Teaching MIL and learning yourself: keep calm and stay open
Ensuring that young people whose first language is not Estonian are equally well informed is a priority for our country. The decision to make information available both in Ukrainian and English was initiated by the on-going Russo-Ukrainian war in Europe and the large-scale migration of war refugees to different European countries. We reason that if Estonia is going to host refugees, it would not be enough to share information only in certain centres and only among chosen groups – young refugees staying in Estonia will need access to online information that is always of high quality, trustworthy and validated. We have therefore created a dedicated information platform called www.teeviit.ee/youth-info to accompany our existing information service Teeviit.
The aim of the new information platform is to provide young people and residents of other language backgrounds with information that is both reliable and of high standard through a single channel available in four languages. The platform has ten sub-themes: education and youth work, employment, media literacy, financial literacy, human rights, physical and mental health, sexuality and relationships, environment and safety.
The website provides information about available services and opportunities, and contains personal stories, by both experts and young people, thus offering the reader useful ideas, inspiration, insight and advice. The platform is prepared in collaboration with young people who speak the language used in any given language channel as their mother tongue. The information is updated on a regular basis and promotional activities to raise people’s awareness of the channel’s existence are carried out across Estonia. Partnerships are already in place with a number of ministries involved in the crisis, umbrella organizations in the area of youth, as well as with youth workers and leaders of activity groups across Estonia.
Our current focus is on young people aged between 13 and 26 who need support in managing independent living, e.g. in terms of employment, mental health first aid or entering higher education. In addition to young people, the platform is a useful tool for youth workers and teachers, too. Since the content is the same in all four languages, it can be used in activities involving young people from different language backgrounds. Since the activities of Teeviit focus also on various campaigns and social events that take place all year round, we intend to distribute promotional material and key news in all four above-mentioned languages. For example, October is an annual mental health awareness month, and a nationwide mental health information campaign is planned again for this year.
The greatest merit of the platform is that it is based on the values of youth work and the principles of the European Youth Information Charter (ERYICA, i.e. European Youth Information and Counselling Agency). This gives us confidence that the young people who use our information services are supported in the best way possible, that they feel empowered and can find solutions to the challenges they face in life, either on their own or with adult support. We make sure that they are able to participate in different activities and training, know what is available to them, and that their integration into Estonian society and culture, as well as learning the Estonian language, is adequately supported.
"We wish to support the self-sufficiency and independence of all young people living in Estonia. This year we are also celebrating the European Year of Youth, which makes it even more important to focus on young people and to give them the support they deserve. Access to up-to-date information and being informed is the foundation on which everyday decisions and choices are based" said Kadri Koort, head of the youth information domain.
Teeviit – Estonia’s youth information service – is a nationwide online information platform for young people. Promoting an informed culture for young people with a foreign language background is a priority for Estonia and as of May 2022 the service offers youth information on a range of topics in Estonian, Russian, English and Ukrainian.