The Lithuania Tribune is launching a project aimed at helping new refugees successfully integrate into the Lithuanian society. Lithuania has only just begun receiving refugees from the Middle East. This process is still in its embryonic stage; it is extremely important to get it right from the beginning. Successfully integrating refugees into the Lithuanian society is a huge task, and the Lithuania Tribune is ready to play an important part. Openness and publicity, that is the most effective way we can contribute. Therefore, the Lithuania Tribune is proposing to follow the process of refugee integration through the eyes of a Syrian refugee, a journalist who was resettled in Lithuania just two months ago. We are reaching out to you to help us make this project a reality, this is why we began this crowdfunding campaign.
Syrian Journalist Redwan, Editor-in-Chief Iržikevičius and #RefugeesLT ambassador Narkevičiūtė just before launching the project
© Ruslanas Iržikevičius @ the Lithuania Tribune

Let's be realistic—Lithuania will not receive anywhere near the number of refugees countries like Germany, Sweden and France have. Nevertheless, Lithuania will be chosen by some of them to be their final destination. Therefore, Lithuania should seize the moment and go about creating the best possible conditions for their successful integration. The Lithuania Tribune can assist with this: we can run an awareness campaign about the integration process. Such a campaign is needed for both the Lithuanian public and the refuges themselves.

The Lithuania Tribune team can make a difference by explaining to our populace, in more depth than ever before, what the refugee experience is like, and how the process of integrating into the Lithuanian society evolves. To achieve this, we have decided to invite Redwan to be part of our team. Redwan, who arrived in June having fled war-torn Syria, is among the first group of refugees to be resettled in Lithuania under the EU quota agreement. Redwan will document his experience of adapting to life in Lithuania, as well as chronicle the challenges of his fellow refugees (the ones who do not speak Russian). He shall become the voice of the new refugee community in Lithuania. Providing that this project is successful, we are also planning to establish an information section in Arabic.

Redwan will write commentaries and articles in English (you have read the story of this journey to Lithuania here, on the Lithuania Tribune), and those articles will be published in Lithuanian too. We would like draw the public's attention to the success stories as well as reflecting on any problems as they arise. On the one hand, we believe it is important to show that with the right measures, integration can be successful and could be beneficial to the society as a whole. On the other hand, by bringing the challenges related to the integration process into the open, we can help start the alarm bells early, if something is going wrong. That way Lithuanians have a better chance of avoiding the difficulties experienced in some Western European countries.

Our objective is to eventually employ Redwan full-time so we can publish his articles and observations as often as possible. Furthermore, if he worked full-time for the Lithuania Tribune, he would be dedicating all his energy to something he loves: being a reporter and a writer. Moreover, we seek to create an information hub for the refugee community, with all the necessary resources they may need for successful integration into Lithuania. Initially, an information, community news exchange hub will be created.

With your support, the Lithuania Tribune will create an information channel which will be dedicated solely to the new type of refugees to which most Lithuanians have not yet become accustomed. These refugees, unlike previous groups, speak Arabic, not Russian, and are predominantly not Christian. This is a new thing for Lithuania and as a society we must do what we can to make it work. At the Lithuania Tribune, we will shine a light on the successes, but we will not ignore the problems. With your help and with Redwan's skills, we have the opportunity to enable these new members of our greater community to feel welcome, informed and included. Lithuania is in a unique position for the time being, we have to get ready for the inevitable, and we must act now!

Follow the campaign on a special Facebook page Visit the crowdfunding page

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