Social inclusion and exclusion in Finland
There is a strong connection between the opportunity to participate and influence your community and your well-being. Inclusion is related to the feeling of belonging to society and community, being part of the community and taking part in the community activities.
The experience of inclusion can be related to your work, studies, hobbies or voluntary activities. Inclusion means also influencing matters and taking responsibility of the consequences. Social inclusion brings well-being and health to people’s lives as it brings meaning to life. Inclusion is often seen as a counterpart to exclusion. Exclusion is often described as a process where an individual, family or whole communities drift outside the normal or commonly accepted standard of living or way of life.
Poverty is one of the main reasons why people feel they are excluded. The lack of job opportunities or access to health and social services may also increase exclusion from the society. On the other hand a person can feel himself excluded even if he was well educated and wealthy.
The majority of Finnish children and young people are doing fine. Still exclusion from the society is a reality for a large number of children and young people. People can be exposed to exclusion because of the sense of isolation, which can be based on poverty, immigration, alcohol or drug abuse in the family, mental health issues in the family or severe upbringing.
The exclusion of young people can be prevented if the families and professionals work together and different parties take responsibility of the well-being of children and young people and provide the professional support children, young people and their parents need by working together.
Young people and social inclusion
Being included is a basic right for a young person. It means that she has opportunity to influence her surroundings, decision making concerning herself and matters that concern her. Young people also need to be able to influence the joint matters in their community.
The feeling of being included and having to opportunity to influence joint matters, gives a young person belief of being able to have they say in the future too. The sense of inclusion makes young person an active member of the society.
Finnish Youth Cooperation – Allianssi is a national service and lobbying organisation for youth work.