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Hakunen Family Centre: Opening its doors to immigrants – integration is all about meeting others

Vantaa

Detailed description of the Good Practice

Finland has not been a traditional destination for immigrants from the South. But the town of Vantaa, near Helsinki, has tackled the challenge posed by the integration of foreigners head on: With the support of the European URBAN II programme, it has created a Family Centre for immigrants. This centre offers families various activities to introduce them to the society, which they have joined without any knowledge of its customs, codes or even language.
Finding out about the host society is above all about meeting its members. The initial idea for the project was to have a place, a shared hall where immigrant families could receive practical support long before difficulties began to build up,
particularly with regard to their children’s education. These difficulties were primarily due to unemployment but also isolation, particularly of women. But in fact, the approach works both ways, Finnish people also have a lot to learn
about these foreigners alongside whom they are living but never meet.
In 2005, some 1 050 immigrants and 1 200 people of Finnish origin took part in activities at the Hakunen Centre. Established in 2004, initially for two years, the project continued in 2007 due to its success which can be highlighted by
the variety of activities on offer: physical education, ‘family café’, a youth club, Finnish language classes, conferences, etc. The Centre also plays an important role by providing psychological assistance. Lastly, it keeps parents informed about the services available to them, from the nursery to the library, to play areas for children.

social equality

Objectives of the Good Practice

to created a Family Centre for immigrants to introduce them to the society, which they have joined without any knowledge of its customs, codes or even language.

Participants of the Good Practice

Local authorities

Target group of the Good Practice

immigrants

Funding of the Good Practice

European Commission

More Details of the Good Practice

Documentation and documents

Available files

Data sources and references

Promoting Sustainable Urban Development in Europe
Achievements and Opportunities