With more than 50 years of experience, the Finnish Refugee Council is a specialist in international refugee work. Our mission is to improve the basic rights of refugees and returnees. As an UNHCR associate in Finland, the Council is a religiously and politically independent development cooperation organization.

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Support us

There are more than 60 million refugees in the world. With your support, we are able to provide a new beginning. 52 euros offers a chance for a refugee to achieve literacy. You can support the ones that have lost everything. You can help to make a difference.

Please choose a gift and donate via online bank or credit card (in Finnish) or make a bank transfer to FI71 8000 1300 2236 67 (DABAFIHH) with a reference 6460. Fundraising licence: POL-2015-6073

Our work

Themes | Uganda | Liberia | Sierra Leone | Myanmar


The Finnish Refugee Council supports refugees and migrants to take an active role in daily life and as a part of society.


Poverty reduction through education

We promote self-reliance of refugees in prolonged refugee situations and post-conflict areas in Uganda, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Myanmar.


Conflict prevention

We work for strengthening civil society in post-conflict countries and refugee situations. We promote resident comfort in diverse residential areas through mediation.


Peer support and work with NGO’s

We organize study and peer groups and strengthen refugees’ and migrants’ own associations.


Direction in life for young migrants

We support young migrants in finding their own resources and means to cope with challenging life situations.


Advocacy for refugee rights

We participate in the public debate and influence political decision-making in Finland.

Development  programme

The Finnish Refugee Council facilitates refugees’, returnees’ and internally displaced peoples’ new beginning by building self-confidence among adults, especially youth and women, as well as by promoting self-reliance giving them tools to better manage their day-to-day lives and increase their capabilities to take part in the decision making process in the societies they live in. FRC operates in protracted refugee contexts and post-conflict and returnee areas. FRC’s accomplishes its mission through a three-pronged strategy with adult education at its core:

  • Non-formal education for adults on functional literacy, in English, French or other mother tongues as per end users’ needs and/or requests, and on life skills;
  • Small business and other livelihoods skill trainings, support to individual or group businesses, non-formal vocational education for the youth;
  • Strengthening the civil society.

An independent evaluation of the Finnish Refugee Council’s development programme has shown that the work implemented by the organization is relevant, cost-efficient and effective. You can read more about the evaluation and its conclusions here.


Our work in Uganda improves refugees’ changes to raise their living standards. We provide refugees skills and abilities which can immediately help them increase their income levels. Core of our adult education work is functional literacy and English language training combined with practical and thematic topics which are relevant for refugees. We strengthen the livelihoods of refugees by organizing courses on business skills, and by training and mentoring refugee groups. We also support refugee associations through training and mentoring to better respond to the needs of refugees. Refugee Council’s youth work supports young refugees to actively take part in the society.

Our country office is located in Kampala. We work in four refugee settlement areas around Uganda namely Kyaka II, Kyangwali, Nakivale as well as in Adjumani within Ayilo I and II and Nyamanzi settlements. Additionally we work with urban refugees living in Kampala.


Our work in Liberia contributes towards increased social cohesion in the Bahn and PTP refugee camps and the surrounding communities hosting Ivorian refugees. Capacities of refugees and Liberians is increased through adult education. We organize functional literacy education for adults in English and French both in refugee camps and hosting communities as well as in Bong and Margibi counties. Facilitators are trained to lead literacy circle activities in the communities. The trained facilitators act as change agents and the established literacy committees monitor the implementation of activities as well as act as dispute solvers.

The Liberian partner organization is NAEAL – National Adult Education Association in Liberia. In the long run, the enhancement of their administration and capacity improves the readiness of Liberian’s civil society to actively work in improving equality and the nation’s education level. Our country office is located in Monrovia.

Sierra Leone

In Sierra Leone we provide adult literacy training and vocational training for young adults. In the adult education project, the functional literacy education is a tool for social development, where the participants’ ability for equal participation is enhanced. Adult education provides functional literacy in mother tongues or English with basic knowledge in thematic issues like nutrition, health and HIV/AIDS. Functional literacy does not only increase the ability of understanding written information but also strengthens the participants’ self-esteem and their ability to participate in decision-making at the community level. In the long run supporting the network of national actors strengthens the civil society’s ability to play an active role to improve the national education level. As part of the program REFLECT -participatory and functional literacy training package has been developed in cooperation with local actors.

Through our youth work marginalized young people are offered vocational training and functional literacy training to improve their livelihood opportunities. After the vocational and functional literacy training, the youth are supported in the job-seeking process and in establishing small scale businesses.The project also increases the capacity of the staff in vocational institutes to respond more effectively to the special educational needs of the youths who are in danger of marginalization.

Our country office is located in the town of Bo, where the vocational training project is also carried out. Supported literacy groups which are organised by partner organization HELP-SL (Hands Empowering Less Priviledged in Sierra Leone) are held in several districts namely Tonkolili, Moyamba, Bonthe and Kenema.

Here you can find the REFLECT materials.


Our aim is to support peaceful development in Myanmar through education and strengthening livelihoods in the returnee areas. We worked among Myanmar refugees until 2014 at the refugee camps in Thailand. Now the FRC continues to support the same minorities on the other side of the border, in the district of Kayah, Myanmar. The education is designated for returnees, internally displaced people and rural communities. Emphasis is placed among young adults and women.

The work has started with vocational training. We are providing six-week vocational training courses for Myanmarian returnees and internally displaced in a vocational school in Loikaw. In 2016 our work with local civil society organization starts and plans include increasing knowledge of legal issues, supporting young people to build networks and giving support for women living in vulnerable conditions. We have offices in Yangon as well as in Loikaw.

Contact us

Elimäenkatu 15, 3rd floor
00510 Helsinki
tel. (09) 696 2640 (9 a.m. – 16 p.m. EET)
fax (09) 876 4271


Unit heads

Email: firstname.lastname@pakolaisapu.fi

Annu Lehtinen
Executive Director
+358 44 7191 771

Leena Kumpulainen
Head of International Programme
+358 40 543 4541

Jaakko Rämö
Head of Financial Unit
+358 45 114 7797

Tea Saloranta
Head of Communications & Marketing

Ben Malinen
Head of Domestic Programme

International programme

Email: firstname.lastname@refugeecouncil.fi

Leena Kumpulainen
Head of International Programme
+358 40 543 4541

Tarja Saarela-Kaonga
Country Director Uganda
+256 31 22 666 42

Masud Hossain
Country Director Liberia
(+231) 077 789 9766

Hannaleena Pölkki
Country Director Myanmar
+95 (0)9 262810706