Deaconess Foundation

National Network

Alppikatu 2
00530 Helsinki

+358 9 77 501
Organisation Type
Non-Governmental Organization
Year of Establishment
Fields of Activity
  1. Democracy and community development
  2. Human rights
  3. Others
  4. Youth and education
General Information

Helsinki Deaconess Institute is a public foundation and a multifaceted social enterprise group with several subsidiaries. The group provides wide-ranging social welfare, health care and education services. The proceeds from the group's operations and assets are used to promote health and well-being and to build a more just society. The hospital and medical centre operations of the foundation have been differentiated into limited companies. In 2016, the Group employed 1,555 people with the annual turnover of 148 million EUR. Main sources of funding include Finland’s Slot Machine Association, European Social Fund and Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland. In 2016, the foundation was running 76 projects. Most of the projects involve direct support to beneficiaries. The foundation is also part of European-level consortia. Services are produced together with the state, municipalities, companies, other partners and investors. In addition to service production, civic activity is promoted in all of the operations.

Mission and Objectives

In our operations, this mission means that everyone is entitled to a life of human dignity. The purpose of the existence of Helsinki Deaconess Institute is encapsulated in providing support for the most vulnerable. This means the continuous delivery of help and support to places that remain out of reach for others. Places where human dignity is at risk. Helsinki Deaconess Institute is an expert in tackling social issues. Specializing in segments of society with demanding needs, it offers child and youth welfare services, housing and employment support, substance abuse work, and mental health programmes. The educational services offered by the Institute complement the vocational education offered in the capital region and focus on the prevention of social exclusion. Helsinki Deaconess Institute also engages in development cooperation.

Main Projects / Activities

Vamos youth services targets 16 to 29-year olds without education, employment or training. The services expanded their operations. Vamos Lahti was launched, and Senior Vamos expanded from Helsinki to Espoo, and new projects were launched for young asylum-seekers and immigrants, and the Roma people. Vamos now operates in six cities: Helsinki, Espoo, Lahti, Turku, Oulu and Kuopio. 1,500 youths were reached out to, and 53% of them were guided onto education and working career paths.  Civic activities involved over 1,300 people in volunteer and peer activities. Volunteer activities were reinforced even further, as 60 new volunteer support families were coached in providing support for underage asylum seekers.  Development cooperation was carried out in southern Africa and Moldova, with the support of a development cooperation appropriation from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. The partner churches' social work and participatory approach to work were developed during the projects. The Centre for Torture Survivors in Finland offered humanitarian, medical and psycho-social care and support to immigrants suffering from acute or chronic torture symptoms. These activities reduced the victims' human suffering, risk of social radicalisation, and risk of violence against themselves and others. Tortured or heavily traumatised quota refugees under 24 years of age received specialised children's and youth psychiatry services. Hirundo Day Centre for Travellers offered humanitarian aid in Helsinki. Emergency shelter was mainly provided to European travellers, but also to Finns and paperless individuals. The Kummikylä village support project in Romania improved the living conditions and well-being of the local Roma community, so that the villagers would not have to go abroad in search of a livelihood.  

How can you contribute to the Network in your country?

Helsinki Deaconess Institute is active in looking for new consortia and project partners with whom to apply for relevant funding instruments. Helsinki Deaconess Institute can contribute by taking part in events, being vocal in different fora relevant to the Anna Lindh Foundation and by being available for cooperation in Finland, EU and beyond. The special interest in Northern-Africa also serves for the strategic ambitions of the Helsinki Deaconess Institute. 

Why do you want to join the ALF Network?

Helsinki Deaconess Institute is active in looking for new consortia and project partners with whom to apply for relevant funding instruments. Helsinki Deaconess Institute had 76 running projects during 2016, so it has extensive experience in projects catering for most vulnerable groups. With this in mind, the ALF network provides an interesting forum for exchange of ideas and good practices, and for finding partners for future projects. Helsinki Deaconess Institute would benefit from the enlargened access to new partners, ideas, learning-experiences with the aim of furthering social justice and human dignity for all.  

Contact (1) Full Name
Saija Niemi
Head of the organisation
Olli Holmström