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The Community Programme made Estonians and Ukrainians play football together

football team Karpaty

Sergei, one of the leaders of the local Estonian-Ukrainian football club FC Karpaty in Tartu, says: "We practised and quietly found a common language and already communicated like friends. When I bought a new home and needed help moving, my new training partners came to help in 10 minutes."

team pic

This example illustrates the logic and purpose of the Estonian Refugee Council's Community Programme.

The ERC's team organizes various community events and group activities within the community programme: women's and men's groups on various topics, family events, adaptation club meetings and language cafes. The activities of the community programme give people with a migrant background the opportunity to create new networks in Estonia and find new acquaintances and friends, provide a sense of belonging and thus improve mental well-being, get support and motivation to learn Estonian and much more.

One of the main challenges when settling in Estonia is establishing informal contacts with locals, while contacts with locals are an important prerequisite for further integration. These contacts may not occur by themselves, and therefore help must be provided in the beginning. ERC brings people with the same interests but different origins together and offers a platform and an opportunity for joint activities.

In the summer, community programme coordinator Xenia together with local leaders organized joint trainings with locals and Ukrainians who arrived in Estonia. The training series ended with the tournament held at the artificial turf stadium in Annelinna, where teams from Tartu and Rakvere participated. As a result, a friendship was formed, regular training continued, and at the end of the summer, a joint soccer team was registered, which began to play in the national indoor soccer league.

Sergei continues: "The idea of creating our own team arose with the same group, because we got to know each other through a common interest. We became more and more active and took part in four tournaments during the summer. Then the idea arose to go with the team to the indoor soccer league championship. Since the beginning of August, we have been looking for training opportunities in Tartu or its surroundings. Finally, we got the opportunity to train in the Turu sports hall and Annelinna gymnasium. The team's ambitions are high, and we are actively communicating with existing and potential new sponsors."

So everyone is welcome to join FC Karpaty in the indoor football season that has started! 


The activities of the Estonian Refugee Council's Community Programme are financed by The United Nations Refugee Agency.


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