“Integrify made me optimistic”

Sharmake, a journalist and radio station manager from Somalia, decided to leave his home country after almost getting killed three times. Now in Finland, he looks forward to learning how to code, finding a job in journalism and, most of all, being a good man and a good worker.

26-year-old Sharmake has a Bachelor’s Degree in public administration and a diploma in journalism. Back in Somalia, he worked as a manager of a big radio station.

“I loved my work. I’m a typical journalist in that I like people and talking to them. I did a tv newscast and wrote online articles. I miss it all so much.”

Unfortunately, the radio station started getting calls from people threatening to kill the journalists working there. As time passed, things got a lot worse.

“A journalist’s life in Somalia is extremely dangerous. I almost got killed three times.”

In the last murder attempt, his friend was killed in a car bomb attack that was meant to end Sharmake’s life. At that moment, he decided that it was time to go.

Through the desert to safety

“I didn’t have any other option as I was afraid for my life.”

In Somalia, Sharmake had heard from colleagues that Finland was a good and safe place, especially for journalists: according to Reporters without Borders, Finland is number one in press freedom in the world.

He travelled from Somalia to Uganda, and from there to South Sudan, Libya, Italy, Austria, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and finally to Finland. The exhausting trip took almost three months.

“Travelling through the desert without having anything to drink or eat, spending several days on a small plastic boat on the Mediterranean... I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. But then again, the alternative would have been worse, so I had to do it”, Sharmake says.

“I want to be a good man”

In the Tallukka reception center in Vääksy, Sharmake saw an announcement about Integrify’s training programme.

“I immediately brightened up and thought that this was my chance. I have always been good with computers, we are made to work together”, he says.

He had heard that it’s typically difficult for foreigners to find a job in Finland, and that the jobs available are mostly driving a bus or cleaning floors. He felt that Integrify could give him a chance to do something he’s good at and use his skills.

“Maybe this way, I’ll find a job more easily. I want to learn coding, but most of all, I want to be a good man and a good worker”, Sharmake says.

He says he misses his wife and three kids enormously.

“I hope that some time in the future, I’ll be able to bring my family to Finland. But first, I have to get a job.”

According to him, travelling to Finland and seeking asylum have been a very complicated process, but it has all been worth it.

“I dream of working in journalism again someday. Integrify made me very optimistic. I look forward to seeing what we can achieve with this!”