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APRIL 2015

Dmitri Burnašev: Our foundation should be the competence centre for the integration field
Tallinn Sunday school celebrates Easter the Belarusian way
Integration Foundation helps teachers teach 
Tallinn University to organise stimulating media course for secondary school students

Dmitri Burnašev: Our foundation should be the competence centre for the integration field

In an interview for the April edition of the Integration Foundation’s newsletter, director Dmitri Burnašev talks about the course the foundation has set itself to even more effectively contribute to social cohesion in Estonia.

How has the Integration and Migration Foundation changed as an organisation this year?

We’ve had a new structure since the start of the year, and an updated strategy based on the development plan for integration. We’re aiming to be the recognised competence centre in the field of integration. We want to amass information and experience related to integration activities and to provide our own input in debates and discussions that have anything to do with the areas we work in. We’ve also created a functioning development centre for technical positions that deals with the development of the different areas of activity of the foundation. We’re now represented in Ida-Viru County, too – we have information and advisory centres in both Narva and our offices here in Tallinn, offering free consultations on integration issues. We’re mostly providing advice on options regarding work, education, social services, legal aid, welfare, health care, state support, language-learning, adaptation courses and applying for citizenship to people whose integration has been limited.

What changes in the way things are organised can the foundation’s partners and applicants expect?

Our restructuring will mean quite a few changes for our partners and applicants. For example, we’re now only accepting project applications via the web environment we’ve set up for that purpose, and we’re hoping it’ll soon be possible to submit reports to us digitally as well. That will streamline the way we work even more. It’s important to us as well to reduce the burden of reporting our partners face, and to this end we’ll only be checking reports on a sample basis starting in the near future. On the whole we want our relationship with our partners and applicants to be closer-knit, because our goal is to be a personal and approachable partner, not just some bureaucratic machinery.

What are the priorities for the foundation in the short term?

We’ve mapped out the main areas in which we contribute to achieving the objectives set out in the development plan for integration – they’re civic education, support for national minority cultures, language and culture immersion, support for cooperation between people of different nationalities living in Estonia, management of integration-related information and contributing to the creation of a shared media space. We’ll also continue to advise people on migration issues and provide financial support for people coming back to Estonia and re-migration. We want everyone who lives in Estonia to feel like proper citizens of the country – both those who aren’t citizens yet and those who are but who want to become true citizens.

You can keep an eye on the latest competitions and procurements by subscribing to the Integration Foundation newsletter or following updates on the foundation’s website.

Tallinn Sunday school celebrates Easter the Belarusian way

The Belarusian Sunday school Praleska has been operating in Tallinn since 2011. It is designed to give the children of Belarusian families living in Estonia the chance to study the language and learn about the culture and traditions of their country of origin through games and dances. With the Orthodox Easter approaching, we thought we’d take a look at the exciting Easter traditions of Belarus and how the festival will be marked by the kids from Praleska.

Easter is known in Belarusian as Вялікдзень, which means ‘big day’. Even before Christianity was introduced to Belarus, Easter marked the start of work in the fields for spring, and Belarusians essentially recognised it as the start of the new year. There are a number of traditional ways in which Belarusians celebrate Easter: they bake special Easter bread, known as ‘kulich’; they paint and play games with eggs; and they dance traditional folk dances like the Metelitsa and Zaveinitsa. Another Easter custom, similar to that of carol singers at Christmas, is that of the ‘volochebniks’: men in groups of 8-10 going from door to door singing traditional songs.

This year Easter will be observed in Belarus on 12 April, while the Praleska Sunday school will be celebrating the first feast of spring the day before, on 11 April.  The kids will paint and play games with eggs, sing traditional songs based on spring-time work in the fields and learn to dance the Metelitsa.

“Easter is one of the most exciting times of the year for Belarusian kids,” said Pavel Marozau, the director of the Sunday school. “Ours learn something new about it every year, such as how Easter’s marked in Estonia, and the ways in which Estonian traditions differ from those of Belarus. What we do is dedicated to ensuring that kids with a Belarusian background who live in Estonia blend in well in society here but also preserve their roots.”

A range of interesting events is added to the Praleska programme every year to help local Belarusians maintain their national identity in Estonia.

More information about the events offered by the Sunday school can be found on its website at

The activities of the Praleska Sunday school are supported by the Ministry of Education and Research and the Integration and Migration Foundation.

For further information please contact:

Kristina Pirgop, area manager, Development Centre | Telephone: +372 659 9024 | E-mail:

Pavel Marozau, director, Praleska Sunday school | Mobile: +372 5800 9188 | E-mail:

Integration Foundation helps teachers teach teachers

The first in-service training course for directors and teachers from national minority Sunday schools was held at Ovaalstuudio in Tallinn on 28 & 29 March, organised by the Integration and Migration Foundation. The structure of such courses has changed this year, with a new format being implemented: ‘teachers teaching teachers’. This gives the participants the chance to share their knowledge with their colleagues themselves.

Many of the Sunday schools that operate in Estonia have been doing so for more than a decade, meaning that long-serving teachers have plenty of experience to pass on to their peers. As such, the first training course saw them sharing their ideas on best practice in working with children from the ages of 3-7. The future plans of the Sunday schools and their role in Estonian society were also discussed, as were the values of the schools and the development of their teachers. As part of the course, Marje Sarapuu, a teacher of integrated subject and language studies, led a session on the teacher-student relationship.

The course was attended by 29 teachers and directors from 21 Sunday schools in Sillamäe, Tallinn, Haapsalu, Jõhvi, Pärnu, Tapa, Maardu and Valga.

“I really liked the new ‘teachers teaching teachers’ format,” said Roman Ljagu, director of the Russian Culture Sunday School in Tallinn. “ Getting the chance to share your experience with your colleagues is really useful. It gives you a boost, too, which is something you can always do with when you work in a Sunday school! The cosy venue was really inspiring as well and helped when it came to thinking about things.”

The Integration and Migration Foundation is supporting the activities of 23 Sunday schools in 2015 within the framework of the base financing of national minority Sunday schools.

Such Sunday schools provide children who live in Estonia but whose national roots lie in another country with the chance to learn the language and study the culture and traditions of that country.

For further information please contact: Kristina Pirgop, area manager, Development Centre | Telephone: +372 659 9024 | E-mail:

Tallinn University to organise stimulating media course for secondary school students

Tallinn University is set to launch a media studies course in four locations around Estonia for Estonian- and Russian-speaking secondary school students during which they will learn how to analyse media texts and how to make use of objective information channels from Estonia and around the world to obtain information.

The course will be held in Tallinn, Tartu, Pärnu and Narva, led by experts from the field of communication. The students taking part will not only be able to attend lectures and contribute to group activities but also visit the offices of a range of media publications to meet with journalists and opinion leaders in person.

The aim of the course is to provide students with necessary skills to analyse whether the information transmitted via media is objective,” said Natalja Kitam, the media relations maganger of MISA.

The organisation of the media studies course is being supported by the Ministry of Education and Research and the Integration and Migration Foundation.

For further information please contact:

Liilika Raudhein, coordinator, Implementation Centre | Telephone: +372 659 9841 | E-mail:

Valeria Mihhailova, project manager | Mobile: +372 5559 5632 | E-mail: