Estonian Refugee Council, transit refugee NGO sign cooperation agreement

A poster for Friends of Mariupol in Narva.
A poster for Friends of Mariupol in Narva. Source: Helen Wright/ ERR

The Estonian Refugee Council and Friends of Mariupol NGO, which operates in Narva and Tallinn, have signed a cooperation agreement to ensure help for Ukrainians in transit.

The Estonian Refugee Council said it will provide a salary and support for the NGO's leaders, who until now have been volunteers. It will also play an advisory role going forward if necessary.

"Great things can be accomplished with the help of volunteers, but managing a growing organization and managing dozens of volunteers over the long term is not a passion-based job. That's why we decided to support the new NGO so that they could and would continue to work in supporting refugees in transit in Narva, doing it effectively and in cooperation with others," said Anu Viltrop, head of support services of refugee council.

Friends of Mariupol assist Ukrainians who have traveled through Russia to reach the European Union and do not plan to stay in Estonia. The group has been operating since April in Narva and Tallinn.

The organization has provided accommodation, essentials and planned onward travel for the tens of thousands of refugees.

Until last month, when the Social Insurance Fund (SKA) opened a help point in Narva, the majority of the assistance for transit refugees was provided by volunteers.  

While Estonia has an obligation to help refugees seeking protection, transit refugees can fall through the gaps.

Friends of Mariupol have been calling for additional assistance for several months and still need more volunteers.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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