May Update - Ukrainian Refugee Fund
To date EERO has sent MTÜ Eesti Pagulasabi (Estonian Refugee Council) $320,000 (228,000 €) to support Ukrainian refugees in Estonia.
This has supported the evacuation of refugees safely to Estonia from the Ukrainian border and related expenses, initial consultations, workshops, assistance in obtaining long term housing, education support for children, and mental wellbeing support groups.
To date the education support fund has helped almost 1,500 children. They expect the total number of children to be more than 5,600 children when schools reopen in September. Those children currently not accommodated in Estonian schools participate in online Ukrainian school classes. There are many reasons why not all children have been accommodated yet, but the main reason is overcrowding or lack of space.
There are mental wellbeing support group meetings in Tallinn and there are plans to increase these groups throughout Estonia. Many of the psychologist who facilitate these support groups are also Ukrainian refugees who have the necessary training and educational background. Pagulasabi also provides counselling to refugees in their Tallinn center, runs a counselling hotline phone number, and assists people via e-mail, Viber and other online channels. Counselling services provide assistance on finding housing, finding a job or a school, legal issues, and other concerns.
At the moment the Refugee Council has organized group activities for children in accommodation centers, which will continue in the fall. During the summer, the Estonian Refugee Council also plans to organize three overnight camps and two day- camps for about 100 refugee children this summer. The total budget for Children/Youth activity groups and summer camps is 50,000 euros. Similar camps have been organized by the Refugee Council in both Estonia and the Ukraine in the past, and these refugee camps will be expanded and focus on the mental wellbeing of children and include Ukrainian psychologists. The Estonian school in New York is currently raising money to support 20 children going to summer camp through the Estonian Relief Committee USA (Eesti Abistamiskomitee USAs). EERO may also support this initiative, as it supports other activities for youth and Ukrainian refugees. Those donating in the US can donate at http://www.estoreliefusa.org/donate_eng.html
There are more than 40,000 Ukrainian refugees in Estonia. Refugees can be found in almost all municipalities in Estonia. Most refugees live in Harjumaa. Hence the housing shortage is critical in larger urban centers, and especially in the north. Over the past month, refugees are arriving mainly via Narva from Mariupol, Donetsk and Luhansk regions. These are refugees that Russia (evacuated) or deported to Russia and have somehow made their way to Ivangorod and then crossed the bridge to Narva. Most are en route to other countries. Although the number of refugees seems to have stabilized, it is difficult to determine how long the refugees will remain in Estonia.
Please continue to support the EERO Ukrainian Refugee Fund and visit the EEROcanada.com website.
Mari Ann Tammark