Riutula children’s home

A farmhouse called ”Riuttula” located on the shore of Lake Muddus in the village of Paadar was registered to Abraham Aikio in 1851. Five years later the farm was occupied by Henrik Mattus, from whom Naemi von Bonsdroff, the nursing sister, bought the farm in 1903. Later on she gave it to Y.W.C.A which started a mission station there. The dedication ceremony of the residential home for the elderly and children was held in 1907 as a result of a national funding campaign. Naemi von Bonsdorff became the first headmistress of the institute.

The residential home also acted as a school. The house keeping courses were started in 1914 to educate the girls in Lapland. A year later the elementary school of Riutula began operations. Both schools moved to Upper Riutula (300m north from Riutula) when the school building was completed in 1931.

An influenza epidemic known as the Spanish Flu raged in Inari in 1920 and made many children orphans. The next larger disaster was the War of Lapland in 1944 when people of Riutula had to escape to northern Sweden and South West Finland.

In 1966, the completion of the modern main building began a new era in Riutula. All the old buildings were taken down and the life as a self-sustaining unit was left behind in the children’s home.

The need for children’s home diminished significantly as the social security and the standard of living improved in Finland. Therefore, the children’s home in Riutula was also closed down in 1978. The remaining children were placed to families or other children’s homes.

The Youth Centre Inari was founded in May 1994. At that time, the municipality of Inari had renovated the facilities of the former children’s home Riutula into a Youth Centre with the support of Ministry of Education. The municipality rented out the facilities to Metsähallitus, which set the Youth Centre in motion. Later on, Wild North of Metsähallitus was in charge of the Youth Centre until the end of 2003. The name was changed into Youth Centre Vasatokka from the beginning of 2004.