Creating spaces in education for all to thrive

Salaado Qasim, co-founder of RAHY, received Ashoka Nordic’s Changemaker of the Year award 2022


Born and raised in Finland, Salaado Qasim repeatedly faced discrimination from teachers who misjudged her abilities and knowledge. Undeterred, Salaado went after her goals. And she wanted to ensure others could do the same by accessing the power and opportunity that come with education.

As Co-Founder of Rauhan Ja Hyvinvoinnin Järjestö (RAHY), which in English means Peace and Well-being Organization, Salaado Qasim aims to primarily support those most affected by the education equity gap — non-white young women — to thrive in higher education and their future careers.

Recipient of Ashoka Nordic’s Changemaker of the Year award 2022, Salaado collaborates with women’s and youth organizations, encouraging equity by creating spaces for all people. RAHY works especially with those who feel they do not belong in society and cannot find their place. Salaado emphasizes that each person must be seen as an individual — not just a representative of their community.

It is important for every young person to be able to become an active citizen, because everyone’s opinion and perspectives are important. Young people should be involved in decision-making, as their voice is as valuable as any other group.

Salaado Qasim


“There is still a long way to go in achieving equal and diverse education and working life,” she says. “In the next three years, I want to make an impact on the equality of educational institutions and help young people in pursuing their dreams by providing them with clear information on educational and career opportunities.”

She notes that other university students have provided instrumental support as they have worked together to promote equality.

RAHY was founded in 2019 by university students with a strong background in youth and women’s conditions. This active organization aims to improve the living conditions of women and young people by providing opportunities in Finland and Europe, and to combat institutional racism in educational institutions.

“Our aim is to assist young people and women to pursue their dreams by providing them with clear information on educational and career opportunities. We try to create safe space for all people and particularly for those with fewer opportunities.”

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About Ashoka Nordic’s Changemaker of the Year award 2022:

The jury members of this award included Ulla Nord, managing director at Arvoliitto, Matti Jänkälä, founding member of You Tell Me Collective, Kamilla Sultanova, TEDx speaker, diversity and inclusion expert Arto Sivonen, Founder of creative agency Måndag.

Connecting with experienced mentors from Ashoka’s network, the RAHY peer-support team will be explore different options to expand opportunities for those who feel they cannot find their place in society.Read about Viral Vegans, our other 2022 Award recipient, here.

*Photo courtesy of RAHY.