Social orientation activities encompass courses, modules and other initiatives in which non-nationals are introduced with basic civic knowledge of the host society. In Latvia they are provided in the framework of social integration policy guidelines, and cover activities for third country nationals and beneficiaries of international protection.
To further develop integration of non-nationals, PROVIDUS has compiled a mapping reportpdf on social orientation activities currently available in Latvia.
The report was created as a part of RACCOMBAT project, which aims to seek tools and mechanisms to prevent and combat racism and xenophobia against non-nationals throughout their integration in society. More information about the project is available on its website.
The project is funded by the European Union’s Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme (2014-2020).
Summary of the Report
Specific state funded social orientation courses are available for asylum seekers during their initial reception phase. Throughout the 3 month period, all asylum seekers are provided a course of 10 lectures that cover common topics related to the everyday life in Latvia, including information about Latvian history, social structure, most common language phrases, etc. Currently the course is being provided by an NGO “Shelter “Safe House””.
Additional social orientation for asylum seekers and beneficiaries of international protection is provided during language courses and with the help of social mentorship. During the initial reception phase, all asylum seekers have access to 120 hours of Latvian language introduction course. Similarly, social mentorship is available for all beneficiaries of international protection for up to a year after being granted international protection status. The aim of the language course is to introduce newcomers to common and basic phrases in Latvian, and as a result allow for better understanding of Latvian culture and society throughout the examination of various social interactions. Assistance provided by mentors, however, focuses mostly on practical support, such as access to banking and allowance payments, visits to doctor and search for housing, which also provides valuable input to social orientation of beneficiaries of international protection. Latvian language courses were provided by Latvian Language Agency until the end of 2017, while services of social workers and social mentors are provided by an NGO “Shelter “Safe House””.
For third country nationals, language and integration courses are available in the framework of various EU projects. Latvian Language Agency and Education Development Center offer 120 hours of Latvian language courses, while Innovation Development Center offers 28 hours of integration courses funded by the AMIF. These courses offer third country nationals an opportunity to learn about topics related to social orientation, as well as receive assistance and guidance by the course providers.