Human rights and disability activist and musician from Finland
Sami Helle is a human rights and disability activist from Helsinki, Finland. Also a musician, Sami plays bass in a punk band named Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät (Peri Kurikkas’s name day). The band has toured extensively around the globe and have published almost twenty recordings for various record labels. In 2015 the band represented Finland in The Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna, Austria.
Sami is the founder of the Me Itse ry - We for ourselves association, which is a non-profit self-advocacy group with over a thousand members with learning disabilities. The group is active in local and national level politics and organises activities and training around Finland.
Sami’s ongoing work is supported by a non-profit organisation called Lyhty, and Sami is active in Lyhty’s Valo Culture Workshop. In the aforementioned workshop, Sami has founded the first internet radio station in Finland with journalists with learning disabilities, entitled Radio Valo. Currently, Radio Valo’s network composes almost 30 Finnish and five international partners, from countries such as the UK, Norway, Malta, Tanzania and Taiwan. Sami has personally travelled to support Radio Valo’s activities both in Malta and Tanzania.
Sami has also helped establish Syn Erga ry - Doing together, a horizontal organisation to bring together activists and organisations interested in developing society in unison. The organisation continues Sami’s Citizen’s Initiative, which deals with the issue of the discriminative nature of public procurement in services for people with learning disabilities. The initiative gathered over 5000 supporters in 2014. Sami gave a speech in European Parliament in 2013 about the problems of public procurement in Finland during the campaign.
Sami is active in the Centre Party locally in Helsinki and nationally. He will be running for the City Council of Helsinki in 2017. Sami is a person with learning disabilities with numerous abilities.