World Refugee Day 2019 in Lithuania

Now a widely known tradition, World Refugee Day is marked every year on 20 June in Rukla Refugee Reception center, with the support of UNHCR.

Children trying to make the most of their childhoods in exile and away from home.
© Pabėgėlių priėmimo centras/El Artography

The town of Rukla is a part of the Jonava District Municipality, also signatory to the Cities #WithRefugees solidarity statement. The local refugee reception center organizes the yearly World Refugee Day event. ©Pabėgėlių priėmimo centras/El Artography

Renowned Lithuanian TV journalist, Paulius Skučas, opened the 2019 World Refugee Day festivities. ©Pabėgėlių priėmimo centras/El Artography

Children play in soap bubbles during the World Refugee Day event in Rukla, Lithuania. ©Pabėgėlių priėmimo centras/El Artography

It is the 11th World Refugee Day for UNHCR‘s Spokesperson for Lithuania, Renata Kules, who traditionally delivers a UN message about the latest Global Trends figures in her speech and refers to the current situation of refugees in Lithuania. ©Pabėgėlių priėmimo centras/El Artography

Refugees were happy to cook for the event and introduce Lithuanians to their traditional cuisine. ©Pabėgėlių priėmimo centras/El Artography

World Refugee Day has become a place to share culture and traditions. Lithuanians were showing the old tradition and skill of producing hand-made wax candles. ©Pabėgėlių priėmimo centras/El Artography

Soap bubbles are a thrill for all children, no matter where they come from. ©Pabėgėlių priėmimo centras/El Artography

Joint activities for Lithuanians and refugees have become a traditional part of the yearly event; in 2019 the participants danced and played drums together. ©Pabėgėlių priėmimo centras/El Artography

It is fun to perform together on stage for both Lithuanian and refugee children. ©Pabėgėlių priėmimo centras/El Artography

Basir, from Afghanistan, came to the event this year with his wife and child, who was born in Lithuania. Basir wonders why people in Lithuania are sometimes surprised to still see him in the country. ©Pabėgėlių priėmimo centras/El Artography

Politicians and authorities use this opportunity to share a message of welcome, understanding, support and empathy with participants of the event. ©Pabėgėlių priėmimo centras/El Artography

This year, Lithuanian drummers created enjoyable beats with self-made instruments. ©Pabėgėlių priėmimo centras/El Artography

Face painting, balloons, clowns – the activities and laughter reminds all participants that children are always first and foremost children, no matter where they come from or what their legal status is. Every child deserves a carefree childhood. ©Pabėgėlių priėmimo centras/El Artography

Soap bubbles are always a winning concept. ©Pabėgėlių priėmimo centras/El Artography

World Refugee Day is celebrated around the world to showcase the resilience of refugees. This includes refugee children who have to be protected from the difficulties of having escaped their home. Communities around the world have to work together to ensure that they feel welcome in their new homes. ©Pabėgėlių priėmimo centras/El Artography