Esto Children’s Fund – Women’s Shelters in Estonia
One in three women around the world have experienced violence at least once in their life. This tragic percentage applies to women in Estonia, Canada and the United States. Emergency women’s shelters offer temporary shelter and support to women and their children who have suffered psychological, physical or sexual violence. These shelters also act as support centers and provide outreach services to women not living in shelters. These services include: emotional support and resources for professional guidance for these victims and are provided 24/7 free of charge and a telephone help line is staffed by fully trained personnel.
Both Canada and Estonia have national programs to support Emergency Women’s Shelters and transitional support with assistance managed by provincial and/or local governments. In Estonia since 2012, over 1,500 women per year have approached women’s shelters for help. About 10% of these women in Estonia have requested shelter. According to Andrea Kink, Victim Services Manager at the Ministry of Social Services, in 2019 the total number of women seeking help in Estonia was 2,176 of which 155 women and 103 children were given emergency housing. In the first six months of 2020, these womens shelters have provided a total of 917 crisis counselling sessions. These women’s shelters are only temporary and funded by the government of Estonia, help is needed to transition women and their children to independent living. Government funding is limited and based on family income, child support or spousal support, other needs such as: glasses, winter boots, special needs, unexpected expenses such as repairs to household appliances, internet access and other costs are beyond the means of a single working mother earning about 600 euros a month.
EERO established a Children’s Fund in January 2020 to assist children living in poverty in Estonia. In conjunction with the Estonian Relief Committee based in New York and Toetame.com based in Florida, we continue to collect money in support of these women and children during their transition to independent living. These funds are coordinated by Eesti Naisliit (Women’s League) directed by Mailis Alt to our pilot project at the Pärnu Womens Shelter. Plans are to expand this project to transitional programs at other shelters, if there are adequate donations.
The Esto Childrens Fund project is focusing their efforts to support those women with children who are transitioning to independent living and are facing dire hardship because of the pandemic crisis. Their incomes, including any financial support they receive, do not cover prescription glasses, special medical dietary needs and are insufficient for the balanced
nutritional needs of children. According to Margo Orupõld, Project Coordinator in Pärnu, this is particularly a concern in those situations where there is no spousal support, even when court ordered or other family support. As winter is approaching, in addition to nutritional and special needs, we would also like to ensure that these families are able to acquire winter boots and clothes. Currently there are 22 women and 38 children who are transitioning to independent living in Pärnu.
Please support these women and children by donating as follows: If in Canada, you can donate by email money transfer to firstname.lastname@example.org, transferring your money through the Northern Birch Credit Union to the EERO account or by mailing a cheque to EERO (ECF) at 17 Tufton Cres., Toronto, ON M4A 2E2. EERO, a registered Canadian charity #89233 8369 RR0001, issues tax receipts for donations in excess of $25 in February for the previous tax year. If in the U.S. please forward your tax deductible donation to the Estonian Relief Committee at 243 East 34th Street, New York, NY 10016-4852 or via PayPal at www.estoreliefusa.org. Estonian Relief Committee will issue a tax-deductible receipt for all donations of $250.00 or greater. Estonian Relief Committee in USA is a registered 501(c)3. Smaller donations may also be made through www.toetame.com via Pay Pal or by mailing a cheque to Toetame at 160 W Camino Real, #179, Boca Raton, FL 33432
Please ensure that you note in your donation, that you are donating to Esto Childrens Fund (ECF) and whether you wish to remain anonymous or whether we can publicize your name (but not amounts) as a donor. On behalf of EERO, the Estonian Relief Committee and Toetame.com, we would like to thank those who have already donated to the Esto Children’s Fund and we would like you to know that these much-needed funds will be transferred to Estonia shortly.
Mari Ann Tammark, EERO
Toomas Kilm, Estonian Relief Committee Rein Luning, Toetame.com