Objectives and activities
The role of Villa Karo is to act as a mediator between Finnish and African artists and cultural actors. The main objective is to offer Finnish artists, researchers and teachers a possibility to reside in Africa. In addition to that, Villa Karo invites African professionals of the cultural scene to Finland.
Villa Karo is located in Grand-Popo, Benin, for Benin is one of the most democratic and politically stable countries in Africa. There are no political prisoners, the freedom of speech is at a European level and there are several political parties. Benin is a friendly country and has preserved the self-contained African culture better than many other countries. As to Grand-Popo, it is a calm fisher village ensuring a better peace of work to residents than would, for instance, the metropolis of Cotonou.
In addition to being a residence, Villa Karo is a Finnish-African cultural centre offering cultural services free of charge to local people. The centre is open from Monday to Friday from 9 am to 5 pm and on Saturdays from 9 am to noon.
The activities of the cultural centre include, among other things:
- monthly concerts and theatre and dance performances every first Saturday of the month
- film screenings every Friday
- art exhibitions
- conference and seminar rooms
- library (see list of books)
- a collection exhibiting West African ethnographic art and the history of West Africa
- guided tours for groups (e.g. schools)
- workshops on art, environment and languages, e.g. for school groups
Villa Karo is also helping the village of Grand-Popo and the nearby fisher communities by channeling aid from Finnish schools and NGOs. Among others the upper secondary of Norsen in Helsinki and Svenska kvinnoförbund I Sörnäs have been active on this field.