AESL Conversation #4 – May Wrap Up

On the first Wednesday of every month, AESL holds “AESL Conversations” – an open virtual meeting in which individuals and organisations can come along for a chat. 

Facilitator Marissa Pikkat reports: 

The meeting in May commenced with a palpable sense of enthusiasm as members of the Estonian community gathered to discuss upcoming projects and initiatives. The agenda was packed with diverse topics ranging from cultural events to community outreach efforts. 

Eesti Päevad and Artist Engagement

One of the key topics of discussion centered around the upcoming Estonian Festival (Eesti Päevad) and the involvement of artists within the community. There was a suggestion to include activities for artists’ children at the camp, fostering a sense of intergenerational participation. Additionally, plans were proposed for artists to showcase their talents at events in Western Australia, further promoting Estonian culture abroad. 

Pärnu Monument Fundraising

The meeting delved into the ongoing efforts to raise funds for the Pärnu Monument project. With a donation goal of 10,000 euros ($16,000 AUD), the community aims to commemorate the resilience of individuals like Maie Barrow, who arrived as refugees during turbulent times. Despite facing challenges in garnering support, the community remained steadfast in their commitment to honouring their history. Strategies for spreading awareness and increasing donations, including outreach to local Estonian communities, were discussed. 

Community Engagement and Moderation

Concerns were raised regarding the influx of posts on social media platforms, necessitating additional moderators on some Facebook pages to manage approvals and address potential issues of spam. It was emphasised that a more proactive approach was needed to ensure the smooth functioning of online platforms and foster a sense of community cohesion. Johanna volunteered to join as an admin, aligning with her involvement in the media project. 

Media Project Updates

Progress on the Australian Estonian Media Project (AEMP) was highlighted, with plans underway for collaborations with local and national news organisations. The project had received provisional approval for a grant from the Estonian foreign ministry. The focus remained on leveraging digital platforms to engage with the community effectively, with a competition proposed for naming the initiative. Very exciting developments with a range of things happening and always looking for volunteers to help bring it to life.  

Sõrve and Virmalised Initiatives

Updates were provided on the Sõrve and Virmalised projects, with expressions of confidence regarding the reformation of committees and plans for future engagement. Social media played a pivotal role in disseminating information and recruiting participants for upcoming activities. 

Closing Remarks

The meeting concluded with a sense of optimism and camaraderie as attendees reaffirmed their commitment to advancing Estonian culture and heritage. Plans were set in motion for further collaboration and engagement, with volunteers encouraged to contribute to ongoing initiatives. 

Join us again in June

We are looking forward to hosting the next conversation on June 5 @ 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm AEDT on Zoom. We are grateful for those who attend and can’t wait to build this further!