Based on the data of Statistics Lithuania, there is an increasing number of immigrants coming to Lithuania every year. Subsequently, a number of mixed families, where one or more persons is a foreign citizen, are also rising. Specialists working in the field of child right protection, notice that a growing number of mixed families also mean a rise in family-related problems, which often turn into conflicting situations later on. Mixed families often face problems when choosing their children’s citizenship, solving religious issues, moreover, this becomes even bigger problem when such family divorces and in addition questions on determining child’s custody or maintenance arise.
The above mentioned factors encourage taking a closer look to the problems directly related to the multiculturalism and integration. It is necessary to comprehend the specifics of other cultures, the acceptable ways of communication and how to solve problems emerging from a cultural context, which is considerably different from a Lithuanian one. This is especially relevant for the employees working in the field of education, child right protection or social work, as they are the ones directly communicating with mixed families.
Having the multi-annual experience of working with different migrants’ groups, organizing workshops and trainings, also based on statistical, experts’ information, researches and analysis of the project “Assistance to Children and their Families: Building Specialists’ Intercultural Competence” IOM Vilnius Office initiated the project “Assistance to Children and their Families: Building Specialists’ Intercultural Competence II”. This continuous project was aimed at building the intercultural competence among the specialists of Lithuanian state institutions and strengthening the ability to fulfill their functions while working with the third country nationals and mixed families.
- Main Activities
- Based on the specialized teaching material, nine two-day seminars were carried out across different municipalities of Lithuania. The specialists, directly dealing with third country nationals, their families and children, not only gained knowledge and practically applicable skills, but also strengthened their team-work skills, which are necessary to successfully fulfill their function at work;
- In order to ensure the practical use of intercultural knowledge among specialists of Lithuanian state institutions, a practical situation guide was published. A practical situation guide is an information material, which was distributed among all participants of the project seminars and other specialists of 60 municipalities in Lithuania. The guide consisted of most common situations faced by social workers while consulting third country nationals.
- An international practical conference “Multiculturalism in legal practice” was organized at the end of the project implementation. A special focus was placed on children rights in mixed family relations, as well as, other aspects related to the possible rights infringements of the third country nationals.
Institution of the Ombudsman for Children Rights of the Republic of Lithuania
Project was implemented under the European Integration Fund 2013 Annual Programme