The project "Support Activities for Persons Under International Protection II", which the Society "Shelter "Safe House"" has been implementing since 2 January 2018, closed on 30 June 2020. The purpose of the project was to promote the inclusion of persons under international protection in Latvian society by providing training courses on integration and courses of Latvian language and adapted information about rights and duties in different areas of life.
Within 30 months the integration training course was mastered by 226 representatives of the target group from 36 countries: Afghanistan, United States, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bangladesh, Eritrea, Egypt, Georgia, India, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Cameroon, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Colombia, Congo, Russia, Cuba, China, Libya, Moldova, Mongolia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Turkey, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam.
Within the integration training course, persons under international protection had the possibility to gain knowledge of Latvia, its 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, perception of time, housing market, employment opportunities, education system and education opportunities, available leisure activities, healthcare system, social security network and social support system in Latvia. Throughout the training course lectors of the society together with participants of the courses also analysed specific situations and searched for practical solutions. Most interest and questions during the training were related to residence permits, employment, opening of a bank account, searching for an apartment and education for children – both general and interest education. To promote participation of children with families in the courses, activities for children of different ages were also organised during the training.
In order to ensure high quality communication with participants of the trainings, translation from Latvian into Uzbek, Vietnamese, Spanish, Arabic, Dari, Tamil, Turkish, Kurdish Sorani, Mongolian, Georgian, Kurdish, French was provided during the course.
Within 30 months the Latvian training course was mastered by 128 representatives of the target group from 34 countries: Afghanistan, United States, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bangladesh, Eritrea, Egypt, Georgia, India, Iraq, Iran, Israel, Cameroon, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Congo, Russia, Cuba, China, Libya, Moldova, Mongolia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Turkey, Ukraine, Uzbekistan.
Within the scope of the course of Latvian language persons under international protection had an opportunity to get language knowledge and skills necessary for work and everyday life, as well as develop main language skills: reading, speaking, writing, listening and use of grammar. Course participants had an opportunity to learn the language to communicate in solving different matters at a simple level or prepare documents in local government or state institutions, thus increasing the number of social contacts of the target group, increasing participation in the life of society in general. Participants were most interested not only in learning, but also in life in Latvia, its history, culture and holidays. Listeners actively participated in the situational language games organised in the class, diligently did homework, worked individually and in pairs.
In order to promote the availability of information about life in Latvia to the target group, a mobile app "First Steps in Latvia" was developed during the implementation of the course, which can be downloaded for free in Google Play and App Store and is available in Latvian, English, French, Arabic, Dari and Russian. For the target group to have the opportunity to get answers to the most frequently asked questions about life in Latvia, the mobile app also includes information from the questions and answers published on www.beglis.lv. Visual information (a video) has been prepared for the application, with the help of which participants of training courses may obtain skills in using this tool and obtain necessary information.
In order to provide feedback on the course of Latvian language and the training course on integration in Latvia implemented within the scope of the project "Support Activities for Persons Under International Protection II", SIA "Weitner" conducted three satisfaction evaluations of persons under international protection participating in the training courses. The last, third interim evaluation report covered the period from 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020.
The main conclusions made by SIA "Weitner" confirm that the participants of the course of Latvian language were generally satisfied with the venue, process, frequency of classes, course content and teaching quality of the course of Latvian language. Those asylum seekers, who have been at CAS Mucenieki for longer period of time, would be interested to use their time more actively and to learn longer to reinforce their knowledge and not to forget what they have already learned.
It has been concluded that participants of the integration training course on Latvia are generally satisfied that the trainings take place outside CAS Mucenieki. Listeners are very satisfied with the content and the method of teaching of the course. They are satisfied with covered topics, which are all interesting and valuable. Topics of asylum affairs, employment, health and education are considered by participants as particularly valuable. The possibility to ask questions at any time is evaluated positively and was used by the group actively. The surveyed course participants appreciate that the classes are translated, because the provided information is very important for them. The work of translators is particularly appreciated by those course listeners, who have weak knowledge of other intermediate language or those, in whose mother tongues no information on Latvia is available. As a proposal for improvement of the courses, course listeners would want that those asylum seekers are invited to the classes, who have already obtained the status and could share their experiences.
The project "Support Activities for Persons Under International Protection II" was implemented with support of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund and was co-financed by the European Union. Project implementation time: 2 January 2018 – 30 June 2020. Grant Agreement No. PMIF/9/2017/2/01/.