Over eleven months of 2018, volunteers of the Information Centre for Newcomers (ICI) have devoted 888 hours to their volunteer work. Among all the volunteer job hours, almost 347 have been worked by foreigners. Since the beginning of the year, foreigners from 15 various countries, both from and outside the European Union have been involved in the volunteer work. Aladdin from Syria who has contributed 60 hours of his time to the volunteer job was the most active from volunteering foreigners. Other volunteering foreigners have represented such countries as Tajikistan, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Australia, India, Georgia, Mexica, Egypt, Russia, China, Turkey, Iraq, America and Congo as well as Spain and Italy. According to the ICI volunteer coordinator Ramona Liepiņa, volunteering foreigners have always worked alongside with Latvian volunteers. “This year, Madara, Ilze and Jana were the most active volunteers with eighty hours contributed to volunteer work by each of them. Volunteers have realised a range of informal educational activities together, promoting integration, and offered their ideas and initiatives.”
She reassures that the work in such an international volunteer team is a great opportunity for volunteers themselves to gain and improve their skills, by both performing routine work and developing their intercultural communication skills. “Volunteers learn from each other, continuously generating new ideas that include elements from Latvian and other cultures and greatly complement each other. We hope that the work contributed by volunteers will grow, making Latvia a wonderful place for us to live, work and rest together!”
Realising one of informal educational activities organised by volunteers, the International Volunteer Day was celebrated on December 5, and the workshop “Star in the East” that has already become traditional was conducted. Partnerships "Patvērums "Drošā māja””, Creative Youth Association "TREPES” and "Labdarības lapa” as well as ICI volunteers have cooperated during these activities. 25 gift boxes have been prepared together to travel to children from refugee camps in Jordan and Georgia as well as India.
ICN began its work as a one-stop-agency on 18 May 2016. ICN Riga office operates as a coordinating centre in Latvia. It provides assistance in dealing with problems of third country nationals and supports the ICN focal points/branches in the regions (in Cesis, Jelgava, Liepaja and Daugavpils) with regard to provision of services, ensures professional support to service providers in all municipalities in Latvia, coordinates awareness and availability of services to various groups of immigrants.
The activity of the Information Centre for Newcomers within the framework of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund is ensured and developed by the NGO “Shelter “Safe House””. The centre is co-funded by the European Union. Grant Agreement No. PMIF/12/2017/2/01.