Vehkakuja like its tenants

Text: Anni Pajari | Pictures: Mari Mansikkamäki, Visual Friday

Soihtu Vehkakuja is a housing association consisting of three buildings in Savela, near Kortepohja and Laajavuori. According to Eeva Halkosaari, secretary of the Vehkakuja Tenants’ Council, Vehkakuja is home to people who enjoy peaceful everyday life. Chair Brage Sekse Aarset says that there are people with many different backgrounds: students and working people, young people and people with families, and many different nationalities. 

Tenants’ Council has regular meetings, where it makes decisions on allocating funds, monitors the tenants’ interests, and organizes communal activities for the tenants. In general, Tenants’ Council takes part in building the type of residential area the tenants want.   

Sustainable events 

Vehkakuja tenants have their own WhatsApp group, where they discuss current issues and get in touch with each other and the members of the Council. Eeva and Brage encourage tenants to participate in events and activities. 

“You don’t have to commit to a certain period of time if you don’t want to, you can just come and for instance organize one event,” Eeva advises. 

Last year, Vehkakuja Tenants’ Council was the driving force behind the Sustainable Village event that focused on circular economy and was held for the first time in Kortepohja Student Village, in front of Rentukka. The event had a flea market and a place where people could bring tools and materials for repairing clothes or bicycles, for example. 

This fall, the plan is to organize traditional volunteering events, game nights and some kind of an end-of-semester celebration. 

“It would be nice to have a late-autumn barbecue evening at the grilling shed, where we could spend time in the glow of the campfire. This kind of thing cannot be done everywhere in the city,” says Brage. 

Decision on the use of the prize was made together 

Vehkakuja tenants won Soihtu’s water saving competition that was organized last spring. The prize was 1,000 euros for the joint use of the tenants. The Tenants’ Council did a questionnaire asking the tenants what they would like to use the prize money for. According to the wishes of the tenants, the Council purchased various items for common use, such as a yard swing, yard games, a bicycle trailer and a toolbox. 

According to Brage, the most rewarding thing is when you see something change as a result of your work and make your living environment more comfortable. 

“I get happy when I see tenants sitting on the garden swing we bought or otherwise use the things we bought.” 

In Eeva’s opinion, events are nice, but the best thing about tenant activities has been the sense of community. 

“When you get to know your neighbors, you feel at home and safe, the place feels like your own.” 

“I get happy when I see tenants sitting on the garden swing we bought or otherwise use the things we bought.” 

Brage Sekse Aarset, Chair person of Soihtu Vehkakuja Tenants’ Committee

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