2019: year full of work
This last year of the decade was full of work, happy moments, ups and downs, worries and hopes.
What did we do?
We created opportunities for old and new tartuvians to know more about each other: we organized a Diversity Festival (supported by Tartu city), we offered Estonian culture course both in English and Russian (supported by INSA). We also organized Estonian language evenings and a organized plethora of others activities, so that people who have come to Tartu from all over the world could meet other people: hiking, building snowmen, picking potatoes, game nights, cooking together, networking events for families with children and much more! Almost all of the events were carried out with our own resources and with the help of our amazing volunteers.
It is important for us that newcomers would feel at home in Tartu – therefore we organized thematic information sessions about how to find accommodation, how to get a family doctor or what to do in case of street aggression. We also gave a lot of advice on diverse topics, from how to change driving license to how to find a kindergarten spot for one´s children. These activities were also carried out by our own resources.
This year, we also worked towards that the refugees living in Estonia could adapt and feel more as part of the society. In order for refugees to have a opportunity to share their experiences we organized different events – sharing experiences (thanks to Ministry of Interior and AMIF fund), celebrating world refugee day (supported by UNHCR) but most importantly – engaged refugees with activities that locals take part in. Some found friends in sports, some others found new ideas – such as environmental sustainability – in youth meetings (Erasmus program). All of it was to bring people together.
We did a lot of work with refugee children in Tartu – if an Arabic-only speaking child sits suddenly understand in natural science or geography lesson in Estonian language, it is not easy neither for the child nor the teacher. We helped out with following school curriculum, taught Estonian, but also made food together, read Pipi Longstocking and Harry Potter, and in December waited eagerly to find out what presents were left by päkapikud in kids´socks! Big thanks to DEO from Denmark, who made sure that we could get some snacks for kids (learning is easier if you can snack on something!) and helped päkapikud to bring presents this year!
We have also developed our social enterprise – food by Köömen not only offers new tastes, but also valuable work experience for immigrants with limited opportunities who are interested in moving on with catering business.
More cool stuff
We are happy that also we gave our input into the success of culture capital process – it was an unforgettable moment, when the judged announced that Tartu will be the culture capital of 2024! Our part is to carry out the Diversity Land Line program, you can read more about it in the application.
And towards the end of the year we felt really happy when we won the Integration Foundation prize, which recognized our work with refugee youth.
A lot of people have walked along and worked with us this year, most of them volunteers. We are most grateful to you!
Happy holidays to everyone and see you in the new year!