Our Mission
Is to advocate for dialogue, support minority cultures and promote equity and interfaith dialoge 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 "Year of Multicultural Celebrations". The year 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 seven languages. 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.

In 2023, we published for the first time digital fairy tales in Northern Sami and the new Sámi fairy tale Burdnomohki Biegga.
In 2024 we start with Romani.

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 (on study leave 2023)
    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 and she is linked to Central European University, specializing in dialogue and minorities in schools.
  • Kateryna Harahulia
    Art Coordinator
    Kateryna has been working for Ad Astra since 2022. She is a versatile artist and has experience teaching art for both children and adults. She has a master's degree in stage design, film and television from the National Academy of Fine Arts and Architecture in Kiev.
    • Ellu Öhman
      Drama Teacher
      Ellu works partly for us with performances for children connected to feasts and cultural heritage. Ellu has been leading of our team producing mulitlingual digitales. saga.ad-astra.fi Ellu joined Ad Astra 2011.
    • Zusan Söderström
      Zusan joined our team in 2020 as project producer. She has long experience of working with programs within children's culture and intercultural organizations.

    • Schools and Higher educational institutions
      · Pilten
      · Svenskbacka
      · Strömbergin alaste
      · Kielilukio
      ·CEU Romani Study Program
      · University of Helsinki

    • Museums and Culture houses
      Helsinki City Museum
      · Kulttuuritalo Grand, Porvoo
      - Lilla Villan, Sipoo
      · Annantalo, Helsinki
      · Vuotalo, Helsinki
      · Lilla Luckan, Helsinki

    • Municipalities
      · Porvoo
      · Helsinki
      · Espoo
      · Raasepori

    • NGO´s
      • DIVa rf
      • Fokus
      • Kolibri ry
      • Luckan Integration
      • Trapesa ry
      • Moniheli
      • OSA ry
      • Good Hair Day

    • European partners
      -Indipendent Theater, Budapest
      -Romano Kher, Budapest
      · EIFD
      · Muslim-Jewish conference
      · ODIHR

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