Since the end of April, we have organised group counselling for Ukrainians all over Estonia on four topics: adaptation, employment, digital skills and supporting a child’s adaptation. In addition to providing specific knowledge, this has helped refugees to expand their local network of contacts and friendships and has created a better foundation for building their lives.
The purpose of group counselling is to offer refugees a safe environment and opportunity to exchange their experiences with others in a similar situation. They are carried out by experts in their field and by Ukrainians themselves, who use agreed methods and provide guidance on where to find quality and verified information. Workshops help refugees establish contacts and build social networks.
Anna: “I am very grateful to the organisers not only for the training, but also for the opportunity to meet other refugees. The trainer was very attentive and approached our questions very personally.”
By today, 42 adaptation workshops have been held to discuss the next steps for refugees who have arrived in Estonia. Guidance is given on the skills and knowledge needed to adapt successfully here. There is a joint discussion on how to adapt to the specificities of Estonians and what should be considered when communicating with locals for smoother integration.
Irina: “The workshop was very informative in terms of Estonia’s overall perception. The trainers answered all my questions that had emerged so far in the adaptation process. The meeting took place in a very friendly and warm atmosphere.”
In the digital skills workshop, the focus is on possibilities offered by the e-state - internet banking, introduction to the patient portal, digital signatures and other e-competences. By today, 30 digital skills workshops have taken place. These take place in cooperation with BCS Koolitus AS.
Vera: “I really liked that the topics discussed in the digital skills training were very practical - operations with the ID card, digital signing of documents, searching for necessary information about doctors and medical institutions, and much more. The trainer was very attentive and answered all the questions.”
At group meetings about a child’s adaptation, the trainers share useful practices on how to recognise a child’s trauma and provide them with the necessary assistance. The Estonian education and health care system is also be introduced. By today, 12 group sessions about a child’s adaptation have taken place. These trainings are executed by MTÜ Igale Lapsele Pere.
Irina: “I thank you very much for such an important and necessary workshop. I got a lot of information on how to be a more informed parent and support my child better!”
At group meetings about the labour market, participants are introduced to the Estonian labour market and the rights and obligations of employees. In the training, attention is paid to recognizing dubious job offers and information is provided about where to turn if an employee’s rights have been violated. Meetings are supported by specialists from the Unemployment Insurance Fund and the Labour Inspectorate.
Nataliia: “This meeting was very necessary for me. Among other things, it gave me a better understanding of the level of wages and labour law in Estonia. I believe that in this way I am more aware and confident in looking for a job.”
Currently, counselling has been provided in Tallinn, Tartu, Rakvere, Pärnu, Tapa, Kuressaare, Kose, Otepää, Haapsalu, Keila and Narva, and more than 500 Ukrainian refugees have participated. We’re constantly expanding our selection of locations.
When organising counselling, we are guided by the participants’ personal needs as much as possible. For example, we organise training sessions at different times of the day, on weekdays, working day evenings and weekends. In addition to Estonian professionals, we have included Ukrainians themselves in the organizing team, so that the content offered is as relevant and necessary as possible for Ukrainians. Group counselling is an effective complement to the compulsory adaptation programme offered by the state. In addition, we are delighted to have the opportunity to offer a meaningful job to nice and productive Ukrainians.
Information on specific trainings is available here.
Group counselling activities are supported by The Taipei Mission in Latvia and the Council of Europe Development Bank Migrant and Refugee Fund.