In 2023 Siauliai City Municipality Public Library implemented the project “All under the same sun” financed by the Lithuanian Council of Culture and the Siauliai City Municipality, which aimed to contribute to the smoother integration and socialization of Ukrainian schoolchildren in grades 5–8 in Lithuania, to promote intercultural communication between students and teachers, and to develop creative self-expression and the potential of participating in creative and educational activities with professional creators, to meet educational and cognitive needs.

Participants were engaged in many activities

Encouraging children’s creativity and communication, students (Lithuanians and Ukrainians) from educational institutions of Siauliai, Joniskis and Mazeikiai were invited to write letters to one another and in this way establish new friendships and find pen pals. In the hands of artist Dalia Brazlauskiene, students’ letters and photos turned into a collage exhibition and the calendar of the year 2024. While creating the compositions, the artist seems to play with the meaning of the project, the artistic messages of the letters, and, updating today’s topic, provokes a dialogue with the viewer. In order to inspire and motivate students to write letters, creative writing workshops were run with youth writer Igne Zarambaite, educator Zana Tolstikova, Siauliai Arts School children and youth theater studio “Kompanija sauni” (“Cool company“) prepared a theatrical workshop “Writing letters is cool“. There was also an exciting meeting with the Ukrainian writer, war veteran Oleksandr Tereshchenko, charismatic meetings (in Siauliai, Joniskis and Mazeikiai) with the writer Ilona Ezerinyte, musical meetings with the performer, vocalist of the group “Kitava” dr. Rasa Stoskuviene, the Ukrainian artist and performer Olena Lastivka.

Final event was held

The results of the project activities were presented at the final event “Friendship builds bridges” – the impressions and experiences of the participants were shared. Project participants, students and teachers from Siauliai, Joniskis and Mazeikiai educational institutions, partners, sponsors took part in the event. During the event, Irena Zilinskiene, the director of the Siauliai City Municipality Public Library, and Andrius Kvedaras, a specialist of the Culture Department of the Siauliai city municipality staff, gave welcome speeches. The director congratulated everyone who came to the library and participated in the project: “When you leave the library today, you will take with you the fact that friendship works miracles,” – said I. Zilinskiene. A. Kvedaras thanked the library on behalf of the Siauliai city municipality and was happy with the ideas implemented by the library: “This is one of the examples of how we can contribute to the integration of the Ukrainian community into our city, strengthen cultural and social ties”, – said A. Kvedaras. Zhana Tolstikova, the coordinator of the Ukrainian Integration Center “Malva“, the partner of the project,  enjoyed the significance of the project for the Ukrainian community and the implemented activities and smooth cooperation and encouraged those present to try to write a letter to themselves, especially when bad emotions come: “Write and tear, write and tear again, because letters transmit emotion – both joy and pain”, – encouraged Z. Tolstikova. At the event, Giedre Brazlauskaite, a representative of the Siauliai Rotary Club “Harmony”, presented “Malva” with 40 library reader tickets (20 for adults and 20 for children), which will go to the Ukrainians living in Siauliai. We were happy that the Embassy of the Ukraine in Lithuania also contributed to the success of the project, supplying the library’s book fund with 29 books of 16 different titles in Ukrainian.

The Ukrainian singer Olena Lastivka created a musical mood, singing Ukrainian songs to the participants of the event and charmed them with her charisma and energy.

Participants were awarded

The teachers from Siauliai, Joniskis and Mazeikiai educational institutions were also happy with the opportunity to participate in the project “Everyone under the same sun” and see the results of the students’ creative activities – a calendar and an exhibition. According to the teachers, the students gained new experience and found new friends from other towns by writing letters. Thanks and gifts were given to the project participants – calendars of the year 2024.

Siauliai City Municipality Public Library information