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Improvement of asylum seekers’ reception conditions through developed and combined support services

By strengthening the support services available to refugees and asylum seekers in Estonia, this project helped these persons to integrate into social networks and the political and legal system.

Project dates 01/01/2011 - 31/12/2011
Total budget€80 403
EU contribution75%
Name of the entity managing the projectJohannes Mihkelson Centre

Project Description

The Johannes Mihkelson Centre began developing a system of support persons (mentors) for asylum seekers and refugees in Estonia back in 2008. The centre has trained mentors, worked with a lawyer and psychotherapist, and offered integration courses and cultural activities. As the number of asylum seekers and refugees in Estonia is relatively small, it is feasible to offer individual support and help.

The ultimate goal of the Mihkelson Centre support system is to create a bridge allowing asylum seekers and refugees to integrate more effectively into social networks, to understand the cultural environment in which they find themselves, along with Estonia’s political and legal system. Those awarded refugee status are also able to attend Estonian language courses.

Mentors help immigrants to communicate with different institutions, cope with cultural and psychological problems and translate documents into Estonian.

Benefits and results

This project enabled six mentors to receive training in cultural differences and crisis counselling, and supported a number of group sessions where participants were able to discuss challenges and new methods for further improving the support provided.

Asylum seekers and refugees also benefited directly from the project – not only through increased support, but through involvement in leisure activities organised by the centre, as well as legal counselling.

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