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Study Programme for Asylum Seekers – Introductory Course About Latvia

        

The first introductory course about Latvia comes to an end

29.01.2016. The non-governmental organization “Shelter “Safe House”” informs that the study programme – introductory course about Latvia for asylum seekers from the ASAC “Mucenieki” – initiated on 23 November of the previous year, ends on 29 January.  The main objective of these studies was to provide course participants with knowledge useful for living in Latvia, at the same time giving answers to questions of the target group, arisen while residing in Latvia. Within a two-month period, in total 20 lessons were organised for four groups – five lessons for each group. These lessons were attended by asylum seekers from such countries as Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Gambia, Congo, Ukraine and other countries.

In the first lecture the lecturers of "Shelter "Safe House"" provided asylum seekers with general information about Latvia and the social security network. During the second lecture, the participants were given an insight in the history and traditions of Latvia, and there was an opportunity to obtain information about the housing market and residence permits in Latvia. In the third lecture participants got acquainted with such topics as ”Employment” and ”Healthcare”, and in the fourth lecture they received information on the system of social support, integration in the Latvian society, and acquired practical information on banking services. In the fifth and final lecture of the study course, the asylum seekers had a chance to get insights in the education system in Latvia and options for spending their leisure time. Throughout the entire study cycle – five lectures – lecturers of the society together with participants also analysed various specific situations and searched practical solutions for such situations.

During the lessons, asylum seekers were provided with information also by the State Employment Agency and representatives of JSC “Swedbank“.

The largest interest and the most questions within the framework of the introductory course were about residence permits, employment, opening a bank account, searching for a flat. In connection with healthcare issues, participants showed interest about dental services and opportunities for children to receive free-of-charge medical services.

The studies were organised including both acquisition of theoretical knowledge and dealing with practical tasks.  In order to ensure qualitative communication, also answering questions asked by participants of lessons, speakers of different languages were involved within the framework of the introductory course activities. The studies were organised in Latvian, ensuring translation in six languages – Russian, English, Arabic, Kurdish, Farsi and French.

In order to provide an opportunity to participate also for families with children, during the lessons, volunteers of the Society “Shelter “Safe House”” organised supervision of children and educational lessons for them.  To ensure regular attendance of lessons, the group of students was also provided with a companion from the asylum seekers accommodation centre “Mucenieki” who helped to get to and from the venue of the studies.

For improving their knowledge about Latvia, asylum seekers from ASAC “Mucenieki”, accompanied by a tour guide, had activities (for each group of studies) aimed for getting acquainted with the history and cultural objects of Riga, as well as resources available in Riga.

“Study Programme for Asylum Seekers – Introductory Course About Latvia” is implemented under the Agreement No. 5.1-15-32, concluded with the Ministry of Culture.

A team of interprofessionals dedicated to supporting asylum seekers, refugees and persons with granted alternative status has been operating in the society “Shelter “Safe House”” since as early as 2007. During the past eight years, the society has implemented 9 projects supported by the European Refugee Fund, within the framework of which the society has annually provided legal, social, medical and material support for approximately 80 representatives of the target group, and, through organizing educational seminars, has shared practical knowledge on the topic of migration with specialists in the field representing local authorities of Latvia.

Information was prepared by: Rasa Salina (Rasa Saliņa), Communications and Social Media Expert, phone: 29145314, e-mail: rasa.salina@gmail.com


        

During the lectures, asylum seekers ask about employment, apartment and opening an account

05.01.2016. With a tour in Riga for several dozen asylum seekers from the Asylum Seekers Accommodation Centre ”Mucenieki”, who are waiting for a decision of the Latvian state on granting the refugee or alternative status, the study course about Latvia was completed on Tuesday (29.12.2015.), tells the representative of the Society "Shelter ”Safe House"" Rasa Saliņa.

The studies, which took place from 30 November, involved various practical topics and information about Latvia. The head of "Shelter "Safe House"" Sandra Zalcmane emphasizes that the study programme for refugees and persons with the alternative status was developed by the society already several years ago.

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”The programme we developed in 2011 was intended for refugees and persons with the alternative status, however, now we adapt it exactly to the needs of asylum seekers. There are issues this target group has in-depth interest about, for example, residence permits, employment, opening a bank account, searching an apartment,” states S. Zalcmane.

Speaking about the implemented study programme, she puts an accent on the fact that the lectures were organized in Latvian, ensuring translation even in six languages – Russian, English, Arabic, Kurdish, Farsi and French. ”If an interpreter or knower of any language was not available, we involved someone from the circle of asylum seekers. While working with legal immigrants for many years, we have observed in practice that Latvian has to be used, during the study process, because Latvian has different phonetics compared to languages used by asylum seekers,” explains the representative of the society.

During the study process, information to asylum seekers was provided also by representatives of the State Employment Agency and JSC ”Swedbank”. It was also a good approach for verifying whether the information offered by authorities is easy perceivable for immigrants. ”Participation in such lectures was a good starting point for institutions which have not previously worked with asylum seekers, but will have to work with refugees in the future,” concludes S. Zalcmane.

In January, it is planned to organize lectures for inhabitants of ASAC ”Mucenieki” – asylum seekers. The first lecture is planned to take place on 11 January.

In the first lecture the lecturers of "Shelter "Safe House"" provided asylum seekers with general information about Latvia and the social security network. During the second lecture, the participants were given an insight in the history and traditions of Latvia, and there was an opportunity to obtain information about the housing market and residence permits in Latvia. In the third lecture participants got acquainted with such topics as ”Employment” and ”Healthcare”, and in the fourth lecture they received information on the system of social support, integration in the Latvian society, and acquired practical information on banking services. In the fifth and final lecture of the study course, the asylum seekers had a chance to get insights in the education system in Latvia and options for spending their leisure time. Throughout the entire study cycle – five lectures – lecturers of the society together with participants also analysed various specific situations and searched practical solutions for such situations.

In December, each lecture was attended in average by 40 people. For the purpose of improving their knowledge about Latvia, asylum seekers from ASAC ”Mucenieki” (each group of studies) had a tour accompanied by a guide, during which participants visited and became acquainted with most significant historical and cultural buildings in Old Riga.

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“Study Programme for Asylum Seekers – Introductory Course About Latvia” is implemented under the Agreement No. 5.1-15-32, concluded with the Ministry of Culture.

A team of interprofessionals dedicated to supporting asylum seekers, refugees and persons with granted alternative status has been operating in the society “Shelter “Safe House”” since as early as 2007. During the past eight years, the society has implemented 9 projects supported by the European Refugee Fund, within the framework of which the society has annually provided legal, social, medical and material support for approximately 80 representatives of the target group, and, through organizing educational seminars, has shared practical knowledge on the topic of migration with specialists in the field representing local authorities of Latvia.

Information was prepared by: Rasa Salina (Rasa Saliņa), Communications and Social Media Expert, phone: 29145314, e-mail: rasa.salina@gmail.com


        

Fourth out of the five lectures about Latvia have taken place

21.12.2015. Social assistance system, fitting in with society and practical information on banking services – these are the topics the asylum seekers at the ASAC “Mucenieki” learned about during the fourth lecture about Latvia organised by “Shelter “Safe House””.

Participants were informed about the social assistance system, including about the services provided by the municipality and its social worker, what kind of consultations are available, how to deal with housing and other issues. When learning about the integration in the Latvian society, the participants were informed about the protection and principles of human rights in Latvia.

Since the participants had previously shown interest in the banking activities in Latvia, representatives of JSC “Swedbank” were invited to take part in this lecture and inform the participants about banking services, providing practical information on the possibilities for opening an account at “Swedbank”, explaining the interbank service fees, and answering other questions of those present.

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The lecture was organised in seven languages – Latvian, Russian, English, Arabic, Kurdish, Farsi and French.

The last, fifth class is expected to take place on December 28, and an excursion in Riga is planned on December 29.

“Study Programme for Asylum Seekers – Introductory Course About Latvia” is implemented under the Agreement No. 5.1-15-32, concluded with the Ministry of Culture.


        

Participants learn about employment and health care in Latvia

17.12.2015. The third class about Latvian for asylum seekers from PMIC Mucenieki was held on December 14. During this class they learned about employment and health care in Latvia.

Gita Miruskina (Gita Miruškina), a lawyer and a lecturer of the Society “Shelter “Safe Houseˮˮ, informs that during this class participants learned about the Latvian job seeking system, were told about the possibilities of use of state resources and private job seeking offices, necessary documents, etc. Representatives of the State Employment Agency also participated in this class and told about their institution and services provided by it. Participants learned about occupations, having the highest demand in the Latvian job market and, in which it would be most realistic for asylum seekers to be employed.

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When talking about the Health Care topic, it was explained how the Latvian health care system is operating, what are paid/free services, about possibilities to receive family doctor’s services, etc. Most of questions of participants were about dentistry services, as well as opportunities for children to get free medical services, because of their topicality at the moment.

The lesson and consultations were organized in Latvian, Russian, English, Arabic, Kurdish and Farsi.

The fourth class is expected to take place on December 21. For two groups, the final – fifth class will be held on December 28, and an excursion in Riga is planned on December 29.

“Study Programme for Asylum Seekers – Introductory Course About Latvia” is implemented under the Agreement No. 5.1-15-32, concluded with the Ministry of Culture.

Information was prepared by: Rasa Salina (Rasa Saliņa), Communications and Social Media Expert, phone: 29145314, e-mail: rasa.salina@gmail.com


        

The most questions in the second lesson were asked about residence permits

08.12.2015. In order to learn about Latvian history and traditions, as well as the housing market and residence permits in Latvia, on Monday, 7 December, the second lesson organized by the society „Shelter „Safe House““ was attended by 33 adult asylum seekers and 13 children from the asylum seekers accommodation centre „Mucenieki“.

„The largest interest and the most of the questions focused on residence permits – receiving and extending the status, employment opportunities, custody of minors, as well as family reunification,“ indicates one of the lecturers – the lawyer of the society „Shelter „Safe House““ Alvis Šķenders, who was available for each interested person also for individual consultations. „Within the framework of studies, we also analysed particular situations and searched for practical solutions in such situations together with the participants of the lesson“.

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The lesson and consultations were organized in Latvian, Russian, English, Arabic, Kurdish and Farsi.

The next lesson on the topic „Employment“ is scheduled to take place on 14 December and it will be also attended by a representative of the State Employment Agency. In total, three more lessons are planned in this year.

“Study Programme for Asylum Seekers – Introductory Course About Latvia” is implemented under the Agreement No. 5.1-15-32, concluded with the Ministry of Culture.

Information was prepared by: Rasa Salina (Rasa Saliņa), Communications and Social Media Expert, phone: 29145314, e-mail: rasa.salina@gmail.com


        

Introductory Course Lessons About Latvia have been Started

04.12.2015. On 23 November 2015, the society “Shelter “Safe House”” started the implementation of a study programme – an introductory course about Latvia for asylum seekers from different countries who are waiting for a decision from the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs on granting their status. It is planned that these studies will continue until 29 January 2016.

Representatives of the society indicate that, for the course, a special study programme was developed that was adapted for asylum seekers and that addresses such topics as general information about Latvia, the state system, history, culture and traditions, practical information about Latvia and services, information about integration into the society, non-discrimination principles, communication and religious differences, decision making, sense of time, housing market, employment facilities, education system and education acquisition opportunities, available leisure activities, healthcare system, social security network and social support system in Latvia.

The studies are organized to include both acquisition of theoretical knowledge and dealing with practical tasks.  In order to ensure qualitative communication, as well as to facilitate answering questions asked by lesson attendants, interpreters and speakers of different languages are involved within the framework of the introductory course activities.  During the lessons, babysitting services are organized or involvement of children in the studies is ensured. In order to ensure regular attendance of lessons, the group of students is also provided with a companion from the asylum seekers accommodation centre “Mucenieki” that helps attendants get to and from the venue of the studies.

Info sheet in English   Info sheet in Russian     Info sheet in Arabic

On 30 November, the first of five planned lessons about Latvia organized by the society “Shelter “Safe House”” was attended in total by 40 adult asylum seekers and 15 children from the ASAC “Mucenieki”. Studies were organized in two groups (one in the morning and one in the afternoon), during which participants learned about two topics – “General Information About Latvia” and “Social Security Network in Latvia”. All of the information was provided in Russian, English, Arabic and Kurdish.

Tutor Gunta Vīksne comments that interest and involvement in the study process by asylum seekers was even larger than it was planned. “During the study process, people were open and asked many questions. The participants engaged in creative activities with pleasure and enthusiasm, creating collages and sharing their knowledge and impressions about Latvia.” While the adults studied, the children played different games, drew and with interest learned Latvian words together with volunteers.

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After the lesson, the participants admitted that the information obtained during the lesson can be used in practice and they are looking forward with interest to the next lesson in order to learn more about living in Latvia.

A team of interprofessionals dedicated to supporting asylum seekers, refugees and persons with granted alternative status has been operating in the society “Shelter “Safe House”” since as early as 2007. During the past eight years, the society has implemented 9 projects supported by the European Refugee Fund, within the framework of which the society has annually provided legal, social, medical and material support for approximately 80 representatives of the target group, and, through organizing educational seminars, has shared practical knowledge on the topic of migration with specialists in the field representing local authorities of Latvia.

“Study Programme for Asylum Seekers – Introductory Course About Latvia” is implemented under the Agreement No. 5.1-15-32, concluded with the Ministry of Culture.

Information was prepared by: Rasa Salina (Rasa Saliņa), Communications and Social Media Expert, phone: 29145314, e-mail: rasa.salina@gmail.com

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