Once upon a time, there was a girl named Lucia, who had a passion for fighting for justice. She was born in Italy, a country where people have a unique way of communicating with their hands. Lucia’s father called her Pasionaria, after the Spanish activist Dolores Ibárruri Gómez, known for her strong beliefs and willingness to fight for them.
As the youngest child with two brothers, Lucia learned to use rhetoric to win arguments from a young age. This led her to study communication, which she loved, along with new technologies and interacting with people. Lucia was eager to explore the world, and she studied and worked in Spain, the USA, and Ireland.
When Lucia started dating a man from the North who spoke sparingly, no one thought their relationship would last. However, Lucia loved challenges, and she decided to pack her suitcase and move to the North to be with him. At first, it was challenging for her to adjust to the new environment, especially the cold climate. She missed the Mediterranean sun, the food, and most of all, chatting with locals.
Despite the challenges, Lucia found a newly founded group of like-minded women, International Working Women of Finland. She soon discovered that many other immigrants faced similar challenges. Lucia took action and knocked on a few doors in her new town to discuss with local partners if they could create something together. With her new allies, she organized events for international talents, including peer support, networking, and tips to find work. Empower Wednesday was born, a network that provided the kind of support she wished she had received during her first months in the North.
Today, two and a half years after the first Empower Wednesday event, more than 2000 people have joined, and Lucia, aka Pasionaria, is filled with joy in helping fellow internationals. She believes that everyone, regardless of their background, should have access to equal opportunities.
Recently, Lucia started her communication company to support international talents in establishing their brands. Communication has always been her first love, and she is passionate about helping others succeed. When Lucia moved to Turku six winters ago, she cried when she saw the snow. But now, she cries with happiness when it melts on the spring days. She has accomplished a lot in the North, including earning a degree in Information Technology, raising twins, starting her own company, and growing the international community. She finally feels at home.
Series: Lucia Vuillermin
Illustrations: Barbara Kaucher
International House Turku brings together counselling and guidance services promoting and supporting the integration of immigrants and international newcomers in Turku and the Turku region.