How to live in peace: the Estonian way

The opinions of the article do not necessarily reflect the position of Trajectorya. This post is the result of a co-operative learning exercise developed by participants of the Training Course on Human Rights Education (Estonia, July 2012).

Estonia is a country with a Russian minority of 30 percent of the total population of the country. We decided to find out whether the Estonian majority and Russian minority are able to live in peace and harmony. As participants of a training course on human rights education we visited Integration and Migration Foundation Our People (IMF) in order to discuss the current situation of minorities living in Estonia. Also we asked people on the streets what are their views on the subject.

 During the meeting with Rain Sannik, director of the IMF, the problem of stateless residents of Estonia was discussed. Around 110 thousand people, mostly former citizens of Soviet Union, do not have any citizenship. This situation restricts people’s civic and social rights.

Discussion with Rain Sannik, director of Integration and Migration Foundation Our People

 

Integration and Migration Foundation Our People carries out the activities of integration with the aim of ensuring that the people who live in Estonia share the same values and form an active part of civic society, and that national minorities have the chance to preserve their languages and cultures.

What does the Foundation do?

–  Provides language study courses for children and adults

–  Supports cooperation projects of NGOs which work with non-citizens of Estonia

–  Preparing people for taking Estonian language and civics exams necessary for them to become Estonian citizens

Interviewing people on the street

 

–  Provide support and consultation to people who have been away from their homeland for years and want to go back.

Young Russian-speaking medicine student, asked about her own experience on the minority issue in Estonia, admitted to having some dificulties starting her studies in the university, but now she has a lot of Estonian friends and feels well integrated into society. Another woman was even more positive – being Russian in Estonia makes no diference and both sides live peacefuly.

Diana, Lisandra, Elena and Arunas

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