RIGA, LATVIA [ANR] – Unemployment is an increasing problem in Latvia. Eleven percent of the population in Riga are unemployed and in some rural districts the figures are as high as sixty percent. The cities still offer a few job opportunities, but outside of Riga it is quite hopeless. Although foreign company investment is rising rapidly in Riga, employment offers are for young, energetic, enterprising and educated people. Those over the age of 35 are not considered because they do not speak a foreign language, they lack appropriate education and are not computer literate.
People living in the country can usually provide enough food for themselves by growing their own vegetables, but very few additional resources are available for them to earn extra money, thus causing extreme difficulty in providing their families with clothing. Elderly people try to earn a living by gathering and selling flowers, berries and mushrooms from the forests.
In response to this dire situation, ADRA Latvia has put together a proposal that may help to bring support and relief to those who have been categorised as ‘disadvantaged’ and ‘in need’. ADRA Latvia is working closely with the government’s Social Services Department and will be responsible for implementing the following social program in Riga.
In conjunction with ‘Riga Cultures Secondary School’, hot nutritious meals will be prepared in the school kitchen. Volunteers and students from the school will assist in preparing and serving the meals to the needy and in making time to socialise with the people. By doing this they hope to create an opportunity for people to share their problems with the volunteers and staff from the government’s Social Services Department. The school dining room will be used for those who live locally and are able to come to the school for lunch, and ADRA will deliver food to those who live further away.
Thanks are expressed to ‘Hope for Humanity’ programme in the North American region for providing funding for this project.
ADRA Latvia director