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Latvian Red Cross raises awareness on migration issues with regional training

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By Agnese Trofimova, Latvian Red Cross

Latvian Red Cross, in cooperation with the UN Refugee Agency`s Regional Representation for Northern Europe (UNHCR), has organized 5 regional trainings with the title “Work for the integration of refugees and immigrants: intercultural interaction, good practice and experience.”

The training aims to build capacity and expertise of more than one hundred service providers, public authorities and representatives of local communities. Organized in five different regions across Latvia – Rezekne, Puikule, Bauska, Saldus and Riga between 23 – 27 September, the trainings are part of the international Red Cross project “AVAIL- Amplifying the Voices of Asylum Seekers and Refugees for Integration and Life Skills.”

The representatives from UNHCR, Marcel Colun and Karolis Zibas, presented general information about the current situation related to issues of asylum, migration and relocation, the effect of legislative changes on results of the integration of refugees and immigrants, as well as overall integration policy and processes at the regional and national level.

Two refugees shared their life stories and the experience of being a refugee. They presented aspects of intercultural communication and good practice of integration activities. One of the speakers was a Syrian refugee living in Latvia, Sulaeman Alzouabi, who works as a doctor in a hospital. Another speaker was Tamim Nashed, a refugee from Syria who is now living in Austria. Tamim has previous working experience as an expert in politics at the European Commission, currently working as an independent expert on integration and intercultural communication.

The audience of these trainings were employees of state and municipal institutions, including policy planners, representatives from educational institutions, social and health care workers and activists from other non-governmental organizations.

After these trainings, participants admitted that they had received a lot of new and interesting information that will be useful in their daily work and communication with foreigners. Also, they revealed that from now on they will be more critical towards information about the migration crisis, refugees and intercultural interaction presented by media.