Please see our photographs and comments about selected events below.
On November 14, 2018 we had a very inspiring conversation with Professor John Wall from Rutgers University about the childrens' voting rights and related issues. Apart from learning about Professor Wall's work, we discussed the situation with disenfranchised youth & children in aging European countries, we discussed the labour rights of children more broadly. Children get the right to work in some cases at rather early age (14 in the US) and this results in children starting to pay taxes - while still having no voting representation in their countries. We would like to direct your attention to John's work related to child studies https://johnwall.camden.rutgers.edu/books/childrens-rights/
Rutgers University is also the only one in the US which offers the doctoral study programme in childhoos studies: https://childhood.camden.rutgers.edu/graduate-program/phd/
On 28.8.2017 we had a historical meeting with two outstanding ladies: Rea Nukari-Pajunen and Anna Ehrnrooth, who founded and led the work of "Lapsen Ääni"- our predecessor organization in Finland in 1990'ies. We agreed about cooperation and were very glad to hear that Anna and Rea would like to act as our Honorable Members going forward. Rea together with her late husband general Aimo Pajunen founded the "Lapsen Ääni" association in 1989 and Anna did excellent work as the Vice Chairman. Thanks to the activity of our predecessor organization, the position of children in the Finnish society was considerably improved. For example, the positions of the "Ombudsman for children" and "Family Minister" were introduced. The views and interests of our predecessor organization also achieved broad support across different organizations and parties in Finland but unfortunately due to economic recession and societal focus being directed at other issues their existence was cut to a relatively short period - only about 5 years.
Interestingly, when we founded our "Lasten Ääni" association (same name but in multitude) in fall 2016 we at first didn't know anything about the existence of any predecessor organization in Finland. The beginning of 1990'ies was not an Internet era yet - and thus not very much information about them was available through common search engines. We found out about them thanks to Rea contacting us based on a newspaper article about our work. To sum up: this was a truly memorable meeting and we feel deeply honored to be able to continue the good work which was started two decades ago by the previous generation of children's rights activists! Hopefully the society is more ripe now for further decisions and changes for the benefit of children!
We made a presentation and met a lot of interesting people at Tulevaisuuden Valtiopäivät - the "Parliament of the Future" event in Porvoo on 4.5.2017. For our start-up team this was the first big public appearance. We were interviewed by Helsingin Sanomat and Svenska Yle during the event and our cause raised a lot of reflections among participants with someone even shouting out "Good!" from the public while we were making our presentation. Positively, the event was opened by 8th graders who voiced their hopes for improvements and innovations in current democratic system. The seminar also witnessed the historic event - the first ever open working session of the Finnish Cabinet of Ministers - and here again children participated - they posed pre-prepared questions to the ministers. It was also very interesting to hear presentations by Jeremy Heimans and Pia Mancini about such concepts like "new power" in society and "liquid democracy" where trust and voting power could be delegated across countries' borders globally to the best experts on causes like climate change or medical research. We are very grateful to Taru Tujunen and Sanna Kalinen for arranging the event and inviting us!
24-25.4.2017: we met with the Board of the Children's Parliament in Tampere and followed the "influence days of the 4-graders". We had a very interesting, vibrant discussion with the Board of the Childrens Parliament in Tampere about childrens' voting rights, and the history of childrens rights and democracy more broadly. We generated ideas & made a plan on how to proceed with our cooperation. Tampere is the most active in Finland municipality in terms of kids & youth activity & inclusiveness in decision-making. We are grateful to Tampere Youth Coordinator Miia Nivala and Child Ombudsman Tiia Heinäsuo for receiving us and introducing to the unique interesting programme they have developed for children & youth in Tampere.
1.12.2016: we met with "Pikkuyrittäjät" at the Slush Conference. Today we met the youngest entrepreneurs of Finland: "Pikkuyrittäjät" offers the 4-6 graders the possibility to learn about entrepreneurship and within 9-step programme implement and sell their product to real customers for real money. We were very impressed by the confidence and positive energy radiating from these kids!!!