TALLINN - The number of those wishing to join the Estonian women's national defense volunteer corps Naiskodukaitse has increased drastically since the start of the war in Ukraine.
Airi Tooming, the leader of Naiskodukaitse, said on Tuesday that Naiskodukaitse has so far received 635 applications for membership, in addition, districts of the Kaitseliit (Defense League) volunteer corps have received more than 900 applications for membership.
"The number of those interested has also increased significantly, which suggests that the number of those joining in the near future will increase even further," Tooming said.
People have said that the reason for joining has been the desire to contribute directly to national defense and to do something as a citizen. In the case of women in particular, the desire to cope better as a citizen and to improve individual skills has also been highlighted.
"The topic of how to better prepare for crises has clearly become a topical issue in society and therefore Kaitseliit is approached to explain how to be better prepared for crises," Tooming said.
According to her, a quick and convenient way to increase crisis readiness at the individual level is to download the "Ole valmis!" ("Be ready!") mobile application, which includes a large amount of simply presented information material and tips. Location-based alerts will also be available soon.
In the refugee crisis, Naiskodukaitse is cooperating in several areas, for example, members of the organization are present as coordinators on the buses of NGO Estonian Refugee Council and also in various roles at refugee reception centers, Tooming said.
She added that 70-80 members have already registered and will be working in shifts to help resolve refugee-related situations.