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SONDIP – The union of multicultural associations in South-West Finland was founded in 2006. From its inception the umbrella organisation has been a part of many different multicultural ja immigrant based institutions representing its member associations. One of the most long term representation duties has been with the Advisory Board for Ethnic Relations.

Sondip has grown over the years at a steady pace. During its formation in 2006, the organisation had 11 members, in 2019 there are 24 member associations. Over the years there has been changes in memberships but many of our associations have been with us since our inception.

The first premises of the organisation was rented from the City of Turku in 2007. The premises were then located on Amiraalistonkatu 6. To the current premises on Hämeenkatu 15, the organisation moved in 2012. The premises hold an office for our MAKOSA -project workers, project assistant of multicultural work and member associations’ trainees. At Hämeenkatu, we also have a kitchen and a meeting room, that the organisation’s members can use for free.

At the core of SONDIP’s operations is the MAKOSA -project. The Project began in 2006 funded by then-RAY, now STEA. MAKOSA focuses on three areas: improving cooperation and developing the know-how of multicultural associations as well as supporting and informing our member associations operations. To that end MAKOSA offers free guidance and counseling for associations, organises trainings on different aspects of association’s operations, improves the cooperation between different multicultural organisations and between associations and officials. MAKOSA also offers the frame in which Sondip organises various multicultural events that are meant to support the operations of our member associations as well as promote the visibility of multicultural associations in society in general.

In 2008, Sondip managed to get funding for KUVApaja – an after school acticity. This project lasted until the end of 2010. In 2009, Sondip got funding for a three year project Lähde (fountain). Lähde -project was funded by the Ministry of Education. The aim of the project was the developement of social skills of 7 to 17 year old children, the prevention of marginalization and loneliness. Secondary aims of the project were to guide the children in the age group (7-17) to activities organised by municipal youth department, learning about intercultural interaction and enhancing the cooperation between youth houses, schools and parents.

In 2009, Sondip also began to offer outsourced services. The first outsourced service agreement was made with the City of Turku (also called PALO -project 2009-2014). The service in question was providing advisory services in immigrants’ mother toungue (in 8 different languages at the time). In the same project (in 2011) Sondip provided education in Kurdish and Dari to illiterate adults. In 2013, the outsourcing services expanded as Sondip provided educator services for a international training course for the centre of youth work of the City of Turku. Sondip was also a part of Osallisena Suomessa (participant in Finland) – project’s childcare services and the Arjen taidot (Every day skills) – module held in three languages (Arabic, English, Kurdish) for immigrants in integration training. In recent years Sondip has provided Parempia palveluita maahanmuuttajille (PPMM, Better services for immigrants) -project with guidance services in immigrants’ mother toungue and peer mentors for Turku university of applied sciences’ project Vertaista Vailla (Without peers).

In 2014, PALO -project became Infotori (Info Point – guidance in immigrants’ mother toungue). Currently in 2019, you can get couseling in 14 different languages. Infotori is located in Monitori in Shopping Centre Skanssi (Skanssinkatu 10). The service is meant for immigrants in Turku and nearby areas. From Infotori you can get personal counselling in matters such as residence permits, citizenships, work and accommodation.

Many of our annual events such as Party against Racism, Culturefiesta, Etnofest, Market of Possibilities, Meeting of the Associations and Multicultural Independence Day Party, have become a tradition. Improving cooperation, enhancing the visibility of multicultural assocations and supporting their operations along with the events enrich the cultural field of Southwest Finland providing a variety of music and dance performances and tasty foods from different cultures to a wider audience. These events manage to bring together people and traditions from near and far.