The Big Sibling activity, The Girls’ Cabin and The Boys’ Activities of Ahjola
”Be yourself, otherwise there will be no one like you”
The Big Sibling activity (Isosisarustoiminta), The Girls’ Cabin (Tyttöjen Tupa) and The Boys’ Activities of Ahjola (Ahjolan Poikatyö) are a part of the youth work of the Ahjola Settlement. It started as the Big Sister Project (Isosisko-projekti) in 1998 being one of the oldest forms of gender sensitive youth work in Finland. The main goal of our work is to improve the daily lives of girls, boys and non-binary youth aged from 6 to 16 years, attending school in the area of Tampere.
The Big Sibling activity provides a Big Sibling, a Big Sister or a Big Brother, for all the children and youth who participate in this activity. The Big Siblings work as volunteers and their main task is to be a trustworthy friend and listener in the everyday lives of their own Little Siblings, supporting their healthy growth.
The Girls’ Cabin for girls was founded 2001, when the Big and Little Siblings needed a place to meet each other in their free time. Nowadays the Girls’ Cabin is a vivid social activity space, where everyone is welcomed as they are and everyone gets to choose what they want to do. Activities (eg. groups) for non-binary children and youth started at the Girls’ Cabin in 2016.
The Boys’ activities of Ahjola were founded in spring 2018. The activities started in summer 2018 and will continue in fall 2018 in varying locations. The Boys’ Activities comprise of different groups and activity days. The Girls Cabin and the Boys’ Activities organize also educative groups in Tampere schools. These groups are teaching social and emotional skills and are offering ways to build a healthy self esteem. In 2018 – 2019 there will be over 20 groups in different schools around Tampere.
The Big Sibling Project, The Girls’ Cabin and The Boys’ Activites of Ahjola together form our basic working methods for supporting children and youth. These activities are based on the principles of gender and culturally sensitive youth work, as well as the notion of sociocultural animation. We want to work towards equality and to encourage participation in everything we do – together.
The Big Sibling Activity
A Little Sibling
- is a girl, boy or non-binary child or young person aged from 6 to 16 years attending school in the city of Tampere
- the girls are called Little Sisters, the boys Little Brothers and the non-binary children and youth choose their name according to their identity
A Big Sibling
- is a woman, man or non-binary person over 18 years old
- is motivated to work as a volunteer for one year as a Big Sister or a Big Brother
- has a positive attitude towards life
- is a good example for the Little Sibling
- has completed the Big Sibling course
About the activities
- The Big Siblings (Big Sisters and Big Brothers) meet their Little Siblings (Little Sisters and Little Brothers) 1 to 4 times a month – according to their mutual agreement.
- The Big Sibling and Little Sibling, together with his/ her/ their parents, plan the content of the mutual activities such as playing, baking, doing crafts or going outdoors, swimming, to a movie, cafe or a museum, etc.
- We arrange common activities for all Sibling pairs around the year, eg. trips, events, and camps etc. There are eg. social activities for Sibling pairs, where they can meet other pairs (Siblings’ Days i.e. Sisaruspäivät). Some of the Siblings’ Days are trips to other locations that the Girls’ Cabin. Some Siblings’ Days are arranged at the Girls’ Cabin and every Sibling pair is welcome.
- We offer our volunteers personalized counseling and support, additional further education, peer support, and recreational activities.
Big Sibling courses
We arrange Big Sibling courses 2 to 4 times a year (in Finnish). The courses are free of charge and meals are offered. Attending the course is a requirement for starting as a Big Sibling in the activity. There is, however, no obligation to start as a Big Sibling after the course.
The Girls’ Cabin for Big and Little Sister pairs and all Sibling pairs
- The Girls’ Cabin (Tyttöjen Tupa) is a place where the Big Sister and Little Sister pairs can meet during the opening hours (Tuesday to Thursday). The Sisters can come to the Girls’ Cabin alone or with their Big or Little Sister.
- A Big Sister who has completed the Big Sibling course can volunteer at the opening hours of the Girls’ Cabin as a Cabin’s Big Sister
- You can meet other Sister pairs at the Girls’ Cabin during opening hours or other Sibling pairs during Siblings’ Days (Sisaruspäivät), which are organized outside the opening hours. Big Sisters as well as Big Brothers are welcome to join these Siblings’ Days with their little siblings at the Girl’s Cabin.
The Girls’ Cabin
The Girls’ Cabin (Tyttöjen Tupa) is open weekly on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3 to 7 p.m.
The Girls’ Cabin is a space for girls and non-binary youth aged from 6 to 16 years, attending schools in Tampere. At the Cabin children and youth can spend their free time, meet each other and talk to adults in a relaxed atmosphere. We provide opening hours, groups, events and holiday activities. You have to sign up to become a Little Sister.
At the Girls’ Cabin (Tyttöjen Tupa) you can do you can meet friends and get new ones, play, do arts and crafts, do your homework and read, discuss things with friends or adults, dress up, act, sing and dance. At the Cabin there are at least three workers on duty during opening hours. Everyone chooses the activities they prefer and we encourage our visitors of all ages to participate in the decision making.
At the Girls’ Cabin there is a large lounge with a toy and greenery corner, a theatre room, a beauty and resting room, a television room with console games, a free Wifi and tablet, a room for teenagers as well as a clothing exchange spot. We offer a free tea serving at 5 p.m. You can also bring your own snack or buy some at the Cabin (eg. noodles). The fridge and the microwave owen can also be used for free.
During Girls’ Cabin’s opening hours over 18 year old women and non-binary persons can volunteer as Cabin Grandmas or Cabin Godmothers. You can start as a volunteer after attending a short orientation. A Big Sister who has completed the Big Sibling course can volunteer at the opening hours of the Girls’ Cabin as a Cabin’s Big Sister.
If you haven’t visited The Girls’ Cabin (Tyttöjen Tupa) earlier, you are welcomed now!
The Girls’ Cabin (Tyttöjen Tupa) is located opposite the main building of The Ahjola Settlement, on the other side of the road (Pispalan valtatie 45). Be safe and use the underpass when crossing the street.
Little Siblings’ parents and siblings as well as students and professionals can visit th Girls’ Cabin (Tyttöjen Tupa) during opening hours or by appointment. If your friend or customer wants to visit, you can bring her/ them ONCE during the opening hours to get a chance to acquaint herself with the place and the activities. After visiting she can sign up to be a Little Sister too. Parents can sign up their children to join the activities by filling out a form online (look at the main page) or at the Cabin. This way we can ensure the children a valid group insurance.
The Boys’ Activities of Ahjola
The Boys’ Cabin (Poikien Tupa) is open weekly on Mondays from 3 to 7 p.m.
The Boys’ Activities of Ahjola started during summer 2018 and The Boys’ Cabin opened in January 2019. In fall 2019 The Boys’ Cabin’s opening hours will be on Mondays from 3 to 7 p.m. There will also be thematic groups (eg. a gaming and sports group), educative groups (emotional and social skills) as wella as weekend and holiday activities, events and trips. More information you can find from www.poikatyo.fi.
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Our work is protected by docent Leena Kurki from the University of Tampere. She has introduced the notion of sociocultural animation (sosiokulttuurinen innostaminen) to the field of Finnish youth and social work.
The Big Sibling activity, Girls’ Cabin and The Boys’ activities of Ahjola are a part of the youth work of the Ahjola Settlement and they are mainly funded by Finland’s state owned gaming company Veikkaus / STEA, The Funding Centre For Social Welfare and Health Organisations.
Fiia Vauhkonen, youth leader/ girls, +358445538436, fiia.vauhkonen (at) ahjola.fi
Thomas Westerholm, youth leader/ boys, +358445538432, thomas.westerholm (at) ahjola.fi
Pispalan valtatie 45