a lot of work and you are very busy to please each of us... I have always loved Christmas! Because it's a time when we can afford to dream more than usual... This is probably the magic of Christmas... Yet I never dared to write to you. And here I am, at almost 17 years old, finally deciding to take the plunge! It never seems too late! Santa Claus from above you probably noticed that at this moment the world is in bad shape, that there is a lot of misery, war and inequalities... For once I would like this Christmas to be celebrated with joy, happiness and tolerance. Santa Claus, would you please grant my wishes? I would be very grateful!

I have chosen 3 wishes that are really close to my heart: As you know, I live on an island lost in the Indian Ocean, Reunion Island, which is very beautiful my island but unfortunately it is confronted with a scourge that is domestic violence against women. Thus this year there were many women who lost their lives because of this violence. Too many sad families, too many orphaned children... I wish all this would stop.

Then my 2nd wish would be that there is no more discrimination and racism in Europe... I would like people to be more tolerant towards their neighbours...

And to finish, my Santa Claus, I wish there were no more children starving to death in the world. One in 10 people suffer from famine while the world continues to grow richer and food waste is often talked about. It makes me sad!

So Santa Claus I don't know if I'm asking you too much but if only you could put a little love, joy, tolerance and solidarity in this world I would be very happy and grateful.
I thank you in advance and wish you all the best.


Santa Claus
Rovaniemi, Finland

Dear Santa Claus,

I wish you a Merry Christmas! You must be very busy preparing gifts for everyone, with the help of the elves :)

This year I’ve been very nice to people, I’ve helped with the chores and so on.

So for this new Christmas day that will come I have three wishes:

First of all I want equality of gender in the whole world, I want men and women treated equally, because we’re all human.

For my second wish, I want equality between rich countries and poor countries. I want rich countries to stop taking the goods of poor countries without giving them what they deserve.

And finally my last wish would be for everyone to stop only thinking about themselves and more about ourselves, humanity. Everyone must help people in need, without wanting something in return. It will be returned to them anyway if everyone helps each other.

Fine, that’s all I want for Christmas, thank you for reading,


X     X     X     X     X     X     X     X     X

Hello Santa,

My name is Eline, I'm sixteen years old and I live in Reunion Island. I know I'm a bit old to do a Santa's letter but dreams forge personality and happiness so I will ask you to transform my wishes into reality. I won't wish boring things because I want you to know how I think and what my priorities are. Reunion Island is very little and some countries don't even know its existence. People can have prejudices about my island like the fact that Reunion Island is poor with inequalities between men and women and discrimination. I've got three wishes.

My first wish is to transform people who won't share money with strangers and to give this money to homeless people.

My second wish is to match salary between men and women because it's still an important problem.

My last wish doesn't represent my island because here we regroup a lot of religions like Islam, Christianity or non-religious. It's why I wish you to wipe out discrimination in the world like Reunion Island has, with many diversity, communication and happiness. I wish your power will do the good thing. I hope Reunion Island will be like my utopia that I just described.

Thank you Santa and Merry Christmas.


X     X     X     X     X     X     X     X     X

Dear Santa, we have come up with a few wishes on equality. If we could wish three changes in our country, Europe, and in the world, they would be:

1. We wish that everyone in Finland would have an opportunity to get work regardless of their ethnic background. We have a few minority groups in Finland, but they are not equal comparing to main population when it comes to getting employed.

2. We wish that everyone who comes to Europe looking for safer and better life conditions, would get protection and an equal opportunity to build a new safe life in here.

3. We wish that every country in the world would take equal responsibility when it comes to meeting the challenge of climate change. The countries who haven't inflicted climate change are the ones who suffer most of its causes. Climate change is a human rights issue.

Unesco Team Students from Laanila High School

X     X     X     X     X     X     X     X     X

Dear Santa,

For Christmas we wish for better wellbeing for everyone on earth. We know there are still issues and inequalities around the world so here are some of our wishes for improving them.

In our city; we wish for a better and more stable wealth gap between the rich and the poor, more tolerance for open-minded people and acceptance for different cultures and lifestyles.

Our three wishes for Europe are; peace among our fellow countries, more equality between the two sexes and more tolerance for other ethnic groups. We think this will improve the relations between countries and even people.

For the world we wish for no tolerance for child labour and slavery. We wish for world peace, especially now since the world seems to become smaller every day.

We sincerely hope you’ll try your hardest to make this happen for everyone on earth and for the ones to come. We wish you well and happy holidays.

Sara and Erik

Portugal, Braga, 3rd December 2018

Dear Santa Claus,

We are Catarina, Francisca and Tiago from Braga, a small city in the north of Portugal. This Christmas we really want you to help us. As you know, Santa, we have been good, so you will make our wishes come true, right?

Well, Santa Claus you see everything, so it’s not worth hiding it. The truth is that our society is fighting against prejudices, racism and inequality. We are getting closer and closer to our equality goal, every small change is a victory. But there’s still a lot of work to do.

In Portugal, we only have one shelter for male victims. Recognizing men as victims is indispensable, if we want to live in an equal society. So, we really want Portuguese people to become more aware of this situation and more sensitive to the male victims.

As students, we participate in a European project called Erasmus+. Such projects are very important to promote contact among different cultures and moral values such as equality. We we would like schools and students to take part in these projects in order to develop critical thinking and tolerance.

On a global scale we think welfare services should be available to everyone, in order to promote a healthier society.

We really appreciate your help, Santa.

Thank you so much,

Catarina, Francisca, Tiago

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Dear Santa, 

What I ask you this year as a gift for Christmas is to spread a new vision of the world to everyone worldwide: as a young boy I keep on dreaming about a wonderland, where everyone is treated equally, without poverty and wars. 

I know it is Utopian, but one day I hope it will be real. Some of the greatest people in the world say that the most outstanding ideas hide in dreams, but sometimes those ideas are so great and powerful that the real world wouldn’t be ready to embrace them. 

What’s the issue that causes all of the world’s problems? It’s greed of course! Well then, what if there was nothing to be greedy about? 

I wish you could eliminate poverty and I wish all the wars could disappear from the entire world. 

A famous Italian film maker back in the 60s, Vittorio De Sica, offered a magical vision of the city of Milan in his movie “Miracle in Milan” where all the poor people at the end fly happily away on broomsticks “towards a land where good morning really means good morning”. 

I’m now asking myself: “would it really be so hard to make that dream real?” All together and with a bit of your magic, Santa, we could change this world for the good. I imagine waking up in a world where poverty is a myth, wars are just part of history and the fear of diversity doesn’t exist anymore.

Best regards, 


sunnuntai 14. lokakuuta 2018

Meeting in Wales

In October 2018 we had our Erasmus+ meeting in Wales. We have two different partner schools from Wales: Ysgol Dyffrun Taf and Ysgol y Strade. The schools are about 40 kilometers away from each other. The students were staying in host families in these two cities and the teachers were staying in the city of Carmarthen that is located in the middle. The participating students from our school were  Rebecca and Ursula from G2 and teachers Eva and Johanna.

We started our trip early on Saturday morning and landed to rainy London. First we made a roundtrip in London with a minibus. Then we changed to another bus and headed to Wales. The sky got brighter bit by bit, and the host families were not the only ones to meet us in Carmarthen but also the Welsh sun.


We spent the first two days at Dyffrun Taf School. First in the program we had the videos that every team had made about the equality issues in their cities or countries. We also heard songs performed by a talented choir and lectures for example about Growth Mindset and a speech by Keith Towler, Chair of United Nations Convention on Rights of the Child for Wales. Furthermore, the students had an art workshop where they created their own souvenirs and after that we visited the County Hall of Carmarthen together. A journalist from a local newspaper even wrote an article about our visit. You can read it here.   

On Wednesdey we had a trip to St. David's which is the smallest city in UK. We explored the Cathedral of St. David's, which is a popular pilgrim destination, and visited the beautiful beach of Whitesand. Then the students went to do something scary: coasteering. It's about jumping to the sea from several meters high cliffs. Luckily the teachers didn't have to even see it. :D

Last two days we spent at the second school Ysgol y Strade where we had two talented speakers: a poet Mererid Hopwood and a Member of Parliament Tonia Antoniazzi. Hopwood is one of the principal movers behind the White Book of Peace which is an extraordinary peace movement project. She had the book with her and all the people over 16 years old had ability to sign under the title "By signing my name in the Llyfr Gwyn, I commit myself to work for peace in the world."

You can read more about the White Book of Peace here.

We also had a work shop of Welsh folkdances and made a trip to Kidwelly Castle that was beautiful even touht it was raining. On Thursday evening we had a consert at the school where the extremely talented students performed. 

On Friday the students had a workshop with a BBC dj. They brought a song in their own language with them and togehter with the dj they made a radio program. You can listen the whole program here. In the evening we had a Farewell Party where all the participants got their certificates with huge applaudes. 

The week in Wales was really successfull. We learned new skills and ways to see things. We also made many new friends. Together we made the world a little bit better place to live. <3

torstai 20. syyskuuta 2018

Hunger Day 2018

As previous years, also this year our high school juniors participated the annual Hunger Day by collecting money on the streets of Oulu. The Hunger Day is organized by Finnish Red Cross. This year the fundraising campaign is during Sept 20-22 2018.

Below you can see pictures of our cheerful collectors and read their thoughts about the experience.

"It felt really good to help."

"It was a great experience."

"Very nice."

" It was eye opening and it was really nice knowing that we are helping those in need."

"I really enjoyed it today because I knew that the money is going to help someone."

"It is always nice to help those in need."

"Was a good experience + love helping ppl in need <3 <3 "

"It was fun and it felt nice knowing I had helped people."

"It was nice to be a part of doing something good for others."

"Helping peolpe is always nice."

"It felt good to know that we are helping people."