Otsola in English
Founded after the war in 1945, Otsola belongs to the second wave of Finnish settlements. Otsola operates in the cities of Pori, Luvia and Nakkila, and its activities now include
- adult education centre
- child and youth work
- culture activities
- outdoor advertising
Otsola’s beautiful, convenient main building is situated in the center of Pori. The activities of the adult education centre cover the whole territory of Pori and its surroundings. The program of the adult education center – which consists of hundreds of groups, courses and lectures – is published twice a year and distributed to every household in the area. Every year thousands of people participate in the activities offered by Otsola.
Otsola finances its operations by subsidies from the state and the municipalities of Pori, Luvia and Nakkila, together with income from outdoor advertising and very reasonable student fees.
Settlement movement in Finland
Otsola Settlement is part of the Finnish network of settlements, which extends from Helsinki to Lapland. The umbrella organization of this network is the Finnish Federation of Settlements, which is a member of the IFS, the International Federation of Settlements and Neighbourhood Houses. There are over 30 local settlements in Finland, and approximately the same number of associated youth organizations comprising the Finnish Federation of Settlement Youth Associations.
In Finland the Settlement movement started in 1918, soon after Finland had gained independence. At the beginning some members of the clergy, among them Sigfrid Sirenius, minister and the founder of the Finnish Settlement movement, played a prominent role. One of the main objectives of the Settlement movement was to promote the values of the Lutheran Church among those members of society whose attitude towards the church as an institution was not a positive one. From the beginning, however, the emphasis was on practical work for the community rather than preaching. The aim of Settlement work was, above all, to bring together people from different social backgrounds and to promote the ideal of the spiritually, socially and physically whole person. The first activities included child and youth work, education and provision for those most in need.
Today, the activities of the Finnish Settlements are not religiously oriented to any great extent. Instead, they recognize Christian humanistic values as the underpinnings of their work for the good of their communities. Settlements are active across the full range of services: 17 adult education centres, 2 folk high schools, youth work, shelters for the young, 10 day-care centres, club activities for various age groups, about 20 service centres for the elderly and the disabled, 7 treatment centres for intoxicant abusers, mediation, counselling and helplines for victims of crime, about 20 centres of voluntary work, dozens of projects funded by the EU and the Finnish Slot Machine Association, etc.
Text: Alexander Bruk.