Marek Metslaid

Signe Värv was awarded the Citizen's Day badge of honor

On November 28 the Minister of Internal Affairs Lauri Läänemets awarded the Citizen's Day badge of honor to the researcher of cell biology in the University of Tartu, Signe Värv. 

The Citizen's Day in Estonia is celebrated on 26th of November. This year the festive ceremony took place in the Estonian Public Broadcasting on November 28. 

Citizen's Day badges of honor are awarded to responsible and caring citizens who have shown themselves to be outstanding persons either by making a significant contribution to society, promoting civic education or doing voluntary work in the community. The badges are issued by the special commission working under the Ministry of Internal Affairs. In 2022, 14 active women from different places in Estonia received the Citizen's Day badge of honor.

Since April 13, 2022, in addition to her main work, Signe Värv has organized the weaving of camouflage nets for the Ukrainian army in the atrium of the Omicum building at Riia Street 23b/2 in Tartu, to help the Ukrainian state and people in repelling the brutal aggression that hit them. This initiative was based on Signe's own belief and personal enthusiasm. It is important to mention that Signe is a quiet and modest person of action who prefers not to be in the center of attention. 

Signe has already handed over hundreds of square meters of shade nets, the quality of which she monitors closely. She is ready to teach every new voluntary person in weaving the nets to guarantee the best quality as possible. At the same time she coordinates also all the activities related to the process of weaving shade nets and does this in addition to her main work as a researcher. She organizes the materials for making nets (fabrics, nets, work tools, etc.), the dyeing of fabrics, the preparation of material pieces, guides the weavers, ensures the handover of the finished nets and their arrival at the destination.

Since April, more than sixty people have woven shade nets under Signe's guidance. Among them, several units of the University of Tartu have contributed, for example the Personnel Office, also people from the Institute of Genomics and Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, but also people outside the university and Tartu. Ukrainian war refugees living in Tartu and some volunteers have given their contribution. 

During seven months (April - October), 28 shade nets with a total area of ​​over 500 m2 have been woven under Signe's leadership. Under the leadership of the NGO "I help to protect", more than 10,000 square meters of shelter nets have already been made across Estonia as voluntary work.

I have noticed Signe's excellent organizational skills already in previous years. When Signe does something, she does it with a lot of effort. Soon after Russia invaded Ukraine Signe started to organize the weaving of camouflage nets in our university. She initiated the collection and dyeing of fabrics and started to guide the weaving. Even during the summer holiday Signe was always in the institute, which ensured that the weaving of shade nets continued. 

Maia Kivisaar, director of the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology

In recent months, Signe has organized old Estonian military uniforms as material, which must be correctly unraveled before weaving into the nets in order to use the material in an optimal and complete way. In addition, Signe has started a supply chain to collect yarn before winter, with the aim of knitting woolen socks and other necessities for the Ukrainian fighters.

The actions Signe has initiated are a good example of true cross-community outreach, bringing people together to help those who need it most. This kind of joint action strengthens the communication between people and supports the community-understanding. The more united the people are and act and the closer the cooperation is, the stronger is the country and its people. 

If every European citizen could contribute to the same extent as Signe, the situation would be different at the moment considering the context of the war in Ukraine.

Signe Värv has always stood out for her hard work and enthusiasm. In addition to her main work as a researcher, she contributes a lot to teaching and science popularization. 

Colleagues, volunteers and the entire university is grateful to Signe, because the weaving of camouflage nets for the Ukrainian army in such a scale became possible only thanks to one extraordinary person, Signe. She has encouraged many others to make their small contribution to solving problems bigger than all of us.


News article on the website of the Ministry of the Interior (in Estonian)

Photo gallery on the Flickr page of the Ministry of the Interior.

Photo: the festive ceremony of the Citizen's Day badge of honor

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