Possibilities for addressing socioeducational needs of refugees in Lithuania

Irena Zaleskienė, Jolanta Banevičienė


The authors deal with the problems of refugees which becomes more and more stronger during the last decade in Lithuania. Juridical bases (Law on the Refugee Status in the Republic of Lithuania came into force in 1995; Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania ratified the 1951 United Nation Convention in 1997; etc.) for accepting refugees in Lithuania are developed according the international law and this bases is analysed in the first part of the article. The second part deals with the theoretical framework of socioeducational needs and the importance of their addressing for human being. This sort of needs are seen by the authors of the article as the most important actor for integration of refugees into Lithuanian society. Survey was carried out in the Foreigners‘ Registration centre, which was established in 1996 and is allocated in Pabradė and in the Refugees Reception Centre, which was established in 1997 and is allocated in Rukla (founder of this center is The Ministry of Social Security and Labour of the Republic of Lithuania; the establishement was financially supported by UN, Scandinavian countries (Denmark, Sweeden, Norway, Finland), etc.). Main goals of the survey was formulated as follows: to analyse socioeducational needs and the possibilities for addressing them
Survey was carried out by using methodology: analysis of literature and juridicial documentation; questioning the refugees, social workers and members of local community (in total: 243 respondents).
Analyses of research data shows that refugees have such socioeducational needs:
• basic educational needs: to learn Lithuanian language (55,6 % respondents in Foreigner’s Registration Center and 89,8 % respondents in Refugees Reception Center); to learn Lithuanian history (40,8 % respondents in Refugees Reception Center); to study Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania (11,1 % respondents in FRC). There were indicated to attend school for adults in the evenings; to allow children to go to the school together with members of local community as educational needs as well.
• basic social needs: to participate in the cultural life of the local community (55,1 % respondents living in RRC and 16,7 % respondents living in the FRC); to work together with community members (42,9 %and 11,1 % respondents); to stimulate children to communicate with children from local community (28,6 % respondents living in RRC). There were indicated to have family friendship with local families; to invite community members to visit Center as social needs as well.

According the research data most of refugees (2/3 of respondents) are not satisfied with the possibilities to address their needs. As the main problems they indicate: too small financial payments; not having possibilities to educate themselves and their children; not having opportunities for communication with native relatives; not having contacts with own religion communities, ect.
Analyses of reseach data discovered that that members of local community do have negative attitude towards refugees (90, 9 % respondents). It was pointed out that main source for obtaining information on refugees and their problems is mass-media. And this information is not always presented on objective and friendly way. The presumption is made that probably it is the main reason for having such a negative attitude.
As a result of research data analyses the main conclusions are made and presented in the article: Lithuanian Government creates a strong enough juridicial bases for addressing socioeducational needs of refugees but in reality they are not always addressed in a sufficient way.


refugees; socioeducational needs; possibilities for addressing needs

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"Social Work" ISSN online 2029-2775 / ISSN print 1648-4789