Situation of Tajik Refugees in Lithuania

Situation of Tajik Refugees in Lithuania
Based on three baseline studies conducted by TBCC
(March-October 2020)
Tajik Baltic Culture Centre is a civil non-governmental organization with limited liability. It was officially registered on November 19th, 2019. Legal form of the organization is association.

TBCC was established with the purpose of promoting comprehensive development of the Tajik refugee community, which has been formed in Lithuania since 2015, including their effective integration into Lithuanian society. Currently, the total number of community members make 32 families, 92 people, 44 (48%) of whom are under the age of 19, including 25 schoolchildren and 8 kindergarten children., Eleven children are still do not attend state schools or preschool institutions for unknown reasons.

During the 11 months, since TBCC was established, its activists voluntarily have completed the following:

• Arranged office to organize the regular activities of the association,

• Developed a logo and an official letterhead for TBCC,

• Created website of the organization in three languages,

• Implemented two small projects on a volunteer basis,

• Arranged partnership with four various organizations in Lithuania,

• Conducted three baseline studies to research the real situation of Tajik refugees living in Lithuania and identify challenges that prevent them from effective integration into Lithuanian society.

The gained experience proves that TBCC has to determine the priorities of its activities in accordance with the urgent challenges of the target group, which prevent them from full integration. The first challenge that Tajik refugee community is facing at present is that nine refugee children in the 9th, 10th and 12th grades of various schools in Vilnius and Kaunas risk to not receive a secondary education certificate due to insufficient knowledge of Lithuanian language. If they do not receive a secondary education certificate, the mentioned schoolchildren will not be able to continue their studies at vocational colleges and universities, so, they will not be able to obtain the necessary qualifications for further employment.

Another baseline study conducted by TBCC recently (on October 10-18, 2020) put light upon Tajik refugees’ employment. The study was conducted among 37 working-age refugees living in Vilnius and Kaunas. From the total number of 48 Tajik refugees over 20 years old, 2 are retired, 6 are currently outside Lithuania and 3 have refused to participate in the study.

The study shows that among the working-age Tajik refugees who received asylum in Lithuania, there are 18 qualified personnel (11 men and 7 women), and only two of them perform their professional capacity. One of the main reasons, which prevent the economic integration of the abovementioned specialists, is the lack of knowledge of the state language. Currently only 16 people (5 women, 11 men) are engaged in productive work out of the total number of 37 Tajik refugees (20 men and 17 women) covered by the study. The remaining 18 people (10 women and 8 men) do not work for various reasons. Meanwhile, 11 people (3 men and 8 women) have not found a job since they received asylum, whereas 5 of them (2 women and 3 men) are qualified specialists.

Two of the adult Tajik refugees (one girl and one boy) entered the universities in Lithuania and Germany this year and are studying medicine. In addition, a young woman is completing a short-term tailor course and is currently looking for a suitable job with the help of a specialist from the Red Cross and the Employment Service.

A quite big number -16 people (8 women and 8 men) out of total number of working-age Tajik refugees, are unskilled workers and need professional training for a new occupation. Since receiving asylum in Lithuania, only 4 women have taken professional courses for confectioners, but, unfortunately, none of them found relevant job.

Six women out of 17 Tajik refugees covered by the study are currently on maternity leave, that is, they are at home with their small children. But, unfortunately, only one of them receives maternity benefits, because she worked before the birth of her child. Moreover, the number of women who did not work since becoming refugees is almost three times higher than the number of men is not occupied at all. This makes us to pay attention to the gender aspect of employment among Tajik refugees.