Zumba Workshop

by Jayanthi Ketti Mani

Zumba is a fitness program inspired by Latin dance. It involves dance and aerobic movements performed to energetic music.
Could recollect a quote,
‘Spirit is a child, the tune of dancing feet its lullaby’

Today attended one of IWF event – Zumba workshop with zeal and came out with enthusiasm. Thanks IWF team for fitness and friendship platform. Kudos to Ramya for her spirits and phenomenal execution of ideasđŸ‘đŸ»

My idea to attend workshop was to give a try into the fast paced workout Zumba to understand the difference it leaves on my body to compare with the effect of Yoga which enriches me for ages but my experience today is beyond fitness. Met some of old acquaintances as well made new friends , had jubilant time , hall was pouring with energy, smiles / giggles . Trainer Rumpa gave us adrenaline push , made it easier for beginners too , no strain at all. Not only shaking legs , each part of the body had its good share . Motivating instructor made the ambience cool with Bollywood songs . I loved the cool down session than warm up session where had to blow the balloon, as a mother of a toddler yet I didn’t know to blow balloon, today had food for thought too – had to learn a lot đŸ€©as well had food for stomach -candies( sweet thoughts of Swathipriya). Thanks to Intia keskus for the travel vouchers, Rumpa & Royal Bollywood Ry for the balloons and lollipops. We were all in set for Valentine’s day/ Friendship day mood already.  In a nutshell it was an invigorating session and above all had fun.

Events 2018

Yin Yoga & Heartfulness Meditation

By Anusha Narayan

Logging on to Facebook on one sleepless night, I saw the invite from IWF for Yin Yoga and Meditation.

Yin yoga sounded interesting. Wondering if it was the other half of yang, I hopped on to Google to learn more. Unlike the fast-paced Ashtanga or sweaty Bikram yoga, it was encouraging to learn that this was a more slow-paced technique that emphasized on the duration of the pose. There was a wholesome session of meditation following that.

Perfect. I could finally ease into my big fitness goals for the year slowly, one yoga pose at a time.

If you are a part of IWF, you would be familiar with the exceptional event organizational skills the ladies in charge posses. There are always reminders nearing the event with clear instructions included. They think through everything that could possibly make the experiences as wonderful and smooth as possible. This was exactly how the yoga and mediation session was organized.

The event day arrived, and the weather remained undecided about going for the snow or the rain, basically typical Finnish winter. Irrespective of the freezing snow/rain, I saw many ladies, yoga mat tucked under their arms, hood on their head and friendly smiles on their faces, hurriedly heading towards the venue. We finally made it indoors and there we were a bunch of happy faces, bantering away with friends. More trickled in and we were indoors to begin the Yin Yoga session.

With absolutely zero anticipation of what to expect, I went in hoping at least to touch my knees, if not my toes given my legendary flexibility these days. What followed in the next 45 mins was something totally refreshing, wonderful and hilarious in parts.

Our lovely instructor Nina Merikallio, put our flexibility to test, gently coaxed us to stretch more and more with each pose. She made us twist our legs, touch our toes, squat like frogs among a few other poses. We laughed, we asked questions and unleashed the inner yogi within us, with each pose. We also said a lot of ‘ouch, ouch’ in between. By the time we got back on to our feet after Shavasana, I noticed the energy levels rise up in the room.

Yin yoga is perfect for inducing bursts of energy with its slow-paced yet challenging poses. The focus on feeling your muscles stretch is rejuvenating and has a calming effect overall. It seemed like meditation in motion, with the emphasis on being in the present with each pose.

Having thoroughly enjoyed this session, we turned back to see the stage set for our meditation practice. The chairs looked cozy with throws and pillows on them. We tucked ourselves comfortably, ready to start meditating.

Sonu Manglani, our instructor for meditation, started the session by introducing us to the RajaYoga. We listened with rapt attention while Sonu detailed all the benefits and her experiences with mediation, in her calm and soothing voice. One of the points that stood out personally for me, was to approach meditation as ‘gift to oneself that invokes joy’ rather than scrambling to do it daily, diligently as a part of the to-do list (totally guilty of this). We were ready to begin our session by now and Sonu started the guided ‘relaxation’ process wherein we focused on our breathing and on clearing out our mind.

We found ourselves to be more alert and cheerful at the end of the session. The journey inward requires regular practice and discipline. Sonu reiterated this point and gave us a glimpse of how wonderful a meditation session can be for both body and mind.

On this note, we wrapped up yet another thoughtful and excellent event organized by IWF.

For more meditation and yoga session info, contact



IWF’s Year End Party: Secret Santa & New Year 2017

Written by Bhawna Mishra

With the year ending soon, the IWF flock celebrated a Pre-Christmas and New Year Party on December 2, 2017, at the Espoo International School. 140 people registered for the party, out of which 90 participants (IWF members) played the Secret Santa game. We started playing the Secret Santa game from the month of November. Everyone was assigned to a Secret friend to whom they will be the Secret Santa until it was to disclose at the party. The Secret Santa was then asked to give as many as dares they like to their secret friend. The friend will then do the dares and post it to the group.

IWF members

For all of us, it was not just a game, it was that feeling which created an exciting atmosphere for all where we would, first thing in the morning, check Facebook and see so many dares each time. Those dares were not just for the Secret Santa, but gave us all, the chance to explore our interests and passion. We all were encouraged and did our dares, and it eventually resulted in discovering many hidden talents. Through the dares, everyone explored their creative side with crafts, food, dancing, mimicking a movie scene, singing, dubsmash, dressing-up, and many more.

Secret Santas with their Secret Friends

And, finally, the evening came where everyone’s Secret Santa was to be revealed. The moment we entered the party, all we could hear was “are you my Secret Santa, because I am getting those vibes from you”. Everyone was so curious to find out about their Santa that they were roaming with speculations all over the place until the Santa was revealed. All the girls bought gifts for their secret friend, a small token of love for completing the dares.

Picture1 SS
Nice & Naughty pairs and IWF Hosts with Nice & Naughty challenge winner

The girls were not only given the dares by their Secret Santa, other challenges like, Partner-challenge, Nice & Naughty pair challenge, Call a person and talk to them, Making heart shaped chapatis, Tie a tie and mention the time, Remove your sock from your teeth, Try husbands clothes and post pictures, Zumba dance challenge, etcetera were also given by the organizers.

Apart from exchanging the gifts with Secret Santa, the girls were also awarded for other dares and titles. Like the first one to perform the dare, ‘The Early Bird’ award was given to Smitha Aiengar, ‘Partner Challenge for calling a person and introduce yourself’ award Lavanya Alamuri & Sirisha Ravikiran, ‘Partner challenge for exchanging gifts’ award to Pallavi Sayee & Deepika Manocha, ‘Partner challenge – Interview’ award to Ramani Karthik & Indukuri Vishnu Kranthi, ‘Most supportive Secret Friend’ award to Soumya Velpula, ‘Nice & Naughty Pair’ award to Seema Jeeva & Gowthami Sathyaprakash, ‘Zumba Enthusiasts’ award to Ratna, ‘Best of the Best’ award to Shalini Chandrasekhar, ‘New Bestie’ award to Anitha Vasanth, ‘Best Dare Giver’ award to Hema, ‘Most Hilarious Dare’ award to Swathi Priya, ‘Most Creative Dare’ award to Bhawna Mishra, ‘Guess the registered people for SS’ award to Deepika Rane, and ‘Active Participant’ award to Harika Sarath & Harika Rakesh. 

Since it was a year-end party, we wanted to thank all for making the whole year successful and exciting. The Volleyball team was appreciated with several awards like the ‘Best Mentor’ award was given to Shalini Chandrasekar, ‘Blooming Star’ award to Radhika Raju, ‘Extra Mile’ award to Pooja Jha, ‘Cool player’ award to Ratna, ‘Team Player’ award to Mahima Gogia Bhaumik, ‘Best in Shape’ award to Gayathri Ramachandran, ‘Noisy Horn’ award to Sananda Das Ghosh, ‘Lovable Idiot’ award to Vasupradha Muthuraman, ‘Last Minute Surprise’ award to Mini Sharma, ‘Silent Killer’ award to Archana Krishnamoorthy, ‘Best in Time’ award to Shalini Prathiban and ‘Players Choice’ award to Indukuri Vishnu Kranthi. 

Kids at the Craft workshop and Snowman toss game 


This time the fun doubled for all of us, as we joined the party with our whole family. Several games were organized for kids and adults. The party started with the Snowman toss game for kids, where kids of all ages participated. Craft corner was also set-up where the IWF member Smitha, conducted a Christmas theme crafts workshop. Another game for the kids was the passing the ball game. For couples and all adults, tie a tie for husbands, Salsa dance and Music game was organized.

IWF’s team at the Kitchen station while preparing some Indian delicacies 

The IWF team everytime comes up with something new every time. This time the girls thought of having a live kitchen at the party. The idea was to serve everyone with fresh home cooked food. So the team decided to take 100 pre-orders so that the food will not go waste and they will have an idea as to how much more might turn up at the event. Food team started preparing it way in advance, they had planned to make all the dishes at the venue so that the participants can enjoy hot and fresh home cooked food.

IWF members managing the food stalls 

And the idea turned out to be a successful one! Of course, we all make food at home, but here in Finland where you do not get enough Indian food in restaurants, this was a great chance. The menu of the party was vast and it covered almost all the famous dishes of India. Delicacies from the Northern part of India to the Southern and Eastern to the Western part were on the menu. The food was incredibly delicious and everyone fell in love with it immediately!

All the events we have had throughout weren’t possible without the support of our friends and sponsors. We sincerely would like to thank all our supporters – Kairali, Tony’s corner, Saffron, FinBolly Movies, Fin Tamil Movies, Maicha Ja Boucha, Raj Films, Delishus Oy, Monika Naisten Liitto Ry & Suomi Intia Seura Ry.

IWF started playing the Secret Santa game since 2016 and it has been an extremely exciting game for everyone since then. With the year coming to an end we all gathered and enjoyed the evening with our lovely friends and family. Many of us made new friends, met with their families, laughed and giggled with them. The organizers and the whole team once again taught us that even the ending can be as beautiful as one can imagine and can be a gateway to a splendid beginning!


‘JNANA’ – The Education Seminar – By Indian Women in Finland & Espoo International School

Written by Bhawna Mishra 

Indian Women in Finland along with Espoo International School recently organized an Education seminar – ‘Jnana’ on 4th November 2017. The main agenda of the event was to provide everyone with the latest information about Finnish education system, the choices kids have in terms of daycares and schools, curriculums and admission process. Many spokespersons from the education industry along with Member of Parliament and Ambassadors shared their valuables knowledge and experiences with the participants during the seminar.

The word Jnana reflects knowledge, and with knowledge comes wisdom in one’s life. Knowledge nurtures a child from the very beginning and it is our duty to provide them with the right choice at the right time. The main objective of the event was to create a platform for everyone, where, they can exchange their know-how about the daycares and schooling system.

Over the period of time, the immigrant population has increased in and around Espoo and Helsinki area. However, the participants were not only immigrants but locals as well. One of the parents Kristina Mirtti said, ‘Thank you for such a worthwhile event, especially all your hard work and the speakers donating their valuable time. Hope it will happen again!’

IWF team with the speakers

Speakers and other Dignities

The event started with Ms. Maria Guzenina, Member of Parliament (Electoral District of Uusimaa) addressing the audience. She shared her gratitude by saying “I was so happy to see the IWF team members when they were in my office with the invitation. And, I couldn’t say no to such lovely ladies, Ramya, Suma and Swathi”. She later said that in earlier days Finns rarely traveled abroad; neither there were many immigrants in Finland. Sharing her own experience she said, when they moved to Finland, they were only two English speaking Kindergartens, which has only increased since then. Ms. Guzenina further said she welcomes all the suggestions from the audience and would surely work towards making Finland and Espoo a great place in future for everyone. H.E. Dato’ Blanche Olbery, Ambassador of Malaysia to the Republic of Finland said IWF have been very active throughout and have been doing several things for the community. She further took us through the Malaysian education system and praised Finland’s education system by saying education has a character in Finland.

Eija Rolamo, Founder & Owner Albatross Daycare Oy presented the history of their institute and spoke about their daycare along with Brian Crosby, General Manager at Albatross. Founded in 1998, Albatross is an English speaking international daycare that believes in a child-centered approach. Cornelia Tuoriniemi, Manager Garden City Playschool Westend expressed her thoughts and said it is wonderful to see the changes that are going on in the education system and I look forward to working more on that. Garden city playschool is a Finnish early childhood Education Institute with a total of 71 daycare centers around Finland. Suzanne Perkowsky, CEO Small Folks Daycare Oy, said she was one of the only Indian women in Finland when they moved here and  started two English speaking daycares in Finland. Small Folks is an English-language, international daycare for 0-6-year-old children, currently present in Otanieme and Keilaranta. They have plans to have more daycares in Helsinki and Tapiola area. Perkowsky also shared the news about their future plans to open a new school – International School of Finland, which will offer Finnish curriculum taught in English.

Jenni Vartiainen, Founder & Head of pedagogics at Hoksaus Science & Postdoctoral researcher at the University of Helsinki said science is a wonderful way for critical thinking. She is currently doing her research and finding out the new ways to introduce science to small children. She further said questing is very important as it’s the core of lifelong learning. Penelope Roux, Language trainer, examiner and translator, Vice-chair of the Finnish British Society spoke about the FINNBRIT community which was founded in 1926. She is also an IELTS & Cambridge Suite examiner and teaches English as a second language. IELTS is the highest English level test for study, immigration or work. Roux also teaches English for general or business use combined with a customized one-to-one personal training for IELTS exam preparations, pronunciation & voice, presentation skills, conversation and academic writing.

Anne-Marie Rapo, Principal of Espoo International School spoke about the education model they follow. EIS broadly offers English education to Non-Finnish as well as Finnish speakers and have both English and bi-lingual school education in Helsinki, Vantaa and Espoo. Anne Marie further said they have plans to increase the number of English seats in Helsinki in the basic education. Elina Wanne, Member of Espoo Committee of education and early childhood education, said over the next four years more services will be available for the international community in English and Espoo will be the most international city for everyone. Wanne is the Second deputy member of Espoo city council (NCP) and also the Member of EIS school board. She said they have few preliminary plans for EIS that falls in 2018 like, an exam for evaluating their linguistic proficiency either in Finnish/ English depending on the guardian’s choice. She further added by saying that if a student is moving from Espoo in the middle of the year she is allowed to complete the year in EIS.

Apart from the above speakers, we were also accompanied by three Indian native language teachers. Tanu, a Punjabi teacher, conducts private lessons under Punjab Cultural Society of Finland, Vantaa. She said her students are not only Indians but she also teaches Punjabi to few Finns as well. Saloni, a Hindi language teacher, says there is no particularly planned curriculum that she follows as each student have different competency level. She further said they have classes once a week for one and a half hour, so she tries to make it more fun place to come for, as the lessons are conducted after school. Pankaj, another Hindi language teacher shared her experience about teaching Hindi to small kids. She said it is very crucial to attend every kid on a one-on-one basis and mentioned that we should move away from the subject based education to more of a practical approach while teaching.

Audience interaction

A Q&A session was also arranged that  followed after the hi-tea break, where the audience could get answers to their queries. A questionnaire was given to them while registration and they were asked to note down questions they have for the specific speakers. They were then asked to handover the questionnaire to the IWF team. Due to the time crunch, the team couldn’t put forth all the questions, however after much considerations picked some which would cover many aspects of a particular subject.

Speakers while the Q&A session

After the Q&A session, the audiences were given a chance for open-ended questions. Most of the questions were regarding the admission procedure, entrance tests, which school to choose from, etcetera. One of the most important thing that we got to know is that one doesn’t need to prepare his kid for tests or interviews. Things that are asked are very basic questions and the examiner/ teacher just needs to know if they are ready to start the school. The child should not feel uncomfortable or nervous while talking to an unknown person at the day-care. In fact in future some schools will have no entrance tests as you cannot know about the child’s ability in one day.

The IWF team work

The team started planning the event from months in advance. And soon, things like why we want to do such kind of event, venue selection, collaborations, getting speakers onboard, collaborating volunteers all started rolling in. We started talking to the prospective speakers from the various schools and daycares who could share their experiences about the Finnish education sector. Finding venue was the next job to figure out, however with the support of EIS we could rent the space easily and smoothly.

WhatsApp Image 2017-10-31 at 9.12.24 PM
Personalized IWF notepads

Being an NGO, it has always been a challenge to organize everything in a budget crunch. However, each time the team tries to do something new. So this time we made our own personalized notepads with IWF logo for the event. At first, it looked very difficult, but with the right spirit and motivation we managed and finished everything before the event. In total, we made 100 notepads for the event.

Like every other event in the past, the IWF team very well managed the whole seminar and received appreciation from all the participants as well as the speakers and other dignities.