Measures for the integration of Roma into Lithuanian society
In comparison to other European countries the Roma are not a large national minority in
Lithuania. There are about 2,500 Roma nationals living here. However, there is a need for policy
measures facilitating Roma integration, especially in places where the Roma minority lives in a
closed diaspora community, which might result in Roma children not attending school, adults not
entering the job market etc. (these issues are especially topical in the capital). In 2008 the
Govemment of Lithuania approved the Programme of Roma Integration into Local Society
2008-2010. The goals of this Prograrnme were: 1) ensure integration of the Roma national
minority into Lithuanian society and decrease their social exclusion; 2) preserve the national and
culturai identity of Roma people; 3) improve the image of Roma people in the wider society.
Many Prograrnme implementation activities were carried out by the Roma Community Centre -
an organisation established in 2001 with the aim of integrating the Roma community into
Lithuanian society. As part of the Programme the Roma Community Centre organised
integration and socialisation activities for pre-school children, leisure time cultural activities for
Roma schoolchildren, provided free Lithuanian language courses to Roma adults and organised
courses about the job market for Roma adults; organised a camp at the Baltic Sea to foster
culturai identity and encourage socialisation of Roma children. However, it has to be noted that
due to the economic recession not all activities foreseen in the Programme were implemented.
At the moment Roma integration activities are based on the Roma Integration into Lithuanian
Society Action Plan 2012-2014, approved by the Ministry of Culture. The main goals of the plan
are to improve the social conditions of the Roma minority and to create conditions for
interculturai dialogue. Together with social integration measures this plan pays special attention
to fostering Roma culture and increasing its openness to wider society.