Bianca Biro, Chairperson & Project Coordinator
I have a BA Degree in English and French philology with a specialization in Translation and Terminology, from the University of Timisoara, Romania, and an MA degree in High Comparative European Studies. I have 7 years of experience in the field of translation project management, creation of teaching material, language projects and mLearning projects, teaching French to adult and young students. I am also an officially certified translator for English, French, Romanian. Since 2006 translation coordinator, French teacher and project worker for Learnwell Oy. I speak Finnish, English, French, Romanian.
I have been living in Finland since 2006 and I have two children born and raised in Finland, who speak both Romanian and Finnish. I believe immigration can be a powerful positive force in a society if built on strong language skills in both the first and second language and on a positive concept of ethnic identity. Through Learning for Integration, I am very enthusiastic to work with children and youth to promote language learning from an early age, help immigrant children build a high self-esteem and get the best of both worlds and integrate in their new home country.
Marja-Liisa Helenius, Secretary & Café Lingua Coordinator
I have a Master’s Degree from the University of Helsinki, with a major in English Philology, where I focused on English literature, specifically on ethnic minorities who write in English. I have minors in French Philology and Communication, and I also completed Subject Teacher Studies in English and French. Since graduation, I have been working mainly as a translator, and I have several years of English teaching experience in adult education. I worked as a part-time project secretary at HERA International/University of Helsinki for four years, and since 2009 I have worked mainly on translations and language projects for Learnwell Oy, currently Learnmera Oy. I speak Finnish, English, German and French.
I have always been interested in languages and cultures, which is why minority and migrant literature is one of my greatest interests. I have also always enjoyed writing, translating and learning new languages – as well as teaching the ones I know. I have lived abroad for a few years in the UK, Germany and the United States, and I know how difficult it is to adapt to a whole new culture – especially when you don’t know the language very well, which was my experience in Germany. Through Learning for Integration, I hope we can help others with the challenge of learning the local languages, as well as and finding a balance between remembering their own culture and learning to live in their new home country.
Within Learning for integration ry I coordinate the Language Café, or Café Lingua, an international and intercultural language exchange event. I also work on other projects, run Finnish conversation groups and act as Secretary of the Board.
Veronica Gelfgren, Project Partner
16 years of experience as a language teacher of Swedish, English and Finnish for foreigners. Entrepreneur since 1999. Specialized in language material creation, content for educational websites and for mobile learning applications. Coordinator of Vårdsvenska, partner in several EU projects in the past. Author of the e-book Kortkul och Ordskatter and Picture prompts Book 1 and Book 2.
Within Learning for integration I coordinate the mLearning language projects.
Yulia Basjukina, Project Partner
I have a Master’s Degree in Philology with specialization in Russian Linguistics and Literature from Saint-Petersburg State University, Russia, and a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, Finland. I came to Finland in 2008 as an exchange student of the Faculty of Arts of the University of Helsinki, and have been living in Helsinki since then.
I have over 6 years of experience in interpreting and translations (English-Russian) and in English language teaching (both adults and children). For the last 5 years, I have been involved in online education programmes development as a Russian language specialist and project administrator.
I have always been interested in learning new languages and getting to know new cultures, and I enjoy working with the tools that help others learn, too. I have created Russian language content for WordDive cloud service, and was responsible for the Russian language learning section of the online educational Vårdsvenska project of Learnwell Oy, creating Russian content and materials as well as language tests and grammar packages. Now, I also work as a layout artist for publications and material created within Learnmera Oy projects and help with material creation and other project work for Learning for Integration ry.
Vaibhavi Oza, Technology Advisor & IT Advisor
Vaibhavi has 8+ years of international experience in IT industry. She has demonstrated experience in full IT/Software development life cycle, from setting up agile processes, process requirements management, change management, to testing & release management for multi-site environment. Earlier, at Wärtsilä (Finland), Vaibhavi was responsible for global coordination in release development, integration testing and UAT across Finland, Switzerland, Netherlands, Norway, Italy, India and China.
Jenny Zukerman, Reading Circles & Mystery Games Coordinator
I've been teaching English here in Finland since 2007 after founding the The Lingua Tailor in 2006. At university, I studied Business Systems, then worked at an IT training company and PDA software development company in Melbourne, then at Cisco systems in Amsterdam, before moving to Finland.
With LFI, we want to bring people together from different backgrounds, ages and cultures. I was born in L.A. and grew up in Melbourne, Australia. My mum is from Peru and dad's from Israel, and grandparents from Poland, Romania and Lithuania. Coming from such a diverse background, I understand how language can divide people or bring them together. Learning a language is more than just words and grammar, it is also about getting better at communicating with people who have different attitudes, tastes and cultures than your own.
Anastasia Diatlova, Theater & Crafts Coordinator
I have a Master’s Degree in Social Sciences with a specialization in Sociology of Gender and minors in Communication Studies and Theology from the University of Helsinki and over 9 years of experience in different youth and student theater groups. I have directed five productions, acted in eight, wrote scripts, produced shows and designed stage costumes. As an experienced crafter and DIY enthusiast I take part in local fairs and the worldwide crafts community. I speak English, Russian and Finnish.
I have always been interested in promoting equity, understanding and community-building through different artistic endeavours. Through Learning for Integration, I hope we can help young people, both Finnish and foreign, to learn more about each other, improve their communication skills, bridge the generation gap and feel more connected with the community.