Migration in Estonia – why should we speak about it?

In 2017, NGO Mondo conducted a survey on migration in several European countries, including Estonia, and the results were eye opening – only 28% of young people in Estonia thought that they were well informed on the topic of migration and 31% thought that immigration to Europe by people from outside of the EU is problematic. In my opinion, these statistics demonstrate that people are still uninformed about the wider concept of immigration and the reasons behind people’s decisions to move abroad.

People have moved around the world as long as they have existed. It is just that we are living during a time where the means of travel have become more efficient than they have ever been and so the movement of people happens at a faster pace that coincides with other factors such as conflicts, the search for better opportunities and climate change.

I study Anthropology and therefore I try to understand where the fear and stereotypes stem from. I often speak with my grandparents, who are concerned about the welfare of Estonian culture and traditions. They are afraid that these things, which are so near and dear to their heart, will cease to exist. Unfortunately, they are not the only people who think this way. And that’s why we have decided to create nine short documentaries on migration and showcase them in schools to start a discussion around the topic of migration.

Our main goal is to explore the meaning of migration, very much so today’s reality. Our stories are different; some people migrated because their parents live in different cities while others decided to go on an exchange year, or moved for love. The meaning behind the word migration is much broader than the stereotype and this is what we are demonstrating through this project/videos.

Migration is the reality of the 21st century and Estonian culture won’t disappear because of that; it is already not the same as it was 50 or 100 years ago as it continuously shifts and becomes more diversified. Personally, I think that it is beautiful and very exciting. The films will portray diverse characters and stories from both here and there, reflecting on topics like friendship, alienation, and, most notably, hope. We wish that these stories would give young people a better understanding of migration and its broad context. The films will be shown all throughout Estonia, especially in smaller areas where misinformation and fear of migrants can be more

significant than in larger cities. If we can broaden the worldview of at least one person with our work, then I personally would call the mission accomplished. Through showing the films we wish to have this very important discussion to have in order to create a more informed, peaceful, and welcoming society, that everybody can call a home

/ Nora Roosimölder

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