ABOUT US
Our Mission
Is to advocate for dialogue, support minority cultures and promote equity, especially among children, youth and their pedagogues. We believe in creative methods and arts, and use storytelling, tales and music as tools to promote our goals. Additionally we host cultural events and workshops, and produce digital tales and texts. We believe that creativity and arts can help achieve visibility and audibility for minorities within institutions and society.

Our History
Our journey started in 2008 by arranging an event in which we celebrated seven feasts from beautiful traditions at Blomängen's school in eastren Helsinki together with Astrid Thors, the Minister of Migration and European affairs by then, who opened our exhibition " Year of Multicultural Celebrations". The exhibition was a success, offering side by side historical knowledge, dancing, drama, cooking and storytelling from both majority and minority cultures. From this success our NGO Ad Astra was born, and today our organization is well-known in the field of dialogue, storytelling, children's culture and education, as well as for innovative youth work.
Public Activity and Achievements
In 2015 Ad Astra created the first multicultural feast calender for children and pedagogues in cooperation with Fokus ry and Helsinki City. The calender is available in print and online. Ad Astra was rewarded as a pioneer in its field by The Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland in 2016. The same year Ad Astra spoke at the Dialogue seminar Organised by DG Justice and Consumers European Commission.
Our organization is connected to the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, OSCE, and a part of the European Institute for Dialogue in Paris, EIFD. We have hosted educations in dialogue for pedagogues together with the Regional State Administrative Agency and the National Education Agency.
Since 2020 Ad Astra has been publishing
fairytales in audio format for children in collaboration with professional storytellers and musicians. Stories are told in five different languages (English, Swedish, Finnish, Russian and Arabic). The project is ongoing and new stories are in the making.

In 2021 youth and students from Ad Astra trained staff at the University of Helsinki in antiracism and equity with support from the Ministry of Justice.



Meet Our Team
Our team and group of youth volunteers consists of passionate people with a variety of different backgrounds and experiences, as well as expertise in different fields. We are a multilingual organization and work in many different languages such as Swedish, English, Finnish, Russian and Arabic.
Milena Parland
Managing Director
Milena takes care of management and cooperations as well as educations. She was there when Ad Astra was founded in 2009. Milena is also a doctoral student at the Åbo Academy University, specializing in dialogue and faith minorities.
Ellu Öhman
Drama Teacher
Ellu is responsible for our performances for children and our cooperation with daycares, preschools and schools around feasts and cultural heritage, as well as workshops for pedagogues. Ellu has been working for our team since 2011.
Joséphine Holmström
Coordinator
Joséphine has been working as a coordinator and workshop facilitator in dialogue, norm critique and anti-racism for Ad Astra since spring of 2020. She is currently doing her master's degree in Sociology at the University of Helsinki focusing on issues related to race, identity and belonging.
Zusan Söderström
Producer
Zusan joined our team in 2020 as project producer. She has long experience of working with programs within children's culture and intercultural organizations.


Mundher Al Ani
Youth Worker & Musician
Mundher works as musician and storyteller for Ad Astra. He is a trained youth worker and has a background in both music and IT.
Mundher joined Ad Astra in 2015.
Cooperation
Schools and Higher educational institutions
· Pilten
· Svenskbacka
· Strömbergin alaste
· Kielilukio
· University of Helsinki

Museums and Culture houses
· Helsinki city museum
· Lilla Villan
· Annantalo
· Vuotalo
· Lilla Luckan

Municipalities
· Porvoo
· Helsinki
· Espoo
· Raasepori

NGO´s
· Moniheli
· Fokus
· Luckan Integration
· Trapesa ry
· Diva rf
· Familia ry
· Osa ry
European partners
· Eifd
· Muslim-Jewish conference
· ODIHR

Artists and musicians
· Global music program at the Sibelius Academy
· Alexander Reichstein