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Seven things to bear in mind when organising social campaigns for Russian-speaking youngsters
New Estonian language courses to commence at the end of August
Now is the perfect time to register for an Estonian language club
Employers actively seek support
Recently returned to the country? Have your say in the ‘Back to Estonia’ debate at the Opinion Festival!
Come and search for integration solutions at Creative Tech
New adviser in Narva
End-of-school-year celebrations for national minority Sunday schools
Come and enjoy spiritual music on the shores of Lake Peipsi!
‘Multicultural Pärnu’ summer festival to be held on 11 August 


Seven things to bear in mind when organising social campaigns for Russian-speaking youngsters


The Integration Foundation commissioned the Institute of Baltic Studies to analyse its spring 2017 social campaign in which Russian-speaking youngsters were encouraged to apply for jobs in the state sector. In the course of the analysis the parties involved in the campaign were interviewed, including Russian speakers aged 17-26 i.e. the target group of the campaign. The analyse is financed via the European Social Fund project ‘Activities promoting integration in Estonian society’.


The analysis produced a raft of useful tips that should be borne in mind when organising social campaigns for young people whose mother tongue is a language other than Estonian.


Test your message on the target group(s) ahead of time

Allow for the fact that you may not fully understand how Russian-speaking youngsters take the message of your well-intentioned campaign. The concern among young people who speak Russian is that they will never be favoured over ethnic Estonians when vying for a position and that applying for a job in the public sector is for them a project that is doomed to fail from the outset. As such, instead of simply encouraging people to apply, the advertising should be targeted more personally. For example: “Do you speak Russian? We need people who not only speak Estonian but Russian, too!”


Instead of emphasising nationality, highlight the added value that Russian speakers bring

Russian-speaking youngsters are sceptical when it comes to being invited to apply for positions because in their view the stereotypical Estonian ministry is one where there is no one of any other nationality. However, if they perceive what they would otherwise view as an obstacle – speaking Russian, knowledge of Russian culture, better understanding of the Russian community, etc. – as an advantage when applying, it shows them that Russian-speaking youngsters are indeed welcome in the public sector.


Instead of putting up posters on the streets, visits should be paid to schools

Do your best to analyse the most effective way of getting your message across to the youngsters. Among the elements used in the campaign in question, the posters put up on the streets were considered by the target group to be the least effective since they felt that neither the message nor the design were sufficiently thought through in terms of the target group. Analysis of the campaign led to the conclusion that a more effective approach would be to visit schools. “Since there are so many political and real estate posters, you just see another face and don’t even bother to read the writing." Young people do not trust advertisements: they trust what other people their age tell them.


When visiting schools, do not spend the whole time talking at the audience

Although most of the respondents said that direct contact (including visiting schools) was an effective approach, it is important to bear in mind that the contact itself should be meaningful, engaging and well organised. Young people do not want to sit passively and listen, but have their say and contribute to the discussion. A class could be divided up into smaller groups so that there is better contact with the presenter. It also makes sense to carry out school visits in the young people’s language so that they can get as involved as possible.


“It would be really good if someone came and spoke at the school who’d actually been to the school themselves. Like if they came and said that they’d graduated from the school five years previously and now they were working in such-and-such a ministry or wherever.” “What’s important is people’s personal experience. Take a member of the Riigikogu who’s from Narva, for example: people from Narva look at them in astonishment and have no idea how they got that far or how they cope with Estonian. And they say, you know what, it can be done, I’m living proof of it.”


Offer youngsters every chance to job-shadow

Many of the focus group interviews revealed that youngsters tend to link the public sector with the Estonian Academy of Security Sciences and the subjects that are taught there. Work in ministries is considered boring bureaucracy and ‘paper-pushing’. In order to get a better idea of what such work actually involves, the youngsters feel it would be a good idea to give them the chance to job-shadow.


It is not enough to just bring Estonian-speaking and Russian-speaking youngsters together if you want to achieve integration

Russian-speaking youngsters feel that they are not welcome among Estonian speakers and would not feel comfortable in their company. Ironically, this feeling has arisen as a result (among other things) of joint projects, where the youngsters have felt that even if they try to speak Estonian, Estonians are not interested in getting to know Russians and tend to keep to themselves.


They say it is not enough to simply bring people together in one place, but that ‘getting-to-know-you’ activities could be used such as team games and discussions. Russian-speaking young people would also very much like to introduce their Estonian peers to Russian/Estonian-Russian culture in a positive light and for integration to be approached from both sides rather than simply expecting “Russians to learn our culture”.


Website addresses need not be in Russian

It seems logical to Estonians that the addresses of websites aimed at Russian youngsters should be in Russian. The analysis nevertheless revealed that Russian names written in Latin script (e.g. can make it difficult for Russian-speaking youngsters to grasp the point at first (in this case the emphasis on the word ‘career’). Again ironically, the use of Russian actually alienated young people with a Russian background: “Why set up websites in Estonia with Russian names if the whole point of them is to get Russians involved in Estonian culture? I don’t get it.”


Regarding last year’s campaign: In a situation where there are proportionally far fewer Russian-speaking young people in the Estonian public sector than there ought to be given the population, the Integration Foundation commissioned a campaign with the aim of encouraging youngsters with mother tongues other than Estonian to apply for positions in the public sector. The campaign was financed by the European Social Fund.


It was carried out by BIG IDEA Grupp OÜ from March-June 2017 and primarily involved a campaign website, an outdoor advertising campaign (comprising posters and both stickers and handgrip ads on buses), a television programme called Varju päev or ‘Shadow Day’ and the short videos produced as part of it, plus informative seminars for graduating classes in schools and for students in two higher education institutions (Narva College of the University of Tartu and Tallinn University).

New Estonian language courses to commence at the end of August
Registration will open on the Integration Foundation website on 8th of August for Estonian language courses at the A1-C1 levels. A total of 2000 study places will be available in 125 groups: 550 in Narva, 544 elsewhere in Ida-Viru County (Sillamäe, Kohta-Järve, Ahtme and Jõhvi), 810 in Tallinn and 96 in other parts of the country. 


Each course will last for 120 hours and each group will have a maximum of 16 participants. Studies will have a duration of approximately 4.5 months, between 21 August and 20 December 2018.

The courses will be run by the NPOs Atlasnet and Folksuniversitetet Estonia, the Edukool Foundation, OÜ Kersti Võlu Koolituskeskus and Multilingua Keelekeskus OÜ. There will also be beginners’ courses at the Estonian Language Centres in Narva and Tallinn.

Registration for the courses will open online at


Please note: When registering you will first need to choose the town or city in which you want to take the course, then the language level (A1 – beginner; A2 – elementary; B1 – intermediate; B2 – upper-intermediate; C1 – advanced). Then choose suitable days of the week and times and a suitable venue.

In order to choose the right level you should check your language level by taking a test that you are given 20 minutes to complete.

A few pointers for those registering for courses

How do I register? 

1. First, select the region or city in which you want to take your course.

2. Next, check your language level – the placement test is linked to the registration form.

3. Once your language level has been determined, you will be offered a range of courses to choose from. Simply choose the course that best suits you in terms of language level and location.

4. Then add (in Latin script) your first name and surname, ID code, e-mail address and telephone number.

5. Please note: you need to fill in all of the fields.

6. Places on the courses will be filled in order of registration, with up to 16 people on the preliminary list and a further five people on the back-up list for each group. Those registered on this list will commence studies within one month of a course starting in the event that someone from the main list fails to attend the course or drops out i.e. frees up a place, which is then offered to someone on the back-up list. 

7. After this you will see a message on the screen telling you whether your registration was successful. You will also receive an e-mail to this effect. An automated message will note the start date, venue and contact details for your course.

You can quickly assess your language level online at

You can study Estonian free of charge via or

Estonian language courses are financed via the European Social Fund project ‘Activities promoting integration in Estonian society’ and from the resources of the Ministry of Culture and the Estonian Language Centres.

For further information please contact: Jana Tondi, Head of Language and Cultural Immersion, telephone: +372 659 9069, e-mail:


Now is the perfect time to register for an Estonian language club


Estonian language and culture clubs may only be starting up again at the end of August, but registration for the clubs is already open.


The majority of new clubs will be opened in Narva and other parts of Ida-Viru County (like Ahtme and Jõhvi) in autumn. Clubs will also be opening their doors in Tallinn.


Those looking for support and encouragement to make bolder use of Estonian in everyday life can learn and practise the language at club events and also find out more about Estonian culture.


Register for a club

The clubs are being organised by Change Partners OÜ, the NPO Atlasnet, OÜ Mitteldorf, OÜ Keelepisik and ImmiSchool - Uusimmigrantide Koolituskeskus OÜ in cooperation with the Integration Foundation.

To register, choose a suitable club. You will find the times and venues for the clubs here:


To get an idea of how the clubs work, take a look at,, and


Jana Tondi, the Head of Language and Cultural Immersion with the Integration Foundation, recently visited a club in Tartu and was warmly welcomed by its enthusiastic members. One participant, Irina Duškina, said that she very rarely missed club meetings and spent her evenings taking in-service training courses at Tartu Vocational Education Centre so as to get to grips with Estonian even more effectively in parallel with her professional development.


Jana Tondi says the language clubs are the right place to look for motivation to learn the language and the feeling that you are doing okay. “A supportive environment helps you shake off any insecurities really quickly, and before you know it you find yourself speaking Estonian,” she said.


Club activities are financed from the European Social Fund project ‘Activities promoting integration in Estonian society’.


For further information please contact: Jana Tondi, Head of Language and Cultural Immersion, telephone: +372+372659 9069, e-mail:



Employers actively seek support


In our last newsletter we shone the spotlight on a new opportunity available to employers: that starting from 1 June, the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund and the Integration Foundation would be working together to support the improvement of employees’ Estonian language skills.


Employers started turning to us almost immediately, some with hundreds of employees needing support. What worries the employers is that despite having earned certificates evidencing the sufficiency of their language skills, many employees lack the courage to speak Estonian and are not in the habit of following information in the language. The result is slower work processes and poor exchange of information between departments and regions. As such, employers are highly motivated to develop their employees’ skills in speaking and understanding spoken Estonian and in offering them support so that they overcome their own personal language barriers in regard to communicating in the national language.


In the past the foundation has helped many employers by analysing their employees’ skills and the options open to the employer in regard to Estonian language studies. In June, advisers from the foundation paid visits to Maxima supermarkets in Tallinn and Narva, to the Police and Border Guard Board in Narva and to Narva Hospital. Employers are looking for a partner who, alongside existing opportunities to learn Estonian, will launch a process that motivates and encourages employees to use their Estonian based on the knowledge they have already gained, primarily in the workplace. The employers are prepared to make the Estonian language studies available to their employees on site, with particular interest in the organisation of language cafés.


Further information about the advisory and information services of the Integration Foundation is available online at, by calling 800 9999 or by e-mailing


Depending on an employer’s wishes, we also offer:

  • adaptation and integration information and counselling for employees on the employer’s premises;
  • after launching language studies for employees, advice on the implementation of methodologies and guidance on how to support employees in starting and continuing to study the language independently; and
  • the opportunity to participate in training consisting of several stages for the application of the language café methodology, plus mentoring. Advice and training can be offered to a company’s managers, department heads, HR managers, training managers, language café leaders and others.


Implementation of support for employers is being financed via the European Social Fund project ‘Terms and conditions of the provision of support for activities promoting integration in Estonian society’.

Recently returned to the country? Have your say in the ‘Back to Estonia’ debate at the Opinion Festival!
The Estonian Media stage at the Opinion Festival in Paide will be the venue for a debate entitled ‘Back to Estonia’ taking place from 14:00-15:30 on Friday 10 August. Those with personal experience of returning to the country after many years abroad are very welcome to contribute to the discussion.

The debate will be moderated by journalist Neeme Raud, with a panel including Integration Foundation director Irene Käosaar, politicians Marina Kaljurand, Mailis Reps and Yoko Alender and others. Wielding the microphone for audience contributions will be Postimees opinion piece chief editor Neeme Korv.

Come and search for integration solutions at Creative Tech
Loomehäkk, the biggest creative industry development marathon in the Baltic States, will be held for the sixth time from 14-16 September. This time one of the themes the event will be focussing on is integration in society. Loomehäkk vol. 6: Creative Tech will be moving into the Mektory building on the Tallinn University of Technology campus, where over a 48-hour period more than a hundred developers will be searching for digital solutions to integration-related challenges, among others. The team behind the best integration app will be awarded a 3000-euro prize by the Ministry of Culture.

This year’s Loomehäkk will be looking for ways of using technology to find digital solutions that help make society more cohesive. In addition to those interested in digital integration solutions, the event is open to anyone with a passion for creating digital solutions in all areas of the creative economy.
Ministry of Culture Deputy Secretary-General Piret Hartman says that organisations dealing with integration are having to implement more and more digital solutions all the time and that Loomehäkk is one way of bringing together the ideas floating about in the field and the people who want to make something of them. “Integration’s an issue that’s long been viewed through a traditional prism, but the digital world offers a completely new range of opportunities for dealing with issues related to young people and refugees,” she said.
Anyone interested is welcome to attend Loomehäkk – from creative people and programmers to designers and entrepreneurs – to work together over two days to develop a truly innovative solution that utilises creativity in technology and technology in the creative industry. Lending their support at the event will be some of Estonia’s best mentors. There will also be prizes and inspirational company, and the participants will have the entire Mektory building at their disposal.
Loomehäkk is free for students. Registration is via the event’s Facebook page at . Loomehäkk is open to those wanting to bring their own ideas and teams as well as those who prefer to come along, listen in and then join a team. The event will end with an awards ceremony in which the prizes have been sponsored by more than 15 partners, including Tallink, Estonian Public Broadcasting, the Estonian Film Institute, Apollo, Tallinn Music Week, EstBAN, Prototron, Veebimajutus, Microsoft, Vaba Lava, Tallinn University, the Estonian Academy of Arts and Latitude 59.
Loomehäkk is organised by the digital media incubator DIGIX, the Open Academy of Tallinn University, Tallinn Entrepreneurship Incubators, Tehnopol, Creative Estonia and the Ministry of Culture and forms part of the Edu&Tegu STARTERcreative programme. It is co-financed by the European Union, Tallinn Enterprise Department and the Integration Foundation.
For further information please contact: Martin Aadamsoo, DIGIX,, mobile: +372 56508383                                   
Olga Sõtnik, Ministry of Culture, e-mail:


New adviser in Narva


Taking up a post as an adviser at our Narva office on 4 June was Jelena Kulpina.


Jelena is a graduate of the Viljandi Culture Academy of the University of Tartu and has a professional background as an interest group leader in a multicultural environment. Her work to date has been in the fields of careers advice and youth work, although she has been interested in integration, culture and language-learning issues since her university days. 

Helping others is something very close to her heart, which is why she decided to join the foundation as an adviser. She feels that given the information they need and by drawing up plans of action, people are capable of changing their lives for the better.


End-of-school-year celebrations for national minority Sunday schools


The academic year culminated in festive style for national minority Sunday schools at Maarjamäe Castle and Film Museum on 16 June.


Irene Käosaar, the director of the Integration Foundation, looked back on the year and presented letters of gratitude to the schools. The Sunday school teachers were greeted by Mihkel Rebane, the head of the General Education Department at the Ministry of Education and Research, while Government Communication Office adviser Marianna Makarova presented an overview of a study entitled ‘The impact of participating in the national cultural activities of national minorities in Estonia on their ethnic identity’ and Estonian History Museum pedagogue Galina Zaitseva showcased the study programmes available at the museum (including the Film Museum), which served as the venue for the event. Roman Ljagu, the chairman of the Association of National Minority Sunday School Teachers of Estonia, talked about the association’s plans for the year. There then followed a guided tour of Maarjamäe Castle and the Film Museum.



Come and enjoy spiritual music on the shores of Lake Peipsi!

Music lovers are invited to Mustvee, the capital of the Lake Peipsi region, from 7-12 August for an international festival of spiritual music.

A range of world-class concerts will be held in places of worship around the town. Each venue – the Lutheran church, the Baptist congregation, the Orthodox church, the Unitarian church and the Old Believers’ chapel – will showcase music linked to its confession and culture. The event will culminate with a gala concert featuring all of the festival performers.

Taking part in the festival will be the church bell ensemble Bjarozki from Belarus, the Orthodox Singers, the Nekrassov Kazakh folklore ensemble from Moscow, the Konevski Cloister Quartet and others.

The festival is being financed from the budget of the Ministry of Culture as part of the national minority cultural association project competition.


‘Multicultural Pärnu’ summer festival to be held on 11 August 


Set your sights on Pärnu this summer, as it will be playing host to the international ‘Multicultural Pärnu’ festival on 11 August.


Presenting folk art from different parts of Europe will be children’s and youth groups from Latvia, Belarus, Russia and Estonia and adult ensembles from Tallinn, Narva, Haapsalu, Sindi and Pärnu.

The festival will take place on Rüütli Square, where the ‘Manifest for All the Peoples of Estonia’ constituting Estonia’s declaration of independence was read out on 23 February 1918. The concert will start at 12:00.


The festival is being organised by the NPO Raduga (Union of National Minorities) with the support of the Integration Foundation, the Ministry of Culture and the City of Pärnu.


For further information please contact: Galina Ivanova | Director, NPO Raduga (Union of National Minorities), mobile: +372 5800 8847, e-mail: