Estonian language cafés to open doors in Tallinn in October
MISA to organise awareness-raising events in Russian-language schools about young people’s future
Estonian language and culture camps and homestays to continue in October
Youngsters from Ida-Viru County to take part in youth programme fostering social cohesion
Ukrainian Sunday school to open its doors to visitors
Festival showcasing Ukrainian culture to be held in November
‘I am a migrant’ – fascinating real-life stories of people who live in Estonia
Activities of the MISA Counselling Centre
Starting from 11 October, Lindakivi Cultural Centre and Lasnamäe Children’s Centre in Tallinn will be hosting twice-weekly get-togethers of the free Estonian language cafés run by the Counselling Centre of the Integration and Migration Foundation 'Our People' (MISA). The cafés are designed for those who want and are motivated to learn Estonian and to practise speaking in the language.
The language café groups are divided into three: those with elementary skills; those with primary skills; and those who are more advanced at the initial level. The cafés will be held at Lindakivi Cultural Centre (Jaan Koorti 22) and Lasnamäe Children’s Centre (Ümera 46) in Tallinn twice a week at 10:00 and 18:00. Each get-together will last for around 90 minutes and be free of charge for those taking part. Up to 20 people can participate in any one event. The language café groups are being put together by the MISA Counselling Centre.
The get-togethers will be led by experienced teachers of Estonian, who will offer the participants support in their independent learning and practising of the national language. The role of the language cafés is also to motivate people to make bolder use of Estonian in everyday situations. Situations and topics that come up in day-to-day life will be focussed on during the get-togethers – issues like job-seeking, training, communicating with colleagues, travel, hobbies, celebrating special occasions and dealing with situations like making doctor’s appointments and buying things in shops.
Where the language café is concerned it is not important how well you speak Estonian. However, in order to find the group that is best suited to you, the groups are divided in three: those with elementary skills; those with primary skills; and those who are more advanced at the initial level. The only prerequisites for taking part are the desire and motivation to learn Estonian and to practise speaking the language.
Information on the times and venues of the language cafés can be found on the MISA website.
The language café activities are being financed as part of the ‘Activities supporting integration in Estonian society’ project of the European Social Fund.
For more details about the language cafés and information event, call the Counselling Centre free of charge on 800 9999 or e-mail [email protected].
The MISA Counselling Centre will be carrying out a series of information events around Estonia in October and November under the umbrella title ‘The opportunities available to young people in Estonia’. At the events, information will be provided to young people and their families who live in Estonia but speak Russian as their mother tongue about how to make something of themselves in the country.
The MISA Counselling Centre is organising 10 regional events in the series in Tallinn, Narva, Maardu, Pärnu, Kohtla-Järve, Sillamäe, Valga and Tartu in association with local specialists from the Police and Border Guard Board, the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund and the ‘Rajaleidja’ careers advice portal. In addition to the young people themselves, their family members and friends are also welcome to attend the events, as are those youngsters who have dropped out of school for some reason and their families, and anyone interested in the topics to be discussed at the events.
The opportunities of career and training advisory services through which Russian-speaking youngsters can get support to continue and complete their studies will be outlined to the attendees. Circumstances related to finding work in Estonia and abroad will also be covered, and practical recommendations will be shared in regard to making future career choices. The amendments made to legislation affecting non-Estonians and in regard to citizenship that entered force on 1 January 2016 will also be explained, as they are of importance to permanent residents of the country. Furthermore, an overview will be provided of integration activities designed for young people, applying for Estonian citizenship will be discussed, opportunities for Estonian language learning and practice will be explored and information will be given about the counselling service offered by MISA.
The information events will adopt a discussion format. Regional specialists will be sharing information with the young attendees, explaining issues in terms of the needs of young people and from their point of view, and answering any questions they may have. In addition to specialists, people known in local schools and communities will also be invited to take part in the discussions wherever possible. The events will start in the schools at 18:00 and last for around 90 minutes. The language of the events will be Russian.
For more details about information events, call the Counselling Centre free of charge on 800 9999 or e-mail [email protected]. Information on the times and venues of information events can be found on the MISA website.
Information events are held as part of the ‘Integrating Estonia 2020’ regional development plan and are financed from the resources of the ‘Activities supporting integration in Estonian society’ project of the European Social Fund.
Results of project competitions
An additional project competition entitled ‘Promoting Estonian language and culture at camps and Estonian language and culture studies in families’ was held in September. Support was granted for the implementation of projects to the NPO Veeda Vaheaeg Võrumaal (organising homestays) and Narva School no. 6 (organising a project camp), who will showcase Estonian language and cultural heritage to youngsters on visits to various places in southern Estonia.
Veeda Vaheaeg Võrumaal’s project “Let’s Speak Estonian!” will enable 34 youngsters from Narva to take part in family-based studies and classes at Võru City Centre Basic School this autumn. 8-10 families will be hosting the kids. There will be a total of five 10-day homestays, during which young people whose mother tongue is Russian will get the chance to live in an Estonian-language environment and attend an Estonian-language school, explore the sights of southern Estonia and take part in group events and handicrafts workshops.
“These kids are motivated to learn,” explained Jana Tondi, MISA’s Head of Language and Cultural Immersion. “A number of students from Narva Language High School who’ve taken part in the homestays before have been positively surprised how much of a boost a week spent in an Estonian-language environment gives them in terms of their language skills.”
Homestay project manager Pille Kulberg says that their organisation has been helping to organise family-based studies for many years. “We have a lot of experience working with Narva Language High School,” she said. “At the same time, we can only do what we do thanks to those families in Võru County with children of their own who take these kids in for a week at a time. Over the years we’ve seen how the kids who live in the county who’ve had more to do with the Russian-speaking kids have become more tolerant and are always friendly towards those arriving for the homestays. The project works both ways, with mutual benefits, and is a great experience for everyone involved.”
The ‘School Holidays on Cultural Trails’ project of Narva School no. 6 was also awarded support. 32 students aged 12-16 from the school and from Narva Estonian Upper Secondary School will take part in the project. The project camp taking place in Saverna in Põlva County will be attended by 22 Russian-speaking youngsters and 10 of their Estonian-speaking peers. The kids will visit the university town of Tartu and take part in a special lesson entitled ‘Language, Culture and the Environment’ at the Estonian National Museum. They will also find out about the history of Võru and its surroundings and visit the home museum of Estonian author F. R. Kreutzwald. They will also pay a quick visit to Kambja and its basic school.
“There’ll be language lessons each day for the kids, to give them the chance to practise their Estonian, at which the teachers will use elements of non-formal language learning as well as active learning methods,” explained Irena Kedus, the project manager with Narva School no. 6. “The Estonian-speaking support students will play an important role, as they’ll serve as mentors to the Russian-speaking youngsters. Every day we’ll be doing our best to provide the kids with sports and creative activities as well which will help them get to know one another and get along better.”
Estonian language and culture studies at camps and in families are supported by MISA from the state budget via the Ministry of Culture.
For further information please contact: Jana Tondi | Head of Language and Cultural Immersion, MISA | Telephone: 659 9069 | E-mail: [email protected]
Youth programme 2016 activities
This autumn MISA is organising study trips and training days for 35 youngsters from Ida-Viru County with the aims of boosting the participants’ knowledge of ways in which they can make something of themselves in Estonia and of promoting contact between the young people. The youth programme is designed for students from general and vocational schools in Ida-Viru County who are from Narva, Kohtla-Järve and Jõhvi and aged 15-18.
“There’ll be one training day and three study trips for the participants as part of the programme activities,” explained Natalia Reppo, MISA’s Head of Cooperation. “The first training day was held on 24 September at Narva Youth Centre. The youngsters who attended learnt about successful and well-functioning team work, taking part in civic initiatives, taking the initiative themselves in starting things up and how to draft, manage and implement projects, all through practical examples.”
Reppo added that the aim of the youth programme is to introduce to Russian-speaking youngsters different ways of making something of themselves in Estonia. “That can be in relation to education, job-seeking and social activities, as well as contributing to civic initiatives,” she said.
Three study trips are planned for the young participants as part of the programme. On 13 October they will be travelling to southern Estonia, where they will visit the Võru County Vocational Education Centre and sights in the surrounding area. On 9 November there will be a study trip to Tartu during which the plan is to visit the Estonian Aviation Academy, the Computer Science Institute of the University of Tartu and Tartu Observatory. The final study trip will take place on 20 December, bringing the students to Tallinn. Kohtla-Järve Youth Centre and Narva Youth Centre were of assistance in finding youngsters to participate in the programme.
MISA implements integration-related cooperation activities as part of the ‘Integration cooperation activities’ sub-programme of the ‘Activities supporting integration in Estonian society’ programme of the European Social Fund.
For further information please contact: Natalia Reppo | Head of Cooperation, MISA | Telephone: 659 9840 | E-mail: [email protected]
Sunday school open days
From 11:00-14:00 on 15 October, the ‘Nadija’ Ukrainian Sunday school will be holding an open day. Anyone interested is welcome to visit the rooms of the Association of Ukrainian Organisations in Estonia at Nafta 6-2 in Tallinn.
The theme of the open day is ‘Pokrova – the Cossack and Ukrainian Feast Day’. During a singing lesson, attendees will learn Ukrainian-language songs about the Cossacks. A history lesson about Ukraine will be given by two Cossacks, who will also speak about the history of their own people up to the present day. There will also be a Ukrainian language lesson and a handicrafts room. Visitors will get to try kulish – the traditional pottage of the Cossacks – as well as sweets.
Anyone interested in attending the open day is asked to register by calling 5810 4307.
For further information please contact: Alla Inno-Yakymenko | ‘Nadija’ Ukrainian Sunday school handicrafts teacher | Mobile: 5810 4307
Activities of national minority Sunday schools are supported by MISA from the state budget via the Ministry of Education and Research.
For further information please contact: Kristina Pirgop | Head of Partnership Relations, MISA | Telephone: 659 9024 | E-mail: [email protected]
National culture society events
Starting at 15:00 on 6 November 2016, Salme Cultural Centre (Salme tn 12, Tallinn) will play host to a festival of Ukrainian culture entitled ‘Star of the North’. This is a traditional festival which has been organised by the Association of Ukrainian Organisations in Estonia every two years since 2000.
Taking part in the festival will be Ukrainian song and dance troupes that are active in Estonia as well as the ensemble ‘Kolor’, the ‘Ukraina’ academic mixed choir, the ensemble ‘Susidki’, the ‘Mrija’ choir and others. An exhibition of the artworks of students from the Ukrainian Sunday school will also be held at Salme Cultural Centre during the festival.
Anyone interested in Ukrainian culture is welcome to attend the event. Admission is free of charge.
For further information please contact: Association of Ukrainian Organisations in Estonia | Telephone: 600 6768 | E-mail: [email protected]
The ‘Star of the North’ festival is supported by MISA through the national minority cultural association project competition, which is financed from the state budget via the Ministry of Culture.
For further information please contact: Kristina Pirgop | Head of Partnership Relations, MISA | Telephone: 659 9024 | E-mail: [email protected]
Immigrants are like teachers who teach the local people openness and tolerance - Heba's story
Heba is an Egyptian who first heard about Estonia from a friend. “When searching for post graduate studies, I was intrigued by the studies in international relations and diplomacy at the Estonian School of Diplomacy.
My previous experience in Egypt was with media monitoring, elections, and human rights. At the Egyptian cabinet I worked with media monitoring projects. I was responsible for media monitoring and election projects at the Andalus Institute for Tolerance and Anti Violence Studies. I led a team who monitored media during the elections to see whether media were biased, we put recommendations to media outlets to improve their performance and gave advice on how to be more neutral.”
Working with the civil society sector was an eye-opening experience as I was working with human rights, tolerance issues and Syrian refugees. I realized that some people really don’t have any future and they need to look for better opportunities, it’s not something we can use against them. Many Estonians also go abroad searching for better chances. For me the question is why is it good for people from Europe to move within Europe, but bad when people from Middle East or Asia look for jobs in Europe?
I’ve seen that immigrants enrich their new societies. They are like teachers, because through interaction with immigrants locals learn open-mindedness and tolerance toward cultural differences. Also, if immigrants are employed they benefit the economic cycle. Migration consists of normal people, some are good and some are bad. When someone does something it is because they are bad, not because they are from a specific place. We need to judge people’s acts according to the law.
Through my work and volunteering experiences I have learned to look beyond stereotypes. My thinking began to change when I saw that different ideas, thoughts and people will not cause me any harm. If I had a very limited mentality, I don’t think I would be very successful in bringing change through my work.
In the future I hope to work with human rights and torture issues. I hope to make a difference in people’s lives and help them understand that human rights are not a luxury, but vital to being human. In Egypt it’s not easy to convince people that human rights are part of your essential rights. I hope to make this shift in thinking. It is hard to change what the whole society thinks, but at least I can start with myself and know what I believe.”