Metaphora values any and every initiative that allows the seeds of family heritage to be nurtured and appreciated. On that note, we are very much supportive of the Kolibrí Festival in Helsinki:

The Kolibri Festival is a way to experience multiculturalism and multilingualism in Finland through children’s eyes. Kolibrí – the Ibero-American children’s cultural festival offers artistic, recreational and educational program for all families. Kolibrí brings a multidisciplinary program in a multicultural setting which is open to different kinds of families, irrespective of nationality or language. The events and workshops are free of charge.

 

Photo by Laura Gazzotti

Photo by Laura Gazzotti

 

The Kolibrí Festival enables an energising environment where stories and culture come together. It will happen in Espoo (from the  7th to 9th of June 2016) and at Annantalo in Helsinki (on the 12th of June 2016).

In their website, it is possible to find all the information regarding the events for the whole family:

http://www.kolibrifestivaali.org/en/


 

In order to understand more about what type of stories support Kolibrí’s identity we interviewed Yesmith Sanchez – the volunteer Communication and Marketing Strategist of the Festival.

In parallel to her commitments to Kolibrí, Yesmith is first and foremost an active mother of two beautiful children. She is originally from Mexico and she moved to Finland with her Finnish husband. She is a person who felt in love with poetry, and she also identifies herself as a writer. Her journey up to this moment is quite a story…

Yesmith had humble beginnings.  Her father was an electrician and her mother was a cleaner, and both of them could not finish their elementary education. Through many challenges and limited resources, Yesmith found her way to University, where she pursued a bachelor degree in management (with a minor in marketing). After her graduation, Yesmith decided to go for an internship abroad and India was her place of choice.

India was a special place for Yesmith. There, she could reengineer herself and look back at her story. In addition, Yesmith was able to met the man who would later become the father of her children.

“He is everything I imagined when I listened to love songs”.

Thomas, a Finnish man, and Yesmith, a Mexican woman, got engaged at the Taj Mahal. Later, In Mexico, they got married.

In Mexico, Yesmith was hired as a brand manager strategist in a big company, and at the age of 27, Yesmith officially became a business professional. Even though she was really happy with her achievements, she struggled to accept that she may not be able to lead her family to experience all she could. Whenever she had business trips, she wished that her family could be present and see the world through her lens.

Eventually, Yesmith and Thomas decided that they should try to live in Finland. Thomas prepared for Yesmith’s arrival in many ways. She started a Finnish course at Hanken School of Economics – where later she continued to pursue a master degree in Management and Strategy. In Finland, Yesmith experienced different levels of being a foreigner but she felt that her master studies rescued her feelings of self worth and she was able to integrate in different ways.

Yesmith still struggles with the guilt of being far away from her family in Mexico. After the sudden illness of her older brother, Yesmith had to immediately return to Mexico. By vocalising her intentions of returning back to Mexico permanently, her family advised that she should not let go of her ‘special person’. At this point, Yesmith realised that Finland was her home, and Mexico became a visiting destination.

When Yesmith had her first child (a girl named Luna), her priorities changed, and everything else did not matter.  Luna brought inspiration to Yesmith and she began to write poetry. Luna also rooted Yesmith, and after the birth of her second child (Max), Yesmith felt that she created a new Universe for herself in Finland. Through a mothers’ group, Yesmith met Laura Gazzotti  who was involved in a project that promoted Ibero-American culture (Cinemaíssito).

Yesmith decided to get involved with the artistic community and she also became an active member of the organisers of what today is known as Kolibrí Festivaali.

Kolibrí represents something personal to Yesmith.

“I believe that the Festival is important because it cherishes the fact that we have a history and a story…. It  promotes the idea that we should be ourselves and it reminds us that our children are not a minority. Instead, they are citizens of Finland and they are here to stay because that is where they belong. When my kids go to Mexico they should not feel as tourists, mainly because they have been exposed to that side of their heritage in the country where they live.

Even though Kolibrí focuses on Latin American cultures, its main message is to connect with differences. It invites everyone to come and be open and to experience other cultures.

I feel that we have worked hard but our mission continues. We have a growing sense of responsibility with the community and, for instance, with the situation of refugees we should not overlook the need of children.”

In the context of Kolibrí, there is a lot of work being done behind the scenes. Even though Kolibrí is free of charge to everyone to participate, it does have costs. There is a crowd funding campaign set up for the Festival where the public can contribute. Please check the link below for reference:

https://mesenaatti.me/kolibri-festivali-spring-2016/

The Festival continues to be possible with the work of a limited amount of volunteers. The organisers still need help, not only with translations (Finnish / Swedish / Portuguese) but also with other administrative and handy work for the day of the Festival and after (about 10 people). If you are interested in helping, please contact the volunteer co-ordinator (Ana Peres) by the email:

volunteer@kolibrifestivaali.org

As to the future of Kolibrí, Yesmith believes that it should become an association, where a legacy would be formed to promote the values that the Festival stands by.

“I hope that in the future “multiculturalism” is not a subject to be studied and that my children can experience its benefits without noticing it is even there.”

Kolibrí Festival 2016

Kolibrí Festival 2016


 

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Thanks for stopping by!

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Paulo de Tarso F. Silva

Story mediator and founder of Metaphora