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More than Two Hundred Hours of Volunteering in the Language of Friendship

Ievietots: 27.03.2018


Day by day, volunteers who work at the Information Centre for Newcomers attend secondary schools, study at higher education institutions, hurry to write bachelor`s theses, work in various professional fields, actively collaborate in multiple organizations and participate in public activities in Latvia. However, besides all the above, volunteers also succeed to sacrifice their skills, talents, knowledge and share joy! In March this year, 226 hours have been devoted to volunteering - more than seven hours of volunteering every day, including holidays!

"This month, we have implemented several initiatives, cooperated with other organizations, participated in various assistance activities, as well as promoted volunteering and the Information Centre for Newcomers," Ramona Liepiņa, Volunteering Coordinator says.

In March, volunteers had an opportunity to take part in various assistance activities, for example, helping to creatively entertain Syrian family children while parents took an exam in the Latvian language. "For volunteers, this was a great experience since the children do not attend a kindergarten and their communication language is only Arabic or the language of friendship, in which the communication with Latvian volunteers Marek and Simona was carried out."

She says that mutually interesting cooperation has been established with the UWC Movement, which helps high school students to start their studies in international colleges. One of the conditions to select their students is volunteering in an intercultural environment. "Thanks to this cooperation, we are able not only to introduce volunteering but also to give young people from all regions of Latvia an opportunity to cooperate, for example, with asylum seekers. On March 3, we organized a joint event at the Mucenieki Multifunctional Centre, where half a dozen participants from 16 different cultures participated and learned the Latvian tradition of celebrations in creative workshops."

In their free time, children like to participate in creative activities, and this is why a volunteer initiative was widely visited on March 17 in Mucenieki. Children and young people representing seven different cultures spent the Spring Holiday, visiting developing workshops and friendly, creative events. Together with volunteers, they decoupaged, painted, danced, played board and co-op games. One word in Latvian, the other in Russian, the third and fourth - in English, German. Laughter and friendship are above all.

"A very successful cooperation with several organizations also emerged at Novrūz International Spring Festival on March 24, where volunteers participated and promoted the Information Centre for Newcomers, inviting to use the free advice and services offered," R.Liepiņa emphasizes. At the festival, everyone had the opportunity to get acquainted with various cultures, dances and music, enriching themselves and expanding the circle of friends. 

The volunteers are planning to conclude March events with the study of Easter traditions. People of different cultures will be dancing together with eggs, playing games and going to a spring-covered coffee table, because being together is one of the cornerstones of integration.

The activity of the Information Centre for Newcomers within the framework of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund is ensured and developed by the NGO Shelter Safe House””. The centre is co-funded by the European Union. Grant Agreement No. PMIF/12/2017/2/01.

Information was prepared by: Rasa Saliņa, Multimedia Communication Specialist, tel. 29145314, email: rasa.salina@integration.lv