Last spring I participated in IPPSE. IPPSE is a shortage of a name “Interdisciplinary Programme on Poverty and Social Exclusion”. The course was organized by Metropolia University of Applied Sciences in May 2013. The aim of IPPSE was to develop students´ skills and competences in recognizing, understanding and preventing poverty and social exclusion. Teachers and students in the field of health care, rehabilitation and social services, from seven EU countries (Finland, Estonia, Portugal, Spain, Netherlands, Belgium and Hungary), worked and studied together for ten intensive days.
This course of poverty and social exclusion opened my eyes in many different ways. When we worked together in a multicultural and multiprofessional group, travelled to the field to see and hear from poverty and social exclusion, my picture of the world started to change.
I´ve spent a few years as a kindergarten teacher and therefore I´ve seen results of poverty from the perspective of families and children. But in IPPSE I learned that although some things are the same in Finland and in other countries, some things can vary – for example opinions of poverty and social exclusion and also benefits and working methods.
Worldwide economical crisis affects countries in several ways. In some countries it is possible to create a job for yourself if you are unemployed, but in some countries it is not possible. In Spain especially young people cannot get a workplace although they would have education. I Finland we still have to lot to do in structural level to make sure that the equality actualizes with the jobseekers that are disabled people, mental health patients, immigrants or elderly. Only a few people can move towards better work possibilities, but for all people it is not possible. And of course immigration leads usually to other kinds of problems in society.
For me the most shocking new thing was the differences in European countries concerning the benefits and income that people can from the government get. The differences are huge! For example in Finland poor people can get more money from the government than is the average income rate some countries. In some countries poverty line can be higher than some countries´ average salary.
Poverty is waste of human capital. Poverty means unequal opportunities and increased risk to violence, abuse and social exclusion. People should become subjectives of their own life. If government or markets treat people as objectives, their situation can not get better.
Empowering is a solution for poverty and social exclusion, but it is not an easy or a quick way to make people´s situation come better. Empowerment needs time and patience. It also needs support from society or government.
As professionals, we can try to wake up the society for example with blogs in the internet or writing our opinions to news magazines. Everybody should have the same opportunities in society – we should make sure, that human rights come true in all countries of the world! (Study diary notes.)
Why should you then participate in a multiprofessional and multicultural programme?
Because you learn a lot, it´s fun, you can get new friends and especially because it´s worth it! Besides learning English language and inter-cultural skills, my world view got enriched. I could meet many awesome and pro people and share my ideas and thoughts with them. By getting to know them, I could also indicate that not all Finnish people are shy or non-approachable.
Satu Kinnunen, Master of Social Services