African living in Vilnius: Lithuanians should forget occupation and learn tolerance
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Violet
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African living in Vilnius: Lithuanians should forget occupation and learn tolerance
In an effort to build a closer relationship with the locals, Lithuania’s African community appealed recently to the Vilnius municipality, delfi.lt writes. They asked them to provide forums where they could introduce young people with their culture and to advise mixed-families facing difficulties. According to the community’s manager Chijioke Nkemka, the municipality already promised such places in Vilnius.

Quote:“We are planning outreach centers where young people could play pool, socialize and do many other activities together which would not cost a lot of money. Also, we would have a place to invite students because currently we ourselves are visiting Lithuanian schools – we do not have the locations where to develop these positive activities” ,said Nkemka, who has been living with his family in his wife’s native Lithuania for the past 5 years.

Nkemka, who is from Nigeria, organized meetings with Lithuanian students last year and plans to continue this year as well. “I chose to do this myself and will see it through. The most important thing is that my son will have a future here, because he will live in Lithuania,” said Nkemka, who claims he feels some discrimination due to what he believes is his skin color.

In the future, there will be many foreigners moving to Lithuania

According to him, many native Lithuanians try to excuse their misbehavior towards other nationalities by saying that they lived so many years under the yoke of Soviet oppression. “That was many years ago though. You have to forget all of that and look towards Lithuania’s future, when foreigners from all over the world will live here. That is why Lithuania needs a civilized outlook on people of other race and nationality. To promote it, we need not only the financial support but the forums for interaction as well, which we are waiting for right now,” said the representative of Lithuania’s Africans, Nkemke.

For several years, the Center for Equality Advancement sponsored the meetings between foreigners and Lithuanians and initiated the project “School for All: towards more open dialogue”.

The pupils from Laurynas Stuoka-Gucevičius gymnasium in Kupiškis, which was involved in the project, said that at first it was reluctant to give a hand to Africans, because there were only a few dark-skinned children in their neighborhood.

“I have not seen any dark-skinned people,” said one of the pupils to DELFI.

According to gymnasium assistant manager Zita Sabaliauskienė, the meeting with the representatives of Vilnius African Community made a huge impression on pupils and encouraged them to study foreign languages.

Emigrants bring back home racial diversity

“During the visit Africans played drums, cooked their national meals, we also invited them to taste our meals. Some of the kids are still pen-palling with Africans, who study in Mykolas Romeris University. We were also invited to an event and fifteen pupils went to Vilnius,” Sabaliauskienė shared her memories.

According to the teacher, ethnic and racial diversity is felt in smaller towns of Lithuania as well, especially during the holidays, when emigrants married to other foreign-born persons return to homeland.

“Other nationality is not a taboo, however kids are very curious to see other races. Such meetings help young people to see that every person despite his skin colour or nationality has the same rights and opportunities, since it does not depend on us where and who we are born,” said the deputy head teacher in Kupiškis Laurynas Stuoka–Gucevičius gymnasium.

These centers might help to understand the higher than average rate of child abandonment by African fathers in mixed-relationships.

The manager of African community agreed with the teacher saying that the number of foreigners who make the families with local women or men is increasing in Lithuania.

“As we build more outreach centers, we would like to organize meetings, where the people of different nationalities could meet to discuss their difficulties and receive some help if they face a crisis because of cultural differences,” said Nkemka to DELFI and added that he along with many other Africans inter-married with Lithuanians, most commonly with Lithuanian women.

“I have met women with mixed-kids but without a husband. I do not know what happened to their families. I think we need to arrange meetings on this issue. Divorce brings lots of pain, especially for kids, so if it happens because of cultural differences, in these meetings it would be possible to talk about that and to solve the problems of mixed-families,” said Nkemka.

In Lithuania there are 10 times more African men than women

According to the Migration Department data, there are 238 African men and 26 African women living in Lithuania.

The highest number of temporary residence permits in Lithuania was given to men from Nigeria (91), Egypt (41), Tunisia (11), Algeria (10), Morocco (9).

At the beginning of 2013, 82 Africans received valid temporary residence permits in Lithuania because Lithuania is the homeland to their spouses or partners, with whom they have a registered partnership.

55 Africans were admitted to full-time university studies, 45 are going to engage in activities, which do not require a work-permit.

Translated by Sandra Dijokaitė
Edited by Neal Maloney

Sunday, January 27, 2013 12:41 am, Posted by admin_lithuaniatribune

African living in Vilnius: Lithuanians should forget occupation and learn tolerance

Send me the pillow... The one that you dream on.
2013 May 06 15:36
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Mustapaita
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RE: African living in Vilnius: Lithuanians should forget occupation and learn tolerance
"Forget your history and kiss our butts", Nkemka says with conviction in his voice. He goes on to belittle the importance of past events in comparison to those that have yet to occur.

The chairman of the Mulattoes United Division (MUD) then moved on to discuss the mixed-race families living in Lithuania. It is a topic that has puzzled the locals for years, for the families in question are virtually exclusively single-parent households.

"I have had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of several local women", Nkemka continues with a knowing smile. "Many of them have become the proud parents of mixed-race families since then."

Outside, a chill wind unusually cruel for this time of year sweeps the closed store fronts. Toothless 20-somethings stand gathered around a can of beer.

"My sister brought home a black baby. She refuses to discuss the husband to this day. I wonder what happened to him", A local man with a moustache ponders.

"Devil, I am devil." ― Pekka Siitoin
2013 May 06 19:31
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Dussander (07-05-2013), Kalevanpoika (17-05-2013), Kat (09-05-2013), Temnozor (06-05-2013), Violet (07-05-2013)


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