The opening of the ‘Me-talo’ house at the Espoo Centre on 20 September 2017 drew an audience of some 200 city residents, representatives of associations and city employees.
In his speech, Mayor Jukka Mäkelä praised the opening of the Me-talo. “Our co-operation with the Nicehearts and We Foundation works like a charm. This is a good service we provide here, best acknowledged by the fact that people actually use the services. I am excited to have a Me-talo of our own opened today here in Espoo,” said Mäkelä. He went on saying that Espoo’s main strength lies in its people. Mäkelä wished for a long and prosperous cooperation with the Me-talo.
The aim of the Me-talo is to reduce inequality between residential areas and to improve the well-being of people. Each house is designed to meet the wishes and needs of local residents. The planning for Espoo’s Me-talo started a year ago. “Aimed at all Espoo citizens, the Me-talo provides free-of-charge activities and support on a voluntary basis. In Espoo, we got a beautiful old building to operate in. The facilities are great for our activities,” said Ulla Nord, CEO of We Foundation.
The vision of the We Foundation is to eradicate social exclusion among children and young people in Finland by the year 2050. This is to be achieved through education and by adopting new ways to support employment, provide mental health services and find at least one hobby for everyone. The We Foundation aims to open 50 Me-talo houses within the next 15 years.
The activities at Espoo’s Me-talo will be coordinated by the Nicehearts association. Founded in 2001, Nicehearts ry provides activities for girls, women and those identifying themselves as female, with the aim of helping them to find their rightful place as full and equal members of the society. “Me-talo is not only for women, it is a house for everyone. At Me-talo, each visitor is treated as an individual, and our goal is that everyone can find something meaningful to do at the house. At the moment, our offering includes an open café, various group activities, hobby groups and events, for example. The quickest way to find out more about the house’s monthly programme is to visit Me-talo’s Facebook and Instagram pages,” says Nicehearts’ executive director Johanna Sjöholm.
Young musicians, such as the promising Espoo rapper Andrei Makaroff and urban pop artist Miro Miikael, performed at the opening, and the guests were also entertained by a performance from the Espoo Dance Institute’s students.
Pictures from the opening