“Lithuania and Latvia do not have substantial experience with refugee issues, thus, the integration system does not funcion effectively”
International training course about refugee integration for youth workers took place in Kaunas, Lithuania on 14-18 December. Participants from Lithuania, Latvia, Germany, Cyprus, Ireland and Egypt took part.
The main goal of the training was to prepare youth workers for the upcoming activities of the 2 year EU funded strategic partnership project “Together: Refugees & Youth”. Participants gained necessary skills needed for working with youth in a multicultural environment as well as for working with newcomers from the Middle East.
During this 5-day training, the clear guidelines for refugee integration through youth work (based on real situation in the Baltics) were created. Also, different industry experts shared their experiences with working with / along migrants. These experts included: workers from Vilnius’ Caritas, Mr. Muhhamad Usama Sheikh, founder of business consulting firm MOSIS.lt and Mr. Alaa Al Ariri, the representative of Baltic & Arab Chamber of Commerce.
“It was such a valuable & eye-opening time that we spent here during this training. All activities allowed us to identify the challenges & opportunities while creating a dialogue between young people and migrants. Meanwhile, guest lecturers, which are true professionals in their work, helped us to get to know the real refugee situation in the Baltics better, since they live & work with migrant issues in Lithuania for quite a while now. It is true that the migrant integration system does not function effectively in Latvia and Lithuania. But that is understandable because these countries have never faced this problem from such a close distance. I am very pleased that initiatives like “Together: Refugees & Youth” are taking place, because they help to improve the conditions and create common understanding between the migrants and locals.” – said a participant from Latvia.
One of the upcoming stages of “Together: Refugees & Youth”, in which the participants will apply their gained knowledge in practice, will start in summer, 2017. This stage will include many different events with refugees and youth in Lithuania and Latvia: sports competitions, cultural presentations, tours, social business (i.e. incorporating migrants) idea challenge, accreditation system for migrant-supporting organizations and more.
You can find more information about the project at www.facebook.com/refugeesEU