support activities for ukrainian refugees in Estonia

about the PROJEct

Empowerment and Capacity Building of Ukrainian War Refugees and Teachers and Support Staff in Estonian Schools

Project period:

1 October 2022 – 30 September 2023

Funding body:
Active Citizens Fund

The aim of the project is to empower vulnerable groups in Estonian society by engaging and empowering children, young people and women who have fled the war in Ukraine, and by supporting and raising awareness among teachers and support staff in Estonian schools

Project activities

Children and young people

A programme of city camps for children and young people, focusing on making sense of participants' experiences through creative methods and visits to various artistic and cultural events.


A women's support group focusing on making sense of women's experiences through creative activities and group discussions.

Teachers and support staff

A series of workshops for teachers and support specialists focusing on raising awareness and reflecting on participants' experiences of cultural sensitivity and coping with refugee children in schools.

City camps for children and young people

The programme of city camps for children and young people focuses on making sense of participants’ experiences through creative methods and visits to various artistic and cultural events. Each city camp has its own theme: visual arts and writing, music and movement, photography, film-making.

The city camps are planned as 3-day events and will take place 4 times during the project period, during school holidays, in the Räägu school premises and as excursions.

The city camps are planned for two age groups: a group of children aged 7-12 and a group of young people aged 13-17. The size of each group is between 10 and 15 people, and the same child or young person can participate in one or more shifts of the camp on the basis of registration.

City camps:

25 – 27 October 2022 

Our first city camps in cooperation with the Räägu school went by so fast during the autumn school holidays that the children thought they could have lasted much longer. In addition to many creative activities in the school building, we visited the KUMU art museum, the EKA, the Ukrainian Centre, the Zoo and Fotografiska.

4 – 6 January 2023 

The theme of the second city camp was dance and movement and it has to be said that everyone danced! We managed to learn three dances in a short time! In addition, we visited the Nukuteater, the Kanuti Guild Hall, painted marzipan and admired the Gingerbread exhibition.

24 – 26 April 2023

The third urban camp is aimed primarily at younger children. This time we will explore the urban space: we will visit the Presidential Palace in Kadrioru, the Museum of Architecture and the Kalamaja Museum.

August 2023

The two groups in the fourth city camp will be working on photography and animation and film respectively. These camps are aimed specifically at older children and young people. Information on the exact dates and topics will be available soon.

Women's support group

The women’s support group focuses on reflecting on women’s experiences through self-reflection and group discussions. The support group’s emphasis is primarily on supporting dialogue and sharing of experiences between participants through the use of group work, but it also uses creative methods to support women’s self-reflection and move towards empowerment.

The support group is facilitated by a Ukrainian-speaking psychotherapist, Irina Zolotova, herself a war refugee living in Estonia

The support group takes place 2 times a month as a series of 2-hour meetings in the Räägu school. In parallel to the support group, a supervised playroom for children up to 12 years of age is also open when needed. The size of the support group is 10-15 people and membership is free and based on need.

In addition tot he regular support group meeting, two nature walks were organized in May and June. In Aegviidu and Klooga women were able to experience various mindfulness practices and take part in creative activities. Being together also provided an opportunity to establish new contacts with other women from Ukraine, as well as with local people. We will continue with the walks in August.

Women's nature walks

Workshops for teachers and support staff

The workshops for teachers and support staff will focus on raising awareness of cultural sensitivity and coping skills of war refugees and reflecting on the experiences of the participants. Each workshop will have its own theme: self-care and stress management, trauma awareness and recognizing child trauma in the classroom context, working with refugee families.

The workshops are planned as a series of 3 meetings of 3 hours, 3 times during the project. The workshops will take place on the premises of the Räägu school during non-school hours to allow for the participation of teachers and support staff. The number of participants in the workshops will be between 15 and 20, and membership will be free and on a needs basis, i.e. teachers and support staff may participate in one or all of the workshops on a registration basis.

March 2023


Workshop content: In this experiential workshop, we will explore the basic principles of Emotion-focused Skill Training for Parents, integrating them with perspectives from compassion and contemporary trauma-focused psychotherapy. Specifically, we will address the following topics: validation, repairing relational trauma, and how to use art, including writing, to connect and heal in working with trauma.

Workshop facilitator: Olga Lehmann, PhD, is an advocate for mental health and wellbeing, currently working as a psychotherapist and researcher in Norway. She has published more than 40 academic papers in areas such as: feelings and emotions in everyday life, silence, therapeutic writing, existential psychology, grief therapy and qualitative research methods. She is the editor-in-chief of Deep experiencing: dialogues within the self (Springer, 2017), Poetry and Imagined Worlds (Palgrave, 2017) and A Poetic Language of Ageing (Bloomsbury, 2023).


April 2023


Workshop content: The aim of the workshop is to support teachers’ coping and empower them through raising their awareness of emotional wellbeing and developing self-care skills. The workshop will provide each participant with the opportunity to reflect on ways of coping with the stress and strain that current professional challenges have brought. The workshop will allow you to broaden your toolbox and experience in practice different techniques for coping with difficult emotions.

Workshop facilitator: Mariann Märtsin, PhD is a psychologist and family counsellor. She has worked as a researcher and lecturer at several international universities. Since 2019, she has been working as an Associate Professor of Psychosocial Work in the Social Protection Study Area of Tallinn University. She supports family coping at the Papaver Training and Counselling Centre and at the Sinu Arst mental health clinic. In her work, she is primarily guided by the traditions of systemic family therapy and attachment theory. In addition to her work as a lecturer and psychologist, Mariann is a project manager in the NGO Loovalt koos, where she leads various projects to empower vulnerable groups.

October 2023

The workshop will focus on emotional self-regulation. We will look at how teachers can support children’s development of emotional self-regulation. The workshop is open to teachers and support professionals from schools in Tallinn and Harju County.

in media


Ukrainian war refugee children were busy preparing for Christmas at school on Monday. Pupils, their parents and teachers made Christmas decorations, decorated the tree and sang Estonian and Ukrainian folk songs.

Monday’s Christmas event, which provided activities for as many as a hundred people, started with the NGO Loovalt koos introducing a year-long project they launched in October, to support war refugees from Ukraine. “We are working in three areas – children and young people, parents and teachers and support staff,” explained Mariann Märtsin, the NGO’s project manager.

project partners

Olga V. Lehmann, PhD

Norwegian psychologist and psychotherapist specializing in working with parents in the context of trauma and loss

project funding