LiJOT: Supporting young people in Lithuania for 25 years

The Lithuanian Youth Council (LiJOT) is the biggest non-governmental, non-profit umbrella structure for Lithuanian national youth organisations and regional unions of youth organisations and an Affiliated Organisation of ERYICA since 2012. It was founded on 19 September 1992. Hence this year, LiJOT is celebrating its 25-year anniversary.

Throughout the years, LiJOT has grown extensively – now it has 67 members and represents more than 200,000 young people in Lithuania! 200,000 young people who are willing to grow and change their country by tackling their own problems.

In 2004, young people noticed that their peers were becoming more passively involved in the elections, not expressing their will or deciding things for themselves.  Consequently, they have solved this problem and created the campaign "I Do Care", which has been going on for thirteen years. Because of this initiative, today we are able to enjoy record high youth electoral activity - almost 38% of young people voted last year in the parliamentary elections of Lithuania. Can we deny the fact that this creates a more active and democratic country?

In 2005, LiJOT came up with the idea of travelling annually to the historical places where many Lithuanians were deported, and consequently, the project “Mission Siberia” was born. “Mission Siberia” is now one of the most popular projects in Lithuania. More than 900 people aspire to become part of the project and contribute to a positive change. This success was reached because the initiative itself was founded by and continues to be implemented by young people.

An entirely new example of young people’s participation in society is the "Thank you, Lithuania!"initiative, which brings together all the communities in our country, which are thankful to our state for various things. The idea of the initiative is to change the notion that there has not been any good growth in Lithuania, to this unifying and popular initiative, which reaches different generations, cities and towns in Lithuania and abroad.

A young person nowadays bravely raises the issue of discrimination, health and other issues, because this generation is not afraid to look at the problems and assess the shortcomings of the country directly. And so LiJOT, by bringing young people together to solve such problems, organising, analysing and presenting information to young people, has been serving as a platform for dialogue for 25 years. Young people realise that the ability to talk is our strength.

Some people try to say that we are a generation of "stars" - we want everything and we want it now. However, this desire helps us to come to the labour market more prepared than ever before and to provide relevant suggestions to governmental institutions not only at national, but also international level. Through processes like the Structured Dialogue and cooperation with other national youth councils and youth organisations abroad, young people are able to learn, grow and express themselves for the good of society.

The hands of young people are open today and their minds are hungry - they want to work, study, practice, travel and create their own path. Almost 90% of young people in the West believe their expectations can be fulfilled and they have the opportunity to reach their goals. Perhaps, from the feeling that a mere 14-year-old can change the self-government of his school, more events and positive revolutions will occur every day. Thus Lithuania, who has given us freedom and the opportunity to join the youth organisations under LiJOT umbrella 25 years ago, today grows itself at the hands of young people!

Article provided by Lijot.

For further information, please contact Ingrida Jotkaitė

Jessica Walker