Friday, March 19, Vilnius. The EU has declared 2010 the year for combating poverty and social exclusion. This initiative has been joined by most European countries, including - as of this week - Lithuania. In her address to the participants of a special introductory event, dedicated to combating poverty and organized by the Ministry of Social Security and Labor, President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė underlined that the deepening social exclusion posed a challenge not only to the state, but also to society. Therefore, the President said, the contribution of active and civic-minded people was very important and priceless when addressing the most painful problems faced by society.
"While ministries and other government institutions are designing and deliberating social aid projects, the people of initiative come up with quick solutions for assisting each other. We have many examples when caring and dedicated people rush to help those who live in poverty, violence and social exclusion, offering ways out from most difficult situations. Such initiatives, especially in times of hardship, must have our attention and support," the President said.
During the event, the best initiatives to fight poverty and social exclusion were introduced and good-will ambassadors Deimantė Žebrauskaitė, head of the food aid charity Maisto Bankas, singers Veronika Pavilionienė and Gabrielius Liaudanskas-Svaras were awarded for their charity work.
According to President Grybauskaitė, good-will ambassadors are the best example confirming that the efforts and compassion of each and every are the most important tools for dealing with difficult and acute social issues.
President Grybauskaitė underscored the necessity to bring active, compassionate and willing to help people together in every corner of Lithuania and to support and promote their social aid projects. The President pointed out that such projects could help reduce unemployment more rapidly, fight poverty and crime, ensure a dignified old age as well as safe and secure childhood, give encouragement to the weak and the abused, and facilitate the process of social adaptation for former inmates.
"Human compassion costs nothing, but it can do a lot of good. Let us not be indifferent and let us help each other not as a duty, but from the heart," the President said.