Overview of ‘Voluntary work as the key to integration’ project management and portfolio preparation
231 national minority cultural associations receive support
‘What to become?’ career training for youngsters aged 16-26
Ukrainian Sunday School in Valga to mark end of academic year with excursion
Since August 2013 the Integration and Migration Foundation has been taking part in a two-year international project entitled ‘Voluntary work as the key to integration’ which is being financed by the Nordplus Adult fund of the Nordic Council of Ministers and the Estonian Ministry of Culture.
The coordinating partner in the project is the Kouvola department of the Palmenia Lifelong Learning Centre of the University of Helsinki. Alongside the Integration and Migration Foundation the other partner is the volunteer centre in the Danish region of Aalborg. The project is set to continue until July 2015, during which time an overview will be produced of voluntary work in the partner countries and the involvement of immigrants therein.
An important part of the project is creating contacts and fostering cooperation between NPOs, employers and immigrant volunteers in the participating countries. “Research has shown that the level of involvement in NGOs and voluntary work is lower among immigrants than it is among the ethnic population,” explained Martin Eber, a coordinator with the foundation’s Civic Education and Migration Unit. “But voluntary work is a great way of seeing the broader picture of the place you live in, taking an active part in stuff that’s going on in society and, as a result, improving your future chances in terms of work and building up your social network.”
Helpful material to assess skills in voluntary work
The main aim of the project is to produce worksheets for immigrants regarding their experience and achievements – in other words, a portfolio. This is designed to help immigrants involved in voluntary work assess the development of their skills so as to be better prepared for job-seeking, studies or both.
Eber and his fellow coordinator Kristi Anniste attended the project meeting and seminar held in Aalborg in May, at which the existing portfolio was updated and improved further – with new assessment criteria added, along with helpful questions. Representatives of NGOs from the Aalborg region also took part in the seminar, including volunteers with an immigrant background.
The participants filled in their worksheets based on their previous experience in voluntary work and then gave their initial assessment of it. “The feedback was by and large very positive,” said Eber, “with the helpful materials considered by everyone to be much-needed in assessing self-development. We felt the phrasing of some of the questions needed improving, as did the use of English, which we thought would perhaps be a little difficult for some immigrants to understand.” The team expressed its hopes that such problems would not arise from the wording in the three local languages of the project – Estonian, Finnish and Danish.
The tasks now facing the project team are to draw up user guidelines for the portfolio, to review its use of language, to translate the texts and to launch pilot programmes among the target group in order to obtain more detailed feedback. The final version of the helpful materials on voluntary work for immigrants is scheduled to be completed by this time next year. Both the final version and the tested interim version will be made available to anyone interested on the website of the Integration and Migration Foundation.
For further information please contact: Martin Eber, Coordinator at the Civic Education and Migration Unit of MISA, phone: 659 9067, e-mail: [email protected]
A round of applications for the base financing of national minority cultural associations was launched by the Integration and Migration Foundation in spring. As a result, 231 associations received funding via 19 umbrella organisations to a total value of 320,000 euros.
The aim of the application round was to reinforce the activities of the associations and to support the preservation and promotion of their cultural heritage in Estonia. “According to Statistics Estonia, 142 different nationalities are represented in this country,” said Kristina Pirgop, a coordinator with the foundation’s Multicultural Education Unit. “Through the base financing application round we’ve supported the activities of 33 national minority cultural associations, a large proportion of which are involved in Russian cultural heritage. The umbrella organisations that were granted support included the National Association of Armenians in Estonia, the Ukrainian Congress of Estonia and the Slavic Cultural Association in Tallinn.”
Pirgop added that support for national minority cultural associations is designed to increase people’s awareness of the multicultural nature of Estonia, to promote the unique aspects of cultures and to inform Estonian society of the activities of the associations. Cooperation between such associations is also fostered through the application round, as is cooperation with Estonian cultural associations.
The results of the application round can be found on the website of the Integration and Migration Foundation.
The project competition is being financed by the Ministry of Culture.
For further information please contact: Kristina Pirgop, Coordinator at the Multicultural Education Unit of MISA, phone: 659 9024, e-mail: [email protected]
In August last year one of the Integration and Migration Foundation’s project partners, BDA Consulting OÜ, launched a careers project entitled ‘What to become?’ for young people aged 16-26 who are citizens of third countries within Europe. As part of the project a series of career training events are held for the youngsters alongside visits to a variety of workplaces in companies and educational institutions all over Estonia.
“During the visits the groups have come into contact with very different fields of work – from IT and logistics through to catering and media,” explained BDA Consulting project manager Marikai Karilaid. “And it’s not only colleges and vocational schools they’ve been to, but companies like Skype, Tallinn Airport, the Ugala Theatre, DBT Muuga, TV3 and Swissôtel Tallinn.”
As part of the visits the youngsters have also been exposed to voluntary work. “Representatives of the Food Bank, the Red Cross and the Telliskivi Society, volunteer rescuers, assistant police officers, youth workers, people from the Black Nights Film Festival and the Ahhaa centre – all sorts of people have been sharing their experience with them,” Karilaid said. She added that more than 200 youngsters forming part of the target group have already participated in the project.
“It’s an ongoing project, and we’re still inviting young people to get involved in it,” the project manager said. “Before summer starts there’ll be two more career training events and a tourism-themed visit. And in addition to that, 10 of the best youngsters taking part will be given the chance to spend a day shadowing someone in a successful company.” The activities of the project will break for summer and then resume in autumn.
The end date of the project is October 2014. More detailed information is available online at www.karjäärikompass.ee
The project is being financed by the Integration and Migration Foundation, the Ministry of Culture and the European Fund for the Integration of Third-Country Nationals.
For further information please contact: Maarja Mänd, Coordinator at the Multicultural Education Unit of MISA, phone: 659 9853, e-mail: [email protected]
The Kalõna Ukrainian Sunday School in Valga, which is set to celebrate its fifth birthday, will be marking the end of another successful academic year with an excursion. Based on the theme ‘Ukraine and Estonia are maritime nations’, the event will be held at Valgeranna Adventure Park on 7 June.
During the excursion the participants will be introduced to the nature, animals, plants and maritime culture of both the Baltic and Black seas. “Since the kids at Kalõna have had such a successful year, we want to spend a fun day out with them and bring the whole group together before the school holidays,” said Ruslana Dovga, the director of the school. “Of course, there’ll still be an educational aspect to it – we’ll be reminding them of the things they’ve learnt about Ukrainian history, nature and culture! We’ll also be singing Ukrainian songs together.”
Dovga says that although the excursion is designed to mark the end of the academic year, the school ensures that its students also explore beyond the four walls of the classroom throughout the year, taking part in a variety of events in Valga and elsewhere in Estonia. “We visit other Ukrainian Sunday schools in the country and teach the kids about Ukrainian and Estonian national traditions and culture,” she explained. “We celebrate special days together as well, at which our kids often perform. We do everything we can to make sure the kids enjoy themselves and to keep them interested on these excursions, which includes coming up with a fun cultural programme for them each time.”
The students at the Kalõna Ukrainian Sunday School in Valga are different ages and different nationalities, although the common thread that runs between them is that their parents or grandparents are from Ukraine. At the school they are taught Ukrainian and also learn about the country’s culture and history. The school has taken part in a large number of events in towns and cities all over Estonia, including the Квiти України festival in Tallinn, the marking of the 15th anniversary of the Vodograi Ukrainian community in Sillamäe, the Sorotšinski fair in Maardu and the Лесина песня literary and musical evening in Tartu.
The activities of the school are supported by the Integration and Migration Foundation from the resources of the Ministry of Education and Research.
Assisting in the writing of this text was Kalõna Ukrainian Sunday School student Vladislava Mašnits.
For further information please contact: Ruslana Dovga, Director of the Kalõna Ukrainian Sunday School, Valga, phone: 5347 0613, e-mail: [email protected] or Kristina Pirgop, Coordinator at the Multicultural Education Unit of MISA, phone: 659 9024, e-mail: [email protected]