Notika projekta „STIPRI KOPĀ -2. СИЛЬНІ РАЗОМ -2” saliedēšanās pasākums

On October 21st and 22nd, 2023, the integration event within the project “STRONG TOGETHER-2. СИЛЬНІ РАЗОМ-2”, ID No. 2023.LV/UKR_KO/2/18, funded by the Society Integration Foundation, was organized by Daugavpils University Association for Lifelong Learning, Cultural, and Scientific Communication, “Intellect Park”. Within the framework of this event, 40 Ukrainian civilians and representatives of the host community visited the prominent tourist attractions in Latgale, participated in various intercultural communication fostering integration activities, got acquainted with the cultural and historical heritage of Latgale, as well as the economic situation and various opportunities for starting small businesses.

On the first day, the project participants visited the recreational complex “Rāznas Ezerkrasti”, where in the evening, they engaged in a discussion on intercultural communication and regional specifics in Latvia and Ukraine. The discussion was led by the Latvian expert Svetlana Polkovņikova and Ukrainian expert Olena Bordiuhova. The participants gained valuable experience, developing their skills in intercultural communication and outlining various models of collaboration between Ukrainian citizens and Latvian residents.

After the discussion, Ukrainian civilians participated in the “Story Night” activities within various interest groups. They listened to stories from fishermen, hunters, mushroom and berry pickers, as well as captivating travel stories and appetizing culinary tales from Latvian housekeepers. The evening continued with workshops where Ukrainian civilians crafted soap, carefully choosing their preferred fragrance and shape, incorporating Latvian flora’s medicinal and decorative plants. In another workshop, the participants had the opportunity to learn gift-wrapping skills. During the workshop on woodburning, they explored Latvian ethnographic symbols, not only mastering the art of woodburning but also learning the names and symbolism of Latvian signs. In each creative workshop, everyone could make several souvenirs to keep as a memory of the project or to give as a gift to someone else. The evening concluded with heartfelt informal conversations and songs in Latvian and Ukrainian languages.

The second day began with information about the opportunities for non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the legislation regulating NGO activities and sources of funding. After the informative part of the day, the participants went on a field trip to the organic farm “Juri”, where they had the opportunity to learn about cheese-making traditions, taste fresh milk or various types of handcrafted cheese, and discover ways to establish their own organic farm to ensure profitability in agricultural activities.

Further on, the participants of the excursion proceeded to Preiļi, where their first stop was the art gallery “Nester Custom”. Here, they had the opportunity to view personalized and restored motorcycles, as well as metal art sculptures. The participants could gather ideas on how to initiate their own business in Latgale, utilizing available resources and transforming them into original concepts.

At the doll museum “Doll Kingdom”, an interactive session took place where everyone could step into the roles of princes or princesses by dressing up in various historical costumes. Additionally, they got acquainted with the artist Vladlena and her crafted dolls. The next stop for the project participants was the former pottery workshop of Latgale’s ceramist Polikarps Čerņavskis, now turned into a museum. Ukrainian civilians learned about Latgale’s ceramic traditions, observed three potter’s wheels, witnessed the process of creating ceramic products, and examined finished ceramic items. During the excursion, the participants also had the opportunity to apply the knowledge gained from the ceramist’s explanations when creating vases, mugs, and small bowls themselves.

Aglona Bread Museum was visited on the way back home. During the culinary workshop, Ukrainian civilians were acquainted with an ethnographic narrative on the history of rye bread. The hostess of the Bread Museum, Vija Kudiņa, explained the bread baking process, beliefs, proverbs related to it, customs, and the steps involved in bread making. The participants learned about the culinary heritage of Latgale, traditions of bread baking, and beliefs associated with it, acquired new vocabulary in the Latgalian language. Each participant had the opportunity to create their own loaf of bread. During lunch, the participants could enjoy dishes from the Latgalian gastronomic heritage, accompanied by the sounds of traditional Latgalian music.

Within the framework of the implemented project activities, Ukrainian civilians had an excellent opportunity to acquaint themselves with the cultural and historical heritage of Latgale, enhance their knowledge of the Latvian language, and establish new contacts. The presence of local residents served as support in acquiring new vocabulary, and, as acknowledged by Ukrainians, additional explanations about various newly encountered things were highly valuable. Participation in the integration event was an excellent opportunity to foster the integration of Ukrainian civilians into Latvian society, become acquainted with Latvian traditional values, and acquire experience in small-business entrepreneurship.

The project is financially supported by the Society Integration Foundation from the allocated funds of the Latvian state budget.

Daugavpils University Association for Lifelong Learning, Cultural, and Scientific Communication, “Intellect Park” is responsible for the content of the project activities.