TEKO - Enhanced integration in Hervanta 

TEKO - Enhanced integration -project is a three year pilot project that will take place in Hervanta, one of the biggest suburbs in Finland. The project is being financed by the European Social Fund and is implemented by the Evangelical Lutheran Parishes in Tampere. Other co-operation partners include the City of Tampere, University of Tampere as well as Tampere University of Applied Sciences.

The main purpose of TEKO -project is to create a community pop up center in Hervanta.  This center,  Kototori, will form a basis for the future regional well-being center in the area, similar to those already in place in Lielahti and Linnainmaa. 

The main, or direct, target group of the project is immigrants who are in the early stages of integration into the Finnish society. This includes asylum seekers who have recently got their residence permits, refugees who have recently moved into the country and those immigrants who for one reason or another are unemployed and find it challenging to integrate into the society. Meanwhile, the indirect target group is all the residents of Hervanta, irrespective of their cultural and social background.

Objectives of the TEKO-project

The first objective of TEKO is to create a multidisciplinary operations model for enhanced integration. The operation principle is based on the strategy and service model of the city of Tampere, the essence of which is joint, equal participation for all citizens. The close knit interaction and dialogue between Hervanta residents play an important role in this. The community motivates its residents to do things for themselves, which empowers the participants and increases their value of self worth. 

The second objective is to support the target group's ability to manage their own lives. This can be done by developing low threshold counselling services. 'New arrivals' can come to Kototori and receive personal assistance and guidance without prior appointment and in their own language. The project reaches out to the 'New arrivals' instead of them having to look for the services themselves. The operations model goes beyond sectoral and organizational lines. The community consists not only of the project workers and their clients, but all the residents in the area, students, volunteers, parishioners, as well as activists of different NGO's.

The third objective is to enhance multifaceted integration in Hervanta. Integration is seen as a many fold process, whereby the 'New arrivals' integrate into Finnish society, but Finnish people also grow more tolerant to immigrants. This is especially important in Hervanta, where around 20% of the residents are immigrants. 

The fourth, and final objective is to develop cross sectoral co-operation. The project becomes a communal learning process, whereby the participating professionals reassess and update their working methods to better suit today's needs.

How does the project aim to reach these objectives? 

1. By supporting target group's ability to manage their own lives and provide them with low threshold counseling services. For example, group briefings about housing, education, health services, habitation etc. can be organized at Kototori. 'New arrivals' get a clearer picture of how the Finnish system works and they are directed to the right place to seek further assistance.

2. By training people with immigrant background to become experts by experience. People who take part in the training become empowered by the simple recognition that their background makes them experts and important sources of information.

3. By recruiting residents to do volunteer work in Hervanta.  Volunteers can, for instance, teach Finnish to 'New arrivals' or organize group activities in the field of sport or art. It is important to note that 'New arrivals' are not mere objects of volunteer work, but can themselves work as volunteers, and that way improve their own employment prospects.

4. By developing the model for community social work. Professionals have vocational training at Praxis-workshops, where they work side by side with their peers and experts by experience.  Data is being collected and researched in order to further develop the model.

5. By organizing discussion groups and community training. Discussion groups are, for instance, a way to promote interfaith dialogue, which contributes to mutual understanding and peaceful coexistence of people.

Kototori - a meeting place in Hervanta

Do you need counselling or advise on how to find services? Are you looking for something to do on your spare time? Do you want to share your expertise to the community's benefit? Or do you just want to meet new people and hang out?
If you answered YES to any of the above mentioned questions, then Kototori is the place you should go to! Kototori is a multicultural, interfaith meeting place in Hervanta. It is centrally located at the Hervanta Leisure Center's cafeteria, on 2nd floor. Address is Lindforsinkatu 5. 

Immigrants' Social Services are available at Kototori on Tuesdays and Fridays from 9 am to 3 pm.  Along with Finnish and English, service is also provided in Somali and Dari (Tuesday) and Arabic (Friday). No prior appointment is needed, you can just walk in. 

Hervanta Together -open cafe welcomes you on Wednesdays at 12-16. Complimentary coffee and tea is available. No registration is needed.  

For updates and latest news, see our Facebook page: TEKO-hanke

Volunteer work 

TEKO-project is constantly looking for new volunteers to take part in its activities (language groups, sport activities, community cafe, art classes etc.) You don't need previous experience, only enthusiasm and a positive attitude. We strongly encourage people to share their own ideas about volunteer work and how it could be organized in Hervanta. Everyone can help according to one's own abilities. Our motto is: Help where you can and when you can! 

For more information about volunteer work in TEKO, please contact Mr. Aku Hakulinen (aku.hakulinen@evl.fi

All TEKO project members can be contacted either by phone or email.  Please see "yhteystiedot" for further details.