Extensive updates to Kela’s website for customers speaking North Sámi
Kela will celebrate Sámi Language Week (21 October–27 October 2019) by launching an extensively updated website for North Sámi speaking customers. The website now will offer more information about the social benefits available from Kela and about the services that Kela provides in the Sámi language. The websites in Inari Sámi and Skolt Sámi will be updated next.
The content on the Sámi-language website comes from Kela’s benefit information leaflets which have been edited for online use. The website is divided into eight topic areas: residence; pensions; families with children; moving to or from Finland; studying and performing conscript service; illness, incapacity and rehabilitation; social assistance; and unemployment. There are also details on the customer service available from Kela in Sámi and advice on how to claim benefits and how they are paid. A selection of Kela’s information notices on current topics will also be made available on the site.
The discoverability of the Sámi-language website has been improved by adding the Sámi language to the language menu on the kela.fi website. The websites in Inari Sámi and Skolt Sámi will be updated next. An extensively updated website in Inari Sámi will be launched at the turn of the year. A Skolt Sámi version will follow early in 2020.
Kela is this year also releasing benefit information leaflets in North and Inari Sámi in the form of printable PDF files available online. To date, half of the leaflets in Skolt Sámi have been released. The rest will be released as soon as they have been translated. The most popular claim forms are already now available in North Sámi and will soon be released in Inari and Skolt Sámi.
Sámi Language Week and Kela
The year 2019 has been declared the International Year of Indigenous Languages by the United Nations. The purpose is to highlight the status of indigenous languages and to raise awareness of the languages and the threats facing them as well as to develop and standardise language use.
The Finnish Sámi Parliament has invited Kela along with other organisations to participate in the Nordic Sámi Language Week from 21 October 2019 to 27 October 2019. Along with the kanta.fi and hoitopaikanvalinta.fi websites, Kela will celebrate the week by producing Sámi-language content for various communication forums. Over the course of the week, there will be a number of individual events focusing on the Sámi language and highlighting Sámi-speaking Kela staff members.
Development of Sámi-language services continues
Kela will continue to develop Sámi-language services, materials and communications based on a recognition of the right of the Sámi people to use their own language and the particular needs they have. Along with the Sámi-language services and communications, Kela will carry out terminological work in Sámi together with language experts.
Pipsa Lotta Marjamäki, director of communications at Kela, is happy with Kela’s first efforts in Sámi-language communications. She says that Kela has taken systematic steps to improve Sámi-language communications across various channels. “We're fortunate to have staff who are proficient in these languages, along with others”, Marjamäki says.
Under the Sámi Language Act, Sámi speakers have the right to conduct their business in Sámi. Kela has signed a cooperation agreement with the Finnish Sámi Parliament aiming at the further development of the Sámi-language services.