International Youth Association EstYES is a non-profit, non-political, non-governmental organisation. It was established in 1991 with the purpose of promoting youth and cultural exchanges for learning and better mutual understanding. EstYES was a pioneer organisation in the field of international youth voluntary service in Estonia.

Our objectives

  • to increase international understanding and solidarity between countries and people;
  • to promote continuous dialogue between young people all over the world;
  • to enable young people by living and working together to learn from each other, discover the variety of cultures, broaden horizons thus building bridges over differences;
  • to promote international voluntary service in Estonia as a powerful tool for local development and effective method of non-formal education;
  • to help finding solutions of actual problems in Estonia by means of international voluntary service;
  • to promote global education as one of the solutions for young people in the globalized world.

Our activities

  • organization of voluntary camps in Estonia and sending Estonian volunteers abroad for similar projects;
  • sending Estonian volunteers to mid- and long-term voluntary services abroad;
  • hosting volunteers from abroad on mid- and long-term projects in Estonia;
  • participating in EVS program as sending, hosting and coordinating organization;
  • organization of youth cultural exchanges and study visits with various themes in Estonia and abroad;
  • taking part in conferences, seminars, training activities abroad and organization of those in Estonia.

Target groups EstYES works with
EstYES works mainly with young people 14 – 30, but not only. As a matter of fact EstYES voluntary projects are open to people of all ages without limits. Still the majority of them are high school or university students. Young people with fewer opportunities are the group of special consideration of EstYES.

Sources of income
EstYES’ income mainly consists of contributions and subscription fees from the participants of different programs. EstYES also receives grants for the projects from the number of funds like Erasmus+, Open Society Foundation, European Youth Foundation, EuropeAid and others. EstYES does not receive any support from the state.

Introduction to EstYES international activities
Although there were attempts to organize camps in Estonia from the beginning of EstYES existence the first real workcamps took place in 1994. There were 2. Since then number of camps is growing rapidly, and in 2013 over 450 international volunteers took part in 45 EstYES workcamps, about 80 of Estonian volunteers went to workcamps abroad. Topics of EstYES camps: environment, renovation, construction, work with kids, social, cultural, study camps on different themes.

In 1999 EstYES had the first experience with hosting 4 EVS volunteers (6 months) in the social projects in Estonia. Nowadays EstYES coordinates 25 EVS host projects in Estonia. Every year EstYES sends around 30 long-term volunteers to the projects abroad and hosts over 20 volunteers on the projects in Estonia. The number of volunteers sent and hosted is growing year by year. It is one of the largest EVS sending and host coordinating organisations in the country.

In the years 2001-2004 EstYES has been participating in EVS Workcamps project of Alliance of European Voluntary Service Organisations giving a chance to the dozen volunteers with fewer opportunities to participate in international voluntary workcamps abroad as a first step to long-term voluntary service. Since then work with disadvantaged youth became a priority area for EstYES activities. Also this year EstYES offers participation in the voluntary camps and youth exchanges to the number of young people with fewer opportunities.

Besides camps and long-term volunteering, EstYES organises various seminars, study visits, training and educational programs, etc. and takes part in the similar activities abroad. This constitutes a large part of EstYES activities at present time. In year 2012-2013 with support of European Commission, EstYES is implementing a big project “Youth in EU and China: Working Together to Common Challenges” that aims to empower young volunteers and promote their active participation in the society; tackle the increasingly worrying issue of youth unemployment at the global level; stress the importance of voluntary work in fighting youth unemployment in both geographical regions, EU and China; clearly define an agenda for further EU-China cooperation in the field of youth organisations.

Our partners
Since 1994 EstYES had exchanges with the branches of SCI (Service Civil International) and from 1995 – with members of Alliance of European Voluntary Service Organisations, YAP (Youth Action for Peace) and their partner organisations.

In 1998 we began close cooperation with ICYE (International Cultural Youth Exchange).

In September 1997 EstYES participated in the establishing of the Network of East and Central European Voluntary Service Organisations – EASTLINKS.

In October 1997 EstYES became a member of Alliance. EstYES carried out the duty of the President and the General Secretary of the Alliance of European Voluntary Service Organisations from 2001 through 2010.

In 2007 EstYES became a member of Coordinating Committee of International Voluntary Service (CCIVS) by UNESCO.

Since 2013 EstYES is a member of the Estonian Roundtable for Development Cooperation.

Our programmes
EstYES is involved in the international voluntary service seeing in it a great tool of non-formal education.

Every year EstYES runs over 40 short-term voluntary projects (workcamps) in Estonia hosting up to 500 international volunteers and sends over 150 Estonian volunteers to similar projects abroad. In addition to this EstYES hosts annually about 30 international volunteers in long-term social projects all over Estonia and sends around 40 long- and mid-term volunteers to the projects all over the world. In the recent years EstYES was particularly engaged in the development cooperation in the field of international voluntary service with the partners from South East Asia and Latin America.