When COVID-19 caused a state of emergency in 2020, “Artscape,” an arts organization that has been implementing cultural education and social integration projects for refugees in Lithuanian for more than 5 years, quickly responded. During the first week of the crisis, SRAUTAS, a platform for volunteerism and mutual aid for refugees and asylum seekers in Lithuania, was launched and put into action.
Volunteers from the fields of art, culture, education, health, social assistance, and other fields were encouraged to participate in the weekly online meetings on Zoom.us platform so they could interact with the audience, which was constantly growing, and share their expertise and positive experiences. The refugees themselves were encouraged to offer their knowledge and abilities through SRAUTAS in order to engage the Lithuanian community in conversation.
With the initiative gaining recognition in 2020 and noticing considerable interest in artistic shows and creative workshops, a second phase of SRAUTAS was initiated in autumn – “Art in Srautas” with four professional artists: “Stalas theatre” diresctor and artist Saulė Degutytė; interdisciplinary artist, “White Chalk” founder Algimantas Černiauskas; book illustrator and author Rasa Jančiauskaitė; applied theatre educator and director Marija Laenko. Activities for the project were designed to reduce viewer anxiety and isolation brought on by virtual reality, especially for young viewers. A large portion of project participants were schoolchildren, many of whom were also children of asylum seekers and refugees.
Beginning in 2021, SRAUTAS attracted attention on a European level after being recognized by the European Commission as a good practice and a useful instrument for integrating refugees and asylum seekers in Lithuania.
September 30, 2022