Rīga City Council Support Center for Ukrainians

While I was in  Rīga, Latvia this summer conducting research for my next book project on women’s representation in the Latvian Saeima (the parliament), I volunteered at the Rīga City Council Support Center for Ukrainian Citizens. According to the International Organization for Migration in Latvia, over 115,000 Ukrainian refugees have crossed Latvia’s borders since February 24, 2022 and over 35,000 have applied for temporary protection. Ukrainians came to the support center to file paperwork, look for jobs, receive counseling, get childcare, or a free meal. 

I went through a volunteer training and because of my Russian and Ukraine language skills was place in the children’s room. Other volunteers told me that there was another American volunteer that didn’t speak Russian or Ukrainian and they put her in the kitchen. So I was very thankful that my language skills allowed me to draw and play hide and seek with Ukraine children all summer instead of peeling onions in a hot kitchen! Here are some photos of the room where I volunteered after I cleaned up after 30 kids on a very hot day in June. 

We did art projects with the kids and these are some of my favorite artistic renditions of Ukraine from the kids at the center.


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