How do the participants feel the mentoring programme for unemployed residents has gone?
Places still available in language and culture clubs
Afternoon tea for social studies teachers from schools in Ida-Viru County
Students are now being taught how to put together posts that grab people’s attention
The Culture Friend 2017 competition begins


How do the participants feel the mentoring programme for unemployed residents has gone?

The TEMP pilot project, which was launched last February to provide mentorship to unemployed residents of the country, will soon be coming to an end. Has the project – whose aim was to give participants the chance to talk to people outside of their ordinary circle – been deemed a success? Agnes Aaslaid went along to find out.

Larisa Žitnik from Sillamäe, who took part in the project as a mentee, says that because of TEMP she attended get-togethers and events that she would never otherwise have found herself involved in. “People from Ida-Viru County normally don’t go to the Opinion Festival in Paide, but we did – and it was really interesting!” she enthuses. “It’s such a shame that people in Sillamäe know nothing about it.” She found the training courses provided very educational: tips on how to present yourself memorably and psychological advice with regard to keeping your spirits up when unemployed.

A food preparation workshop also gave Larisa, who is a volunteer with the ‘Vodograi’ Ukrainian community of Sillamäe, the opportunity to showcase the cooking of her homeland. “We had to form a team, and once that was done we started cooking up a storm!” she says. Other memorable events she highlights include a get-together in Tallinn with the personnel managers of large companies, who put their cards on the table about the decisive criteria in recruitment.

Urmo Paluste, who works in training on a daily basis, joined the project as a mentor, since he hoped it would provide him with a new experience. And, he says, it did. “My knowledge and understanding of the obstacles that people of other nationalities in Estonia encounter in trying to find work were really broadened,” he explains. “The biggest worry the person I was mentoring faced was their Estonian, since the majority of jobs require skills in the national language, which unfortunately they aren’t fluent in. What you learn on a course is soon forgotten if you don’t have any chance to practise it.”

Urmo hopes the pilot project will evolve into a longer-term undertaking in which a larger number of people are provided with advice and assistance in coping on the labour market. However, he recommends doing a little more homework next time before selecting mentees. “The person I was mentoring didn’t really have the motivation they needed to take part at the beginning, so it took quite a while for trust to form between us,” he admits. “Once that trust was there, though, interest soon followed, and a real desire to do something to improve their situation.”

Overseeing the project were Olga Štšeglova and Julia Kašina from the NPO Arengu Sammud. Olga says it was pleasing to see just how many people were interested in taking part as mentors and how the speakers were willing to work with such an unusual audience. A major plus with the project, in her view, is that the participants were prepared to accept views that didn’t exactly coincide with their own. For Olga, the biggest test was organising joint events for mentors and mentees, since the training needs of the two groups were simply so different.

“We’re currently analysing the results of the project, and based on them we’re developing guidelines on how the method can be effectively used in the Estonian context,” she says. “Before this we only had the Finnish experience to go on.” The guidelines will form the starting point of similar projects in the future.

What was the experience of the project on the other side of the gulf?

The CROSS project goes beyond borders – whereas in Estonia it supported less integrated permanent residents who are unemployed, in Finland it supported people from Estonia living there so as to help them more effectively integrate into Finnish society.

Lois Armas, the coordinator of Luckan Integration, which offers support services to immigrants to Finland, describes how the project fared in the country.

“To date around 20 people have taken part in the project – 10 of them joined in on the activities of the support group in spring, while the other 10 attended the family cafés organised in autumn. This January and February there’s training on diverse workplaces for employees of multicultural organisations which we’re expecting up to 25 people to take part in. As such, the total number of participants in the project will be 40-45.

“Our experience has shown that they need the most support when it comes to integrating in society – they want to communicate more with people who speak Finnish, find interesting hobbies and things to do and meet up with other Estonians living in Helsinki and surrounds.


“It turned out that the needs of the Estonians living in the Greater Helsinki area, who make up a sizeable group within the community here, are often overlooked. And it’s not just local Finns they’d like to speak to more and share their thoughts with either, but other people from Estonia as well.


“The feedback we’ve had from the participants so far has been good. The members of the support group said they’ve gotten more information about social and employment services. The families who took part in the cafés met up with other Estonians and saw new parts of Helsinki they could go to with their kids thanks to the project.


“If the project continues with the Estonians living in the Helsinki area, there’s definitely room for it to develop. First and foremost, we need to more clearly map their needs and wishes.”

Places still available in language and culture clubs

Calling all language enthusiasts! This is your invitation to get in touch with Atlasnet Mittetulundusühing, ImmiSchool - Uusimmigrantide Koolituskeskus, Keelepisik OÜ, Mitteldorf OÜ and Change Partners OÜ, who are organising Estonian language and culture clubs around the country.

The clubs are open to anyone who has passed an Estonian language examination at the B2 or C1 levels and provide an opportunity to continue learning the language, broaden your knowledge of Estonian culture, attend cultural events and meet interesting people.

The activities of the clubs are financed via the ‘Linguistic and cultural immersion’ sub-programme (5.2.2) of the ‘Activities supporting integration in Estonian society’ project of the European Social Fund.

For further information please contact: Jana Tondi, Head of Language and Cultural Immersion, Integration Foundation, telephone: +372 659 9069, e-mail: [email protected]


Afternoon tea for social studies teachers from schools in Ida-Viru County

Narva Advisory Centre is inviting all social studies teachers from schools in Ida-Viru County to an Estonian citizenship-themed afternoon tea at 15:30 on 1 February to introduce them to the ‘6 Steps to Becoming an Estonian Citizen’ brochure and talk to them about citizenship training.

For further information please contact: Anna Farafonova, adviser, telephone: +372 659 9036, e-mail: [email protected]


Students are now being taught how to put together posts that grab people’s attention

How do you make video clips that really engage the audience? How do you put together posts that grab people’s attention? How do you take truly artistic photos? These are skills that 170 students from schools in Tallinn, Tapa, Valga and Ida-Viru County are now being taught. Of the 15 applications submitted in autumn to the ‘Promotion of media education in general education schools and institutions of vocational education’ project competition, eight were granted supported and are being implemented from January-April this year.

The students are taking an active role in creating media content and are being instructed by professionals on expressing themselves through a variety of media – photo reports, videos, short films, advertising posters and text.

  • Students from Tapa Secondary School who are interested in the media are trying their hand at producing audio-visual programmes while learning how to follow best practice in journalism and take into account criticism within their own community.
  • Students from Mustamäe Secondary School of Science in Tallinn are being taught how to express themselves in the media by renowned Estonian film producer Arvo Iho.
  • The NPO Lasnamäe Hobby School is working with secondary school students from the Active youth club who speak Russian as their first language, who are learning to create content for a range of web platforms, how to behave safely in social networks and how to take proper photos for reporting and artistic purposes.
  • The Waldorf School in Tallinn is running a project to show youngsters how visual communication can shine the spotlight on topics that are of importance to society.
  • Students from Valga Gymnasium are adding to their knowledge of maintaining a school blog and running a school radio station as well as learning how to make effective advertising posters and visiting Tallinn University and the Baltic Film and Media School.
  • Tallinn School of Service is organising a writing camp designed to foster the self-expression skills of its students as well as their ability to critically discuss texts and sources.
  • Students of various disciplines from Ida-Viru County Vocational Training Centre are being instructed by professionals from the media in audiovisual workshops to create a teaching video showcasing their institution.
  • The NPO VVS Media Grupp is working with students from Linnamäe Russian Lyceum and Gustav Adolf Grammar School in Tallinn, who are preparing two news programmes about school life and learning how to get involved in public debate via the media.

The competition supported media projects to a value of up to 3000 euros, with the total amount granted coming to 17,712.91 euros. A list of the projects to which support was allocated can be found on the Integration Foundation’s website at https://www.integratsioon.ee/loppenud-konkursid?project_id=704. The projects are being financed by the Ministry of Education and Research.

For further information please contact: Liilika Raudhein, analyst, telephone: +372 659 9841, e-mail: [email protected]


The Culture Friend 2017 competition begins


On January 15th, Minister of Culture Indrek Saar announced the start of the Culture Friend 2017 competition. As always, private individuals, institutions, companies and organisations will be honoured who have made a financial contribution or supported activities in the cultural field. 

According to Minister of Culture Indrek Saar, the Culture Friend competitions of the past few years have confirmed that there is close cooperation between companies and organisers of cultural events which benefits both parties. “During the year, it has been repeatedly asked which projects and whom the state should support in the cultural field. That’s why we are more than happy about the socially-motivated entrepreneurs and patrons who find that culture is the common field that we all cultivate together. The state totally acknowledges, supports and mediates the establishment of good collaborative relations,” the minister added.

Candidates can be nominated by all organisations involved in the cultural field, and, as an innovation, every cultural organiser can also make one proposal for recognition. The candidates for recognition cannot be the Ministry of Culture or the agencies in its area of government, their employees or the projects they have organised. Other state agencies and the organisations established by the state itself will also not be considered. Read more about the competition rules here.

To make a nomination, the electronic form on the Ministry of Culture website must be filled out. Organisations and people that have been nominated in previous years can be nominated again. Nominations can be made until 4 February 2018. 

The Culture Friends will be chosen from among the candidates, and three main prizes, i.e. Culture Friends of the Year, will be awarded. The Minister of Culture Indrek Saar will announce the winners of the competition at the traditional Culture Friend ceremony on 7 March 2018 at the Maarjamäe Palace Estonian History Museum.

The Ministry of Culture has been recognising culture-friendly companies and entrepreneurs since 2012. Last year, the Culture Friend of the Year title went to AS DNB Pank and Nordea Bank AB, the newspaper Postimees and Aare Kaarma. The list of previous Culture Friend award recipients is available here.

Attached is a photo of the Undefined Useful Object, designed by Kärt Ojavee, which is the traditional award given to the Culture Friends of the Year.  

Additional information: Meelis Kompus, Ministry of Culture, telephone: +372 5202 318, e-mail: [email protected]