Tuesday June 20 is World Refugee Day. This year, to mark the occasion, the Estonian Human Rights Center, Estonian Refugee Council, International Women's Network in Estonia and Sveta Bar are organizing a community festival in Tallinn.
The World Refugee Day Community Festival, which features live music, food, handicrafts and personal stories of refugees living in Estonia takes place on Tuesday, June 20 in front of Sveta bar in Tallinn's Baltic Station Market (Balti jaam) Quarter form 6 p.m.
The festival focuses on people and building bridges between them by encouraging communities to interact and get to know each other.
"There are more than 70,000 refugees living in Estonia today. While the vast majority of them are from Ukraine, there are also people from Syria, Russia, Iraq and elsewhere. Whether they stay here longer or return to their home countries, it is in all of our interests to build strong bridges between communities. As a strong democratic society, we can certainly do this," said Egert Rünne, executive director of the Human Rights Center.
At the festival, people from Afghanistan, Turkey, Ukraine and Tajikistan will all share their stories and engage in conversation about different cultures. There will also be the chance to listen to live Ukrainian music, taste Ukrainian and Middle Eastern food and buy handicrafts from Kenya, Ghana and Georgia.
The festival is designed to a be a family-friendly celebration of diversity and humanity.
"A refugee is an ordinary person, who has been put in an extraordinary situation. By welcoming new cultures and experiences with open minds and hearts, we have a lot to gain, both on a societal and individual level," said Mirjam Rennit, Education and Awareness Program Manager at the Estonian Refugee Council (Eesti Pagusalabi).
According to a press release, the festival organizers – the Estonian Human Rights Center, Estonian Refugee Council, International Women's Network in Estonia and Sveta Bar – are aiming to remind people that the word "refugee" means a person who has been forced to leave their home due to facing threats to their lives and/or human rights. He or she is a person who needs our help.
Editor: Michael Cole