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Syrian family of 8, with 6 minors is living in quiet a neighbourhood in Vilnius, Lithuania. Quarantine hit the family unprepared for remote learning, so Zuhur, 11 years old girl, was unable to connect to classes online, even with a computed provided by the government she shares with her brothers and sisters. Our volunteers assisted with installing required  programmes for online learning and did a training of using zoom and skype. In ‘Stream’ Volunteer Gertrūda is assisting Zuhur with lessons 5 times per week, kids are participating in Lithuanian online theatre performances and gym classes for kids. 

Stram is an initiative born at the beginning of a Covid-19 crisis with a goal assist families, like Zuhur’s but also to help to establish a link between refugee families and the local community. The platform consists of online seminars, workshops, training and counselling on a wide range of topics like language classes, online theatre performances and ICT lessons via ZOOM.US application. We are proud of our volunteers from 15 different countries, 10 of them being with refugee backgrounds. This makes ‘Stream’  initiative a small, but diverse and strong online community.

Dharshan from Sri lanka is an asylum seeker, who lives in a town close to Pabrade. Even during the quarantine period he is ready to help and radiates warmth and optimism. During the challenging period -his biggest hobby is cooking and every week he waits for the online sessions to interact and share his recipes of Shri Lankan dishes and cooking advice online on “Stream”. He introduces exotic cuisine to Lithuanians and other foreigners. Darshan’s dream is to live in Lithuania and lead similar cooking workshops to face to face and open a small Sri lankan restaurant.

Farah from Syria, has been teaching Arabic-speaking refugees and their children English language twice a week for two months at the Stream initiative. A young woman, who obtained refugee status in Lithuania, come from Syria in 2016, says that the biggest obstacle to the integration of refugees in another country is the language barrier. “As for the questions regarding these lessons and their relationship with the integration process, I find it very helpful as the kids are enjoying the process and learning at the same time. It is especially important for kids and particularly those who are already settled here in Lithuania to experience the post-integration period in a more relaxed environment. I believe that these kids have experienced challenging times trying to adapt with everything new to them which is challenging. Now that they have settled in schools, learning Lithuanian language, and already making friends, it’s important to enrich their knowledge and start building for the future where we all agree that English language is an essential element in the broader picture. It is also worth mentioning that such activities are considered luxury for many of these kids, therefore, they receive it with great pleasure and dedication. I have also noticed that some of the people who are joining the lessons are also adults which is great since they can still find the lessons useful in some ways.Last, I have to say that these kind of initiatives are also important for people who are still recently integrating sine this can be a good start where they can use English to navigate their way through before starting to learn the local language.” says Syria, who teaches newcomers online English classes.

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