Thanks to a donation from the estate of Hedvig Korp, the Estonian Ecumenical Relief Organization (EERO) sent $19,500 (13,800 euros) to women’s shelters in (Rakvere) Virumaa, Järvamaa, Pärnu, Saaremaa, Läänemaa ja Hiiumaa. These funds are for individual, group and family therapy for mothers and children–who have experienced physical and mental abuse–as well as related transportation expenses. These donations will also help with all the expenses needed for these mothers with children to begin a new life of independence and safety.
Almost one out of every five Estonian children (about 63,000 children) lives in poverty, which has been exacerbated by the war in Ukraine and resulting energy and economic crisis. The cost of all goods and services has increased drastically, which has created even more financial difficulty for these single mothers and their children.
Donations to the EERO Children’s Fund continue to help improve the quality of life for children of mothers who have lived in abusive situations, through the specialized individual and group therapy provided by the women’s shelters. As one survivor describes: “It’s difficult for others to understand the impact that domestic abuse has on a woman's life, how every aspect of life is controlled. I was forced to move away to the countryside, far from other people. I wasn’t allowed to drive a car or go to community events or parties with my children. But I had to work, because my husband refused to. I was so isolated that I often thought of ending my life”.
When the mental health of mothers improves, they can better attend to the needs and well-being of their children. Increased self-esteem helps them to find and hold down a job and cope with the demands of everyday life. Similarly, donations to EERO have funded creative therapy sessions for children who have survived domestic abuse, to help them with coping strategies to maintain their emotional health.
The goals of the EERO funded women’s shelter projects are in keeping with the goals of the EERO Children’s Fund: to support children of families living in challenging circumstances; to provide them and their mothers with support in the areas of physical and mental health and education; to work in collaboration with Estonian women’s shelters to best identify critical needs. We understand how important it is to provide maximum support during the transition period, as these women and children leave an abusive situation to start a new, independent life.
During this winter and holiday season, we hope that our Canadian and American Estonian community remembers these brave mothers and children who need our support and understanding now more than ever.
EERO established the Children's Fund in January 2020 to improve the living conditions, physical and emotional development of children facing difficult circumstances. Together with the Estonian Relief Committee in the USA, we are continuing to solicit donations to assist women and children who are survivors of domestic and intimate partner violence in Lääne-, Hiiu-, Saare-, Pärnu-, Järva- ja Virumaa, Estonia. With your help, they too can begin to live a peaceful, independent and fulfilling life.