Vereinigung für Vernetzung und Partizipation e.V. from Berlin (The Association for Networking and Participation) reports on their website about impressions from their trip to Vilnius. We also would like to share them with you.

Together with the Belarusian organization “Our House,” we were organizing a youth meeting in Berlin in October. “Our House” means “Our Home” and the organization is currently in exile in Vilnius due to repression and violence following an uprising over the rigging of the 2020 presidential election. We recently spent a week in Vilnius for a preparatory meeting. Thanks to this trip, we were able to gain a comprehensive understanding of the work carried out by “Our House” in Vilnius.

Before the elections in Belarus, “Our House” was actually a feminist women’s organization. Mainly out of feminist motives, “Our House” campaigned against domestic violence. This worked well: the fact that women organize themselves and that this can be dangerous did not come to the attention of the security authorities in Belarus for a long time. In addition, the topic of domestic violence allows one to “excuse oneself” in the face of the conservative sexist socialized apparatus of suppression: marriage and family in the eyes of such people are still important, and in general are a woman’s business, so they do not look too closely at what exactly is happening there.

In exile

But this was the end of the uprising after the falsification of the presidential elections. Like the entire opposition, “Our House” fled into exile in Vilnius. Vilnius is only 30 kilometers from the border, and many residents speak Russian or Belarusian. However, the tasks to which “Our House” devotes itself have changed greatly.


Humanitarian assistance

Thanks to the food bank and the clothing warehouse, “Our House” provides food and clothing to about 200 families. This is due to the fact that refugees from Belarus do not receive any government support and do not have the right to work during the recognition process. In addition, refugees are increasingly avoiding registration, as the Lithuanian government has over the past six months abandoned its original position of supporting refugees and the opposition, and increasingly views Belarusian refugees as a threat to internal security.



Many of the opposition refugees have endured traumatic experiences. That’s why “Our House” also offers low-threshold trauma support. Craft circles and dance therapy accompany facilitated discussion circles in which refugees try to process their experiences together.

Handicrafts in memory of the uprising

We found the flower-making activity dedicated to the anniversary of the failed uprising particularly interesting. One of the ways to express solidarity of Belarusians with non-dictatorial Belarus is the use of white and red colors. They resemble the old flags of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Handicrafts made from flowers are widespread. Of course, they can also be made in red and white, and then publicly used to express quiet solidarity with the uprising. And by making flowers, even people who are mentally incapable of such a protest or do not consider it necessary to show their face there can become part of it.


In addition to direct assistance to Belarusian refugees, “Our House” conducts campaigns to facilitate the provision of asylum to refugees. This is a huge task, especially in times like these.