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.
After fleeing war in Syria, Majd now finds employment in Lithuania and is settling into his new life.
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, welcomes the news that Lithuania has offered to receive up to five persons in need of international protection.
“To be forced to leave your family, country, home, and run for your life is a terrifying experience that many of us can’t imagine,” says Ruta Sepetys. Her writing seeks to remind Lithuanians of their past, and calls for compassion towards today’s refugees.
In 2017, the Lithuanian government increased its annual funding to UNHCR, strengthening the protection of people forced to flee their homes in Afghanistan, Iraq, Myanmar and Syria.
Eskedar Maštavičienė was relocated to Lithuania from Malta in 2007. Now, 10 years later, she lives in Vilnius with her husband and three children and considers the country her home. She has started a charity to help local underprivileged women.
Aktyvus jaunimas (Active Youth), a youth group based in Vilnius, is trying to give newly arrived refugees a taste of their new home at the reception centre in Rukla, near Kaunas, Lithuania‘s second largest city.
Photos by Saulius Ziura
Pavel, a 45-year-old refugee in Lithuania, escaped from Belarus when the government suppression of opposition activists intensified in 2010. He arrived in Lithuania with the hope, like many Lithuanians who fled their country in the 1940s, that his flight was only a temporary solution and he would soon go back home. Unfortunately, even after 5 years, returning to Belarus is still not an option for Pavel. His life continues in Lithuania away from his beloved family and friends.