Atbalsts Ukrainai

To support Ukrainian civilians who have made Latvia their home and to facilitate their integration into the country's social and economic environment, the Society Integration Foundation (SIF) has been implementing several support programmes since the beginning of the war. By the end of 2023, the information line  "Help for Ukrainians in Latvia", a total of 77,958 calls have been received and 1,431 consultations have been provided at the Integration and Inclusion Agency (IIA), 9,556 people have attended Latvian language courses, more than 10,000 people have attended cultural orientation courses and events, 234,572  food and basic material support packages have been handed out, and 2,158 people received social mentoring support. Significant support has been provided also to Latvian non-governmental organisations and volunteering activities to help coordinate support and assistance 166 projects amounting to €4.8 million in total were supported over two years.

"At the very beginning of the Russian invasion, the Society Integration Foundation took on a major role in coordinating support to the Ukrainian residents staying in Latvia. When looking back, we are really pleased to have been able to adapt existing fund programmes within a short space of time and to create services that are tailored to the needs of the Ukrainian residents and accessible in a user-friendly way. Given the current situation, we need to move forward and do everything we can to ensure that these people not only feel good here, become attached to our society, culture and language, but also can successfully integrate into the labour market and education system. And also to ensure that the potential of immigrant specialists, very welcome in Latvia in many fields, would also be used," says Zaiga Pūce, Director of the Secretariat of the Society Integration Foundation.

To provide the most essential information on how to provide and receive support to Ukraine's civilian population in one place, on 2 March 2022, the SIF's Single Information Line  "Help for Ukrainians in Latvia" - 27 380 380 was launched, which is still in operation. By the end of 2023, a total of 77,958 calls were received in total (in 2022 - 67,000, in 2023 - 11,261)

Last year, the Integration and Inclusion Agency (IIA) was launched to provide individual support and advice on life in Latvia to all third-country citizens, including Ukrainian civilians. In 2023, 1,431 consultations were provided accounting for 35% of the total. For Ukrainian civilians, the most frequent questions are related to practical issues about life in Latvia, access to e-services, employment opportunities and rights, as well as language learning opportunities.

During the period from spring 2022 to the end of 2023, SIF is implementing the programme "Latvian Language Training for Ukrainian Civilians", and, during two years, the language courses were attended by 9,556 people.  In 2022, a  total of 3,507 people attended the training, while 6,049 people took up this opportunity during the period from spring to 15 December 2023. Free Latvian language tuition was provided in all regions of Latvia, both in person and remotely, as well as in a hybrid mode. 

Through its funding to non-governmental organisations (NGOs), the SIF is helping to promote engagement, advocacy and other civic activities of Latvian civil society to help coordinate support and assistance to Ukraine and Ukrainian refugees. Over the period of two years, 166 projects worth €4.8 million have been supported.

Activities based on common interests form an important element in building bridges between the Ukrainian civilians and members of the host society. In 2023, the programme "Cultural Orientation Courses and Inclusion Measures for Ukrainian Civilians" was launched, and 27 projects were supported and more than 118 activities were implemented within the framework of the programme, involving 10,160 Ukrainian civilians in Latvia. The projects will provide Cultural Orientation Courses in all regions of Latvia, as well as measures and other activities to promote the integration of Ukrainian civilians into Latvian society and cooperation between Ukrainian civilians and the host community. Approved projects included educational excursions to places of interest in Latvia, active leisure, cooperation and socialising activities, opinion exchange and language clubs, entrepreneurship workshops aimed at promoting inclusion in the Latvian national economy, and other measures.

Within the framework of the European Support Fund for the Most Deprived Persons and the European Social Fund Plus programme to alleviate material insecurity, food and basic material support packages are also distributed to civilians in Ukraine through partner organisations. From March 2022, 234,572 support kits (153,421 food kits, 72,934 hygiene kits, 3,836 school kits, special kits for young children - baby food 2,553 and baby hygiene products 1,828) have been distributed. Parcels are available at more than 400 distribution points across Latvia, and a hot meals - at one of 29 soup kitchens.

During the period from April 2022 until the end of 2023, the support programme "Provision of Social Mentoring to Ukrainian Civilians" was implemented. 2,158 people benefited from social mentoring. The aim of the programme was to provide practical support to Ukrainian civilians, building their understanding of life in Latvia, helping them to acquire the necessary skills to deal with everyday situations and encouraging them to develop new skills, thus promoting the socio-economic inclusion of Ukrainian civilians. The social mentoring service for Ukrainian civilians was provided within the framework of the European Social Fund project "Promoting Diversity".

Ukrainians have also shown interest in the SIF “Family of Honour” programme. The discounts on goods and services offered by more than 450 companies and state institutions across Latvia under the "Family of Honour" certificate issued by the SIF are available also to large families from Ukraine, as well as to families of emergency guardians caring for a child or children from Ukraine. A total of around 500 certificates have been issued.