Exhausted from the daily rush more than 10 years ago, Egija moved to Belfast in Northern Ireland. In her spare time, Egija and her friends were happy to explore the local culture and traditions. Life, as Egija says, was cool. But at the same time, when the children were born, Egija and her husband felt that children should grow up in Latvia and learn in Latvian schools. After reassessing their life priorities, Egija and her family returned to Latvia in the summer of 2018, the Smiltene municipality, where they have now found work while the children have started school and kindergarten.
Sniki family story about feelings of safety, comfort and accessibility while living in Latvia, in the municipality of Gulbene. The video reveals the true values of the family – quality time spent together doing sports, creating and maintaining traditions and maintaining close relationships with their loved ones – parents, grandparents and friends. There’s much wealth hidden in simplicity.
Lilita has returned to her hometown of Preili from Norway. She works in the beauty industry and teaches yoga classes to people in Preili.
The determined Lilija has returned to Rezekne to continue her studies here while working in the local café. Relatives and friends are worth all this.
Vineta has lived in England for 15 years. For two summers now, together with a friend from England, she travels to Latgale to enjoy nature and cultivate permaculture. Vineta organises workshops for foreigners on growing rural goodies every six months at her grandfather’s house.
My name is Janis. I returned from Ireland after 14 years. I’ve been back here, in my beloved Iecava, for six months. Well… I originally left alone, the family joined me. We all lived there, I worked. It was a good job but… but Latvia kept pulling me back. But we stayed and stayed… Two or three years ago I got depressed – I just really wanted to go back. A year ago, I first sent my wife and children back to Latvia, arranged spots in school for children. The children were learning, my wide stayed. That was an additional incentive to return sooner. So, I did.
Everything is okay! During these six months, there has not been a single day when I would have regretted my decision to come back or thought that I was worse off here. As long as you keep moving, everything is ok! Everyone lives on, they have their cars, their apartments, houses are being built – everything is moving… Moving! I’ve also started moving to apply to the state remigration program support fund. If I receive the money, I will put it into making my own garage. I’m sure I’ll have plenty of clients within a couple of months. I’ll work, earn money, the family will be fed. What more do you need? The amount granted by the state is enough to create your own service station, garage, to buy everything you need for work. I think this is the way it is going to go. And it will – there is no reason for pessimism! I will start with car welding and repair and, if there is a chance, expand to metal construction. You need to start with something small to figure out what the demand is, what is more needed, what is not needed, what you can make money on and what is not profitable. If everything goes as planned, in one year everything will be really, really good! Then I’ll only go to Ireland to visit. If you want to come back, take the first step! If you really want it, you have to do it! The first step is the hardest. But once you start moving back towards home, it’s hard to stop.
Einars: – My name is Einars Vitols and I lived in England for five years.
Ieva: – My name is Ieva Muiznika. I returned from Swindon, England, just two months ago. I spent a year in Swindon, England. You could say that I went there to visit Einars. We have returned to Riga as we decided to look for opportunities in the capital. The only work I’ve done in England is working in a clothing store. I really liked it, there were really cool people there and the work was not too difficult. But still I wanted to go home so we set that as a goal and here we are.
Einars: – In any case, we had arranged everything before coming back, we both had been offered jobs. So, there were no problems. You could say that our jobs were already waiting for us here.
I think that support is really important. If, for example, I didn’t have someone to poke and prod me, I’d probably still be in England and, most likely, would have stayed there forever. Because… it really matters whether you have people who support you, who are there for you, who are read to help you. That’s really important. Then you feel that you are not alone. It’s hard to push yourself forward in life if you’re alone. It can be done, of course, but the motivation is a lot weaker. People next to you are the ones that provide really strong motivation.
The most difficult part is the emotional part. There are people who I worked with for four, nearly five years, they’re almost like your second family. The hardest moment was when I had to go to work and tell them: “Sorry, guys, it’s time – I’m going back!” We visited Latvia on vacation quite often and we saw how it was here, and our friends told us how they were doing. People really aren’t doing badly. Everyone lives, everyone has apartments, houses, cars, work… Everyone is happy! Maybe there’s less money to be made here but the standard of living is a bit different here, too. All costs are lower. When I calculate how much I earned in England and how much we spent on rent and everything else, the overall situation was exactly the same as it is living here. In any case… Maybe… I’d say that people who have lived abroad for years might have it harder because they are used to the wages there, they are used to everything there… Maybe it will be harder for them. But at the same time – our friends who lived there for more than a decade returned too, and they are very happy. People are happy, they said that this is the best decision they could have made. I see the standard of living here going up with my own eyes, people are happy, people are dressed, fed and living under a roof. The main thing is not to be afraid – to dare, to take a chance! You really cannot lose anything, you can always go back. I believe that there is a point in trying because… well, when, if not now? I believe that this is the best time to do this. Many people I know have returned, many of my friends have returned. No one has run away after two months – they all have found jobs, stabilized their lives and are not complaining.
I’m Lasma. I left Latvia in 2007 and lived in Melbourne, Australia for 11 years. I’ve only just returned to Latvia, to my hometown of Talsi this May. In Australia, I worked with seniors. I worked in the Melbourne Latvian village and was responsible for managing a variety of activities for them. That village was like my own Latvia, a place where people speak only Latvia, prepare Latvian dishes… And the people I met there, the stories they told me – that was an invaluable experience. Latvia is a wonderland, a holy land for them. There are many Latvians in Australia – there are some who have never been to Latvia and there are those who have gone and come back.
Who helped me with the return? Mostly my family and friends. I also got in touch with the Kurzeme regional coordinator – she helped me with the information I needed. She put together exactly what I needed. A bigger part of our cooperation was her answering all questions I had. I really didn’t know, too, what exactly I needed at the time.
I was born in Talsi and lived there till the age of 30. I studied and worked there. My family has a furniture business here. They produce furniture. I think that in time I might get involved in the family business. While still living in Australia, I began to study. I’ve been studying for a year now, distance learning in interior design. All assignments are practical and must be sent in. This has been my calling since childhood. When I was little, I liked painting the walls, move the furniture around… I appreciate all the things I have here today, the fact that I can just sit here, enjoy Latvia and my family, that I have my family by my side. That’s the most important thing. You can cope with everything! It might take some time but, in the end, you’ll get where you wanted to go.
After spending three years working in Moscow, Viktors Gallers has returned to Latgale and calls the recently purchased properties in Berkenele, Daugavpils municipality, home. Currently Viktors is an educational toy producer.
When planning our return home, we searched for information online on the remigration plan and support to people who want to make this serious choice. After finding information on regional remigration coordinators, I got in touch with Astrida Lescinska (Latgale).
It was really nice to find out that there are people in Latvia who can give practical advice and help to sort things out – all of which would not be so easy without this project. Since we are a new family, the most important issue we had to solve was a place at a kindergarten for our daughter. Astrida took it upon herself to go to the relevant authorities in the city of our choice and do everything in her power to ensure that we can return to Latvia and work. In terms of employment, Astrida actively and regularly provided information on the latest vacancies and work opportunities. Unfortunately, this project does not include employers willing to employ remigrants. Still, our coordinator found social initiatives that had launched various projects for remigrants and regularly inquired on whether any news had been received from potential employers. Caring and moral support is one of the most important tasks of the coordinator. It is so nice to receive news from Astrida, she always asks about how the interview went, how the settling in process is going, etc. It could seem like a small thing but for a new family that has decided to take such a big step, it is very important. It would be great if the remigration plan would in the future also entail ways to provide housing for those who want to return. Renting an apartment in the city or buying a home while you haven’t found a job is financially very difficult, besides, not all families can do that. We are fortunate because we receive a lot of support from our family. But those who do not have a place to return to, this is often a decisive issue.
Our cooperation with Latgale coordinator Astrida started thanks to the power of thought. We were planning on returning even before we heard of this remigration campaign. We intended to return to Latvia because of our child, because we wanted to bring him up in a Latvian environment, we wanted him to have close bonds with relatives and our own hearts longed for the loved ones left in our homeland.
One day I mentioned to my husband that I had read about the remigration campaign and asked whether we should contact the coordinator for our region – it wouldn’t hurt to ask! While we were considering this, Astrida got in touch with us first! So, we started communicating regularly. She gave us advice about the available aid and the necessary contact information. If you asked me whether the coordinators are necessary, I’d definitely say yes! What we gain from this depends on the municipality. But in order to know what you can ask the municipality, how to do it better, where and who to ask – it was to these questions the coordinator provided us with the answers and information. And it encouraged us, which is no less important. Thank you, Astrida, for contacting us! We really encourage municipalities to be more involved in this campaign!