Estonia

Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church (EELC) is part of the Lutheran World Federation, which is the biggest church organization offering practical help in refugee camps all over the world, having been an official partner of the United Nations for decades. After World War II Lutheran World Federation offered their help also to the Estonians escaping war and violence. Estonia will not be a spectator of the Crisis of the Mediterranean but a country that wants to offer help. The same principle goes also for EELC. Estonian Evangelical Lutheran church have 164 congregations and church government (consistory). Department for Diaconia and Social Action is part of the Consistory Office. Head of Department Rev Avo Üprus. He will be responsible for coordination of project in Estonia.

 

What are the activities and experience of the partner organisation in the areas relevant for this project? What are the skills and/or
expertise of key persons involved in this project?

 

The collaboration among churches and local authorities (local governments) have been developed rather unevenly during Estonian re-independence time. We have bilateral Committee of Social Issues for Ministry of Social Affairs (MSA) and Estonian Lutheran Church (EELC). Avo Üprus is one co-chairman of Committee.

The social committee of EELC and MSA decided:
· To include the churches of Estonian Council of Churches (ECC) in seeking solutions
· To understand and assure to everyone that each person deserves care and help but as providers of help Christian
Congregations have the best possibilities to help people with similar cultural background ad belief system.
· EELC and ECC are included as partners into the action plan prepared for the Government of Estonia
· EELC and ECC will propose a chance to offer housing-, counselling- and support to member-congregations

Activities and services directed to the help seekers
– Trainings and counselling for voluntary trainer and helpers.
– Personal help: pastoral counselling and therapy. Crisis intervention, post-traumatic stress, anger management, emotion
management, family relations…
– Religious guidance in refugee centers
– Mentoring system (guidance while adapting)
– General help: inclusion in congregation, sermons that take into account cultural differences and language-ski
– Social counselling (overview of the financial support and services) and trainings (adaption, language), guidance in everyday life,
healthcare and employment.
– Housing: finding, adapting and decorating living spaces.