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About the project

In 2009, the Lithuanian Consumer Institute, in cooperation with its partner Lithuanian Journalist Union, is carrying out the project Let’s Get to Know One Another in accordance with the Multi-annual Programme 2008-2013 and the Annual Programme 2008 of the European Refugee Fund in Lithuania.

While developing the idea of the Project and submitting the Project, the Lithuanian Consumer Institute was drawing on the experience of the consumer organisations in other countries such as the United Kingdom (Citizens Advice Bureau), Germany (Federation of Consumer Organisations), Spain (Consumer Organisation of Spain), and Finland. In these countries, the consumer organisations are carrying out a rich variety of projects related to the social integration of refugees (for example, they are providing refugees with the information about household, healthcare, financial services, etc.). Numerous projects are conducted to promote the consumption of culture products and the information exchange between refugees’ home and host countries. In 2003-2007, the Citizens Advice Bureau was carrying out the project Financial Skills for Life, with refugees being one of the target groups. They were taught to plan their personal finances and informed on the banking system of the United Kingdom. During the project, various methods were applied for teaching refugees, i.e. training in groups and individually. While implementing the project, the Citizens Advice Bureau was actively cooperating with the Refugee Council. In 2007, the Finnish Consumer Agency, in cooperation with other organisations, was conducting the project Multicultural Integration of Refugees intended for educating refugees as consumers, i.e. how to manage a household and personal funds, how to make use of banking services, etc. When summing up the project results, the conclusion was drawn up that the education of refugees as consumers created very good conditions for promoting tolerance because the project centred on the everyday practical life. 

Accordingly, the integration of the aliens, who have been successfully granted asylum, is obstructed by the following reasons: the intolerance of the public at large and its individual groups, which is essentially preconditioned by the lack of information on integration, good practice examples, and relevant integration issues; low awareness of the aliens about Lithuania’s culture, people, traditions, taxation system, healthcare services, social care, integration into the labour market, housing opportunities, etc.; absence of conditions for socially and culturally adjusting to the Lithuanian society; and poor cooperation between the aliens, their associations, separate social groups, and state institutions. 

Target audience:

1. Any third country citizen or any stateless person having the status defined in Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees of 28 July 1951 and its Protocol of 1967 and allowed to reside as a refugee in the Republic of Lithuania.

2. Any third country citizen or any stateless person, who is entitled to other instruments of international protection in the Republic of Lithuania in accordance with the national law. 

The Project principally aims at promoting the environment, which is favourable for the integration of the aliens, who have been granted asylum in Lithuania, and builds on the public’s tolerance as well as on the constructive dialogue between the wider public and its individual groups, refugee associations, and state institutions; and at improving the conditions for the above-mentioned aliens for socially and culturally adjusting to the Lithuanian society.

Project tasks:

   1. To find out the public’s opinion about the integration of the aliens, who have been granted asylum, in Lithuania and the obstacles for their constructive dialogue with the wider public;
   2. To find out the expectations of the aliens related to their integration in Lithuania, their needs, their level of awareness, and the obstacles for their successful integration in the Lithuanian society;
   3. To provide the public at large with the structured information on the relevant aspects of the social integration of the aliens, who have been granted asylum, with the view to promoting the tolerance of the wider public towards refugees as well as involving the aliens and the wider public in the dialogue;
   4. To develop an instrument, which would include the methodical material, legal rules and good practice examples showing how to promote the provision of the correct and comprehensive information about the aliens, who have been granted asylum, to various social groups - journalists, refugee associations, employer and business associations, state institutions, youth representatives - through the multicultural environment;
   5. To introduce the developed instrument to various social groups - journalists, refugee associations, employer and business associations, state institutions, youth representatives - as well as the aliens, who have been granted asylum;
   6. To develop an instrument encouraging mutual contacts between the aliens, who have been granted asylum, and the Lithuanian artists with the view to promoting cultural relations and joint production of art pieces;
   7. To introduce jointly produced pieces of art to the wider public - local community, journalists, representatives of local and central authorities - and the aliens, who have been granted asylum, as well as to exchange information through art and to communicate directly by providing opportunities for getting an insight into the multicultural environment.

Project activities

   1. Representative sociological survey on the public’s opinion.
   2. Survey Refugees’ Image in Central and Regional Press.
   3. Sociological survey on the opinion of the aliens, who have been granted asylum.
   4. Vilnius-based press conference for presenting the survey results.
   5. Presentation of the survey results - Rukla-based discussion intended for the aliens, who have been granted asylum in Lithuania.
   6. Book Refugee in the Multi-cultural Context.
   7. Four study workshops for presenting the book (in Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipėda and Šiauliai).
   8. Photography competition Let’s Get Acquainted.
   9. Series of radio broadcasts Refugees’ Integration in Lithuania: Success Stories, 10 radio broadcasts.