Sunshine Coast Finnish Friends Support is run by volunteers in sunny Queensland in Australia. Its mission is to support, advice and help local senior Finns, and organize outings and functions for them.
Last year, 2020, we received a grant from the Finland Society in Helsinki to teach information technology to the older Finnish population. We thought it would be a very important skill during Covid-19, when personal contacts were minimized and travelling between Finland and Australia was basically non-excitant.
The senior lessons were organized in individual sessions at the homes of the participants which abled people with mobility issues to take part as well. The tutor was an IT professional with vast experience who could speak both Finnish and English.
The program helped seniors to choose and purchase information technology devises like computers, tablets, smart phones or intelligent TVs, as well as to install them and continue with IT support.
We were concentrating on teaching internet browsing, social media, emailing, photo taking and attaching. The teaching was individualised according to each person’s requirements and interests.
“I am Marja-Liisa, a senior Finn who lives on the Sunshine Coast in Australia.
The IT training offered by the Finnish Friends Support has been invaluable for me. I liked the way the program was designed as it gave everybody a chance to have individualised lessons in the subject that was most beneficial for their needs. I learned skills that kept me connected to my sisters in Finland and England as well as friends all over the world. It helped me to keep my sanity in these tough times. In addition, it has been encouraging that I can now talk to the younger generation on their level and do not feel so left out when they are using the terms that I had no idea before. I am very thankful to the Finland Society for the grant and the understanding the needs of the older expatriate Finns in Australia. Your help is highly appreciated.”
“My name is Pia and I am a Finnish pensioner living on the Sunshine Coast.
I only had a mobile phone before and used it for ringing people. Now I have smartphone, a tablet and an intelligent TV and I use them every day. Finnish Friends Support and their fantastic program made this possible. They helped me to choose the equipment and taught me how to use them. My world has widened and I am not “afraid” of the equipment any longer. I would definitely like to learn more, I am only a beginner. Thank you Finland Society for your funding.”
Text by Elli Hentunen, Sunshine Coast Finnish Friends Support