COMMENCING a handful of days before this issue of SixDegrees in your hands hit stands around the country, Helsinki Pride is being staged in the capital from 25 June-1 July. The biggest GLBT event in the country, the annual happening boasts over 19,000 visitors. Consisting of an impressive array of parties, meetings and discussions, the theme of this year’s festival is that of space, and embracing diversity throughout the various subcultures under the rainbow flag.

Boasting around 100 events, including theatre plays, choir performances, sports events, exhibitions, walking tours, picnics, workshops and open houses, the annual Espoo Day is being celebrated this year on Saturday 25 August.

Taking place across a number of different locations, the programme will also be staged at Nuuksio National Park due to 2012 being Espoo’s Nature Year and in light of the forthcoming opening of Finnish Nature Centre Haltia during spring 2013.

For the majority of young people in Finland, there is one place that comes to mind when I say I come from Bulgaria: Sunny Beach. However I can argue that there are places more worthy of attention in my home country. Let me tell you about my city, Burgas.

In Russia, nearly 300,000 young children live in state-owned orphanages and hospitals. These orphans and social orphans live in very poor conditions, lacking even the most basic needs of growing children.

In 2007, Moscow-born Anastasia Sharko wanted to donate toys and clothes to the children from her home in Helsinki. Sharko quickly realised that there were no organisations that offered aid to these children, so she decided to create one herself.

“The children need concrete things like medicine, diapers, clothes and toys,” says Sharko, founder of the Abandoned Children Association, which offers aid to children living in hospitals and orphanages in our neighbouring countries Russia and Estonia.

How many still remembers the internet addiction test? I do: it was the cause of some mild amusement among us primary school pupils of the 1990s enjoying the entertainment of the retrospectively under-developed internet, supposedly with alarming enthusiasm. The fact that the test is reminiscent of the dial-up modem days highlights the pace and resolution internet has penetrated our societies; attitudes, meanwhile, trail.

Today, the online presence of both people and institutions is pretty much a prerequisite. We watch films online, listen to music, play games, shop and socialise; Skype, read news, google, send e-mails and instant messages; pay bills, submit insurance claims, renew library loans, enrol to universities; study, work and make dinner reservations; and everything in between.