From Taksvärkki Day (Operation a Day’s Work campaign) to signing a recording contract! Now Erika Sirola actively encourages young people to take advantage of the opportunity offered by Taksvärkki ry to investigate their own dream profession. “It was win-win for everyone. The studio got a new artist, I was one step closer to my own dream job and at the same time I was able to help other young people through the donation the studio made for my efforts.”
The sparkling 20-year-old singer visited the Taksvärkki headquarters in Helsinki in January. Erika, who has been actively building an international reputation, has performed with German superstar Robin Schultz, among others. Her artist “career” began on that 9th grade school day, when she decided to really consider what might be the job of her dreams.
“I always wanted to see what it was like to be in a recording studio, but I never thought I’d get there,” the young artist says. At that time, 13-year-old Erika ended up spending her Taksvärkki workday as an apprentice at Kaiku studio in Helsinki. After learning about the studio’s activities with her mentor for the day, Erika was then encouraged to present her own song to the producer. A few weeks later, there was a recording contract offered that would change her life. “And that’s how it all started,” Erika recalls.
In addition to gaining new and unique work experience, Erika Sirola was also able to support other young people with her efforts. Taksvärkki ry builds a bridge between young people in Finland and in the Global South. “We [Finns] have pretty much won the lottery,” the singer reflects at the opportunities she’s had, and is prepared to work towards all young people having the same starting point for life. “It’s morally right.”
Each year, some 15,000 young people from all over Finland participate in the Taksvärkki campaign organized by Taksvärkki ry and support other youth in developing countries. The Be Brave campaign for the 2018–2019 academic year raises funds that will support Zambian youth councils, whose members will, among other things, disseminate information about the rights of young people through street theatre and work against discrimination in Zambia, in southern Africa.
By way of example, Erika encourages young Finns to make the most out of the possibility to be an apprentice for a day on their Taksvärkki Day. “My own experience has shown that you never know what can happen, who you will meet, what door you might open, and what incredible opportunities might be behind that door,” she says noting how the day became a turning point in her young life. “One event can cause a big snowball effect. Taksvärkki’s system offers you that snowball – it’s up to you to get it rolling.”
Text: Camilla Bergman
Translation: Heather Ross-Sirola
Photos: Alex Kleis