The Finnish parliamentary election is in full swing and the candidates have upped their campaigns in other to woo voters during the April Parliamentary elections. The Finnish constitution attributes sovereign power to the people who are duly represented by Parliamentary.

Becoming a Member of Parliament is exclusive to Finnish citizen and the duration of term is four years. In Finland, the eligible age for voting is 18 years. The significant aspect of this year’s parliamentary election is that some of the candidates are from a background other than a native Finn.

Rita Kostama and her team: PAULIINA H. (on the left) and Päivi K. (on the right)

One of the candidates who is vying for a parliamentary seat is Rita Kostama, the incumbent Järvenpää City Councilor who moved from obscurity to prominence after she was named Refugee Woman of the Year 2016 by the Finnish Refugee Council.

The 40- year old mother of two children is originally from Rwanda, she came to Finland as a refugee quota in 1998. Her first home town was the Port city of Turku. Rita is a good example of an immigrant who has successfully integrated into the Finnish system.

She traversed difficult times to become what she is today. She started from the scratch by enrolling in a language school after been denied a job due to Finnish language deficiency. The former cleaner of a kindergarten school in Espoo said after she rounded up her language school, she applied for a professional school in Espoo. It wasn’t easy for her because her knowledge of Finnish was very poor.

Before she graduated she did some job training at one of the famous supermarkets in Finland. In 2006, she had her first child and in 2007 she had the second child and after that she applied for a study place at Laurea University of Applied Sciences for a degree program and got admitted after two attempts.

It was difficult for her to take care of her family and still handle school tasks. When she was about rounding up her degree program she sought for a place where she could do her practice and it was the same place where she has been working while going to sschool. Rita recalls how she was treated badly at her place of work in Järvenpää.

In 2015 the company promised her a place at the info desk of the company but they never fulfilled it.
According to her, she complained to the headquarters of the company about the ill treatment that was melted on her but they couldn’t do anything. At some point she discovered that she was not being paid correctly because the number of hours she signed in the contract she wasn’t getting it due to discrimination.

There was a time when the staffs got Christmas gift but she was sidelined. Some of her friends who work there were very sad with her ordeal.
Rita has faced different forms of discrimination before she became a councilor and her mission is to help and proffer solutions to everyone who is also going through the same challenge.