I am currently the Vice Chairman of the Seltside Liit, that is the Council of Estonian Societies in Australia and Coordinator of the Annual Relief Appeal i.e. Rahvuskapital. Every 3 years the AESL changes hands and is managed between Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne. Currently Adelaide is in its second year.
These funds raised from our Annual Appeal provide financial support to organisations that are concerned with promoting Estonian culture and language in Australia. For example the following sums are received;
- Archives ($3000),
- Meie Kodu ($8000),
- Virgats ($1300) and
- Sõrve ($3000).
Without the donations the work of organizations would be reduced or simply not be able to exist.
Recently I came across some correspondence that prompted me to write this article. The timing could not have been more perfect with the launch of our Appeal. A comment was made that the focus of any fundraising should be aimed at the “older generation”, meaning the over 65’s. Other comments reflected no knowledge of what it was about at all.
It is somewhat disconcerting that amongst the first and second generation Australian Estonians, there appears to be either no understanding of what Rahvuskapital and the Seltside Liit are about or there is the perception that it is responsibility of the older Estonian born generation to continue to provide the basis of funding for our organisations.
Yet it is their children and their grandchildren who benefit most from this!
Sydney ran a very successful Eesti Päevad recently but not many people are aware they received $10,000 loan in funding from the Liit to do so as did Adelaide and Melbourne prior to this. As part of the Adelaide organising committee we simply would not have been able to run the festival at all without this financial assistance. This loan is usually then repaid at the conclusion of the Festival.
Many of our community who enjoy what the Estonian organisations provide are under 65, working and often better off financially than their parents. Yet they generally do not donate. Two years ago I am ashamed to say that I knew very little about Rahvuskapital and I could also be seen as ill informed as anybody else and any donations I did make were pitiful.
Last year’s appeal was a bit less successful than previous years, but still brought in $6895, leaving a very large deficit. While the gap was covered by interest and capital withdrawals from A. Kaljo Fund, this is being reduced each year, highlighting the need to raise substantially more funds.
We are asking you to be generous and not rely on your parents and grandparents to donate so you can enjoy Eesti päevad or have a break when your kids go Sõrve.
Please donate wither by cheque/money order or direct debit.
To be made out to Council of Estonian Societies in Australia and posted to:
AESL Appeal treasurer Eve Smart
116 Folkestone Road
Dover Gardens SA 5048
For you convenience it is possible to transfer donations directly to our bank account.
Bank: Commonwealth Bank Account
BSB: 062 233
Account Number: 1006-2870
All donors names and sums donated will be listed in the “Meie Kodu” newspaper, unless one chooses to remain anonymous.
The Appeal will close on the 30th of June 2013