Devastating and saddening news about young children who are separated by their families in Finland. The story of a 14-year-old Thai Kanyarat Tassamani. She is to return to Thailand because she has lived with her father and not with her mother. Her parents decided it best to live in Finland with her mother because her father, who is in Thailand, is not able to take care of her anymore. Her mother, Pawichad Saithong, who is a Finnish citizen and stepfather Markku Sorsa are fighting for her rights to stay in Finland. However, she is given three weeks to leave the country even though she has been here for nearly three years.
Fourteen years old Ashley is separated from her Filipino parents because her grandmother raised her for 12 years. Her mother, Dahlia, and her older sister have lived in Finland, and they did not take Ashley with them because Dahlia wanted that she can provide for both girls. Ashley also has two younger siblings who were born in Finland and who are Finnish citizens.
The reasons these families were declined residence permit is an allegation that the custody of the mother and child had been broken, according to MTV News, who have interviewed the families on separate occasions.
It is prevalent for mothers from developing countries to move and work abroad to find a better future for their children. It is a huge sacrifice for both the child and the mother. Mothers do not leave their child behind lightly to be an orphan or to be raised by relatives. Every mother knows that a mother will never lose the right of a child, no matter how far they are or how long they are separated from you. Every child should have the right to be a child and be raised by capable parents.
Finland, You care about the rights of the 175 children still abroad. Can you show empathy for the children who are disconnected from their parents who are already calling Finland their home?
The UN treaty protects children under the age of 18 years and below. It states that the parties should ensure that a child shall not be separated from his or her parents against their will. The child should have a safe environment to grow and develop. The convention involves four general principles:
All children are equal.
The interests of the child are primary in all decision-making.
The child is entitled to a good life.
The views of the child shall be taken into account.
The Finlex Child Welfare Act that the responsibility of a child's wellbeing rest with the child's parents and the public authorities is supposed to help and support them.
Are we treating these girls with the same equality as children living in Finland? Are we giving them the best possible life by sending them away from the parents who are capable of raising them? Are we giving them the voice on how, where, and with whom they want to live their life?
I cry for Kanyarat and Ashley and know their pain because they are my pain as a foreign child and as a mother.
I have also been separated from my biological mother for six years while living with my grandmother. My mother worked as a cleaner and saved money to bring us to Finland. There was not a year gone by that she stopped loving, caring, and worrying for us while she was here, and we were there.
I came to Finland when I turned 10. At 14, I created and co-wrote the musical called Color Blind, where the famous rappers and other known entertainers in Finland met. At 19, I acted in one of the acclaimed television series in Finland called Salatut Elämät, while finishing high school and working as a cleaner. I graduated as a BBA and started a business after finishing school.
Today, I am a proud mother of three Finns. I know a lot of immigrant women like me, who are successful today because our parents took us here when we were young. We speak the language; we have Finnish children, we build enterprises, and we work for the betterment of our society, which we call home. We are quiet of our achievements, but we made it, we have fully integrated.
Finland, we need children who will be future Finns, and a united family reinforces a better society and a stronger community.