NGO’s informative seminar on the integration of refugees in Lithuania.
Vilnius Adult Education Centre had contacted NGO “Caritas”- a catholic institution and apart from many activities they also have a refugee center and a long experience in working with immigrants. Vilnius Adult Education Centre (VAEC) has signed an agreement with this organization. Caritas will keep VAEC up-to-date on the situation with refugees and immigrants. They will also inform the Centre about the events organized in the city related to the subject matter. While at the same time VAEC agreed to encourage its students to take active participation as volunteers in activities that Caritas will conduct.
On the 25th of April the representative of Caritas visited VAEC. Students, teachers, and technical personnel participated in this event. The speaker Ilma Skuodiene the head of the department of foreigners’ integration made an interesting presentation about the immigrants and refugees in Lithuania. In her presentation not only did she informe about how many refugees live in Lithuania but also what do they do and what are the challenges of integrations. It is known that Lithuania has agreed to resettle 1,105 refugees in the next two years, mostly from Italy and Greece. However its not that simple as it might have seemed at the beginning. The refugee centre/camp in Rukla (central Lithuania) is full and is going to be shut down and the people living there will be relocated to Lithuanian municipalities. Five largest Lithuanian cities should accommodate the foreigners. But again the shortage of social housing is huge and the rent is extremely high baring in mind that Lithuania pays a refugee family of two parents and two children 450€ a month for the first six months. Finally, in over a year, 254 refugees were moved to Lithuania and it is including 142 who have already left the country and went to other EU states.
Another issue that refugees face is mostly negative attitude of the Lithuanian residents. Mrs Skuodiene speaks about stereotypical way of thinking, clichés that come from mass media and ignorance. But In spite of that she is hopeful that it is possible to change that negative attitudes towards asylum seekers, if people understood that they are refugees and have no choice. It’s important to create ways of communication and contact, to get to know them so that people would see that the person is not a threat nor a stranger.
Students presentations and creative writings
National students were searching the Internet for information on immigration. They had to prepare presentations and report back to their classmates. Some wrote essays expressing their thoughts about immigration. Where as foreign students shared their experience of immigration and living in a foreign country.
Presentation of the project to the community
Survey “Understanding attitudes to immigration”
The questions for this questionnaire were adopted from the survey conducted by European Social Survey (ESS) with the help of the Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration Department of Economics, University College London.
The survey is designed to measure aspects of VSMC students’ opinion toward immigration. It is intended to repeat this survey at the end of the information campaign.
Students took part in informative poster design and familiar with the project partners, the project target group and duration. Participated in the activity of foreign and national students and the Lithuanian language and art teacher. Later, it was organized campaign designed to acquaint students with the project goals, objectives, and the final product.