The Youth Homeplace gives support to the young people between 15 and 19, who are leaving the orphanages or have run away from homes due to cruel conditions. The Youth Homeplace tries to help such youngsters and give them a chance where they have none. We offer them a temporary place to stay and support in starting their own life and managing the administrative problems related to the latter. Usually a youngster stays in the Homeplace from six month til 3 years depending on their age and circumstances, during which we find them a school and/or job, a small apartment, furniture and fittings, help to accomplish all bureaucratic procedures needed to get most from the state and local government support and teach them some of the basic knowledge of how to survive. Many of these young people have never been a member of a family and have hence no idea of simple everyday home management – meaning they have never had their own money and home and are not taught to save, invest or simply spend on things needed in everyday life on one’s own. Our activities can be divided into three types:

Temporary accommodation: The Homeplace can accommodate up to 14 youngsters. The premises are 367 m2, out of which 249 m2 is living quarters and include 7 double rooms, bathrooms for boys and girls, kitchen, living room, classroom with computers and Internet connection and office. We also have storerooms for second-hand goods received for youngsters, who start their own life and need therefore furniture, fittings, tableware etc for their new homes. Young people can live in the home as long as they study, so in some cases it has remained their home for as long as 5 years.

Education and jobs: One of the main goals is also to give youngsters an opportunity to get an education that would help them to survive later on. We help the young people to find a school or vocational training of their needs and abilities, and have established good connections for that reason with many educational institutions in Tallinn.

We also have a classroom in the Youth Homeplace where specific lessons can take place, such computer and language courses. One of the important things is also integrating Russian-speaking minority into Estonia – this means, we give the Russian-speaking youngsters a possibility to study Estonian, and of course, living together with Estonians, they have very good possibilities to practice in everyday life and get know the differences in cultural background.

We also work together with the government unemployment office in order to get all the help from them to support our youngsters and we have good connections with several Estonian enterprises so we can find jobs for those who need them

Legal advice and bureaucracy help: Most of the youngsters need help in getting their paperwork in order, in getting the social benefits from the state or in proving their legal status, i.e. citizenship, because there are no documents left from their parents. We work closely together with the Organisation of People Grown Up Without Parental Care in this.

 

History

The idea of a youth home was started in 1991 by the people from the parent organisataionthe Orgnaisation of People Grown Up without Parental Care (EOKL), a union that unites people all over Estonia who were grown up in orphanages. EOKL established the first youth home in Estonia in 1993 in Tallinn. Unfortunately, due to difficulut economic conditions at the time, it only operated for less than two years.

In 1997 the second EOKL youthhome was openned in Pärnu thanks to support by city government and efforts of Guff family. Pärnu youthhome was closed in 2008 for lack of financial support.

Tallinn Youth Homeplace, as it was known in the beginning got its new rooms already in 1995, but the renovations of the old kindergarden that had stood empty for 5 years took almost two years due to the limited resources available. The home was finally openned on October 25th, 1997 very much thanks to the efforts of Tiina Koidu and continuous support from Swedish charity IFD lead by Mirjam Pätsi-Ullberg.