Paide youngsters lend a hand on farm alongside Ukrainian refugees

Young people do farm work in the village of Nurmsi during this year's Paide malev
Young people do farm work in the village of Nurmsi during this year's Paide malev Source: Olev Kenk/ERR

Young people from Paide have been helping out on local farms this summer alongside war refugees from Ukraine.

Up to 75 youngsters from Paide have spent the first few weeks of the summer working on local farms as part of a 'malev'. A malev is a type of summer work-camp and refers to the unit itself, rather than a physical location. Dating back to the Soviet era, typical activities would include agricultural work.

 After the first week was spent cleaning up in the city, the majority of the malev has been spent on the farm, working alongside war refugees from Ukraine.

According to Maarja Loorits, head of the Paide Open Youth Center (P.A.N.K), the local youngsters have been extremely active during the malev. "(Some) have work experience (and) are very good and quick at mowing the grass or stacking firewood. But there are also those who have had to learn. They're ambitious, they're very ambitious," Loorits said.

On Thursday, the boys were storing firewood at Siimu Farm in Nurmsi, while the girls were picking strawberries and weeding the onion beds at Räägu Farm in a neighboring village.

Rostislav, a war refugee from Ukraine, told ERR that he was really enjoying working on the farm and socializing with new friends. "It's a great way to spend time," he said.

Sander, from Paide, admitted that the current heatwave made working outside quite challenging. "It's very hot and I'm sweating liters, which makes it difficult to work," he said.

Riina Kattel-Piirsoo, owner of Siimu farm, praised the young workers, saying they have been a  great help. "So far they have been (working) in the vegetable patches, then they have been planting trees, helping to tidy the flower beds and berry bushes," she said.

During the malev,  workers are paid a wage by the municipality. "We provide food, and (organize) recreation (activities)," said Kattel-Piirsoo. "Tonight, we are having a barbecue with the whole group," she added.

Although the malev is coming to an end, the need for seasonal workers continues, with the owners of Siimu Farm already deciding to hire two or three of the young volunteers to help out more over the summer.


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Editor: Michael Cole

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