World through our eyes

Created: 2014.06.19 / Updated: 2014.09.09 08:50

Although Lithuania is a small country with a population of 3 million, Lithuanians are actively engaged in social, development, economic and cultural projects aimed at bringing change in the daily life of local communities all around the world.

Lithuanian priest and missionary Hermanas Šulcas arrived in Rwanda in 1978. Starting with just a tent, the industrious priest went on to build a youth centre that offered food, education and teaching of trades for young people in need. He also founded a nearby school that is now attended by around 400 pupils.

During the 1994 Rwandan genocide the homestead was destroyed and many children did not survive, but Šulcas returned to rebuild it. The Youth Center is now run by the local youth brought up by Šulcas, who is dividing his time between Rwanda and traveling the world in search of donors for his initiatives. He has also opened a shelter for children, who need care and attention in Lithuania.

Mr. Šulcas was awarded the Cross of Commander of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas in 2008.

More information on his charity and support fund in Lithuania.

In 2012 six runners from Lithuania created a team with one objective in mind - to run the first ever Sierra Leone Marathon on 9 June 2012 in Sierra Leone, in support of the charity Street Child.  Since then, “Running for Change” has been raising funds for the construction and maintenance of a school in rural Sierra Leone. By the end of 2013 the runners had reached the initial target of raising Euro 25,000. The money is sufficient to fund the construction, for the first time, of permanent concrete foundations, a stable wooden structure and a metal roof. The school will also be re-equipped with new furniture, books, paper and pens for the students and teachers. In addition, the donations will go to support the training of two teachers. Finally, the funds will cover the running costs of the school for the next 3 years.

More information can be found here.

Jūratė de Prins, expert in African zoology and entomology at the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Belgium, was at the helm of a team in Tanzania that began collecting moths,  creating a reference collection and disseminating information on the damage they might cause to crops. The members of the expedition have collected approximately 1,500 specimens in the areas of Morogoro and Udzungwa National Park, including new species, identifying the plants they attack and the damage they cause.

In 2010, as part of a cooperation programme in partnership with the Sokoine Agricultural University in Tanzania, Jūratė de Prins contributed to developing a theoretical and practical training course on the diversity of lepidoptera moths. The course is specific and meant for on-site expert training. Currently, no information in the form of leaflets or posters is available on harmful African species and one of the objectives of Tanzanian partners is to prepare this material for dissemination.

Dr. Birutė Mary Galdikas has set up a camp in Indonesia and began documenting the behavior of the wild orangutans. Her work brought a widespread international attention to these creatures. Dr. Galdikas has studied orangutans longer than any other person in human history and has worked ceaselessly to save these reclusive creatures and their habitat by bringing their plight to the attention of the world. Dr. Galdikas, whose parents emigrated to Canada from Lithuania as wartime refugees, is now recognized by many as the leading authority on orangutans. The work that Dr. Galdikas started in 1971 is now among the lengthiest continuous studies of a mammal species ever conducted.

While campaigning actively on behalf of primate conservation, Dr. Galdikas continues her field research in one of the world’s few remaining wild places, Tanjung Puting National Park in Indonesian Borneo.
She has written several books, including a memoir entitled Reflections of Eden and featured in an IMAX documentary "Born to be Wild".

Visit Birute’s foundation, blog or connect with her by Twitter!

Since 2007, Daiva and Aleksas Luchtanas, a family of Lithuanian archeologists, have conducted the first ever archeological excavation in Ghor province, Afghanistan. A number of search and registration expeditions revealed remains of ancient settlements and buildings, an ancient town Koshke Bohar, a Buddhist monastery Vozguna Sange Bar, remains of Buddhist fortresses, Chalcolithic and Iron Age rock paintings by ancient inhabitants near the Qal'a-i-Malek Antaṟ Castle, a mythological and sacred place - the tomb of the legendary ruler Zahok, described by the ancient poem "Chach Nama". These finds cover an extensive chronological timeline - from the Chalcolithic (the 5th -3th millennium BC) to the era of Islam (the 13th century AD).

Aleksas Luchtanas admits that the fundamental question for the team has always been: "Does local population consider this activity useful and acceptable?". It seems like the answer has always been “yes”. Local religious leaders - mullahs - and local population appreciated the activity of Lithuanian archaeologists. Willingness to help, as well as invitations for tea and dinner, have always been sincere and genuine. Currently the local personnel carries on collecting information about new archeological findings and sending it to the Cultural Monument Protection Department in Kabul.

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