News

2020.03.28 10:00

‘Society is making miracles happen’. Civic initiatives sweep across Lithuania

LRT.lt2020.03.28 10:00

As the pandemic reached Lithuania, the country’s society mobilised to help, spread positivity, and also look for solutions.

First, there were only some announcements stuck on the walls of apartment blocks offering to bring groceries to the elderly, wrote Mykolas Kleck, a social media activist.

“Then, a countless flow of volunteers signed up to help municiplaities, medical workers, and NGOs,” he wrote on Facebook in a post that went viral.

Read more: Portraits of quarantine: photographer shows how Lithuanians deal with lockdown

“The Riflemen’s Union, scouts, other NGOs banded together to help," he wrote. And once the quarantine come into effect, the initiatives exploded in scope and scale, according to Kleck, and the society "started making miracles happen".

LRT English recounts the civic initiatives indexed by Kleck on March 25.

– Jurgis ir Drakonas, Brooklyn Brothers, +++ Gastrobaras, and now many others are supplying free food to medical workers and those in need or who are in isolation.

– Restaurants donate leftover food to Food Banks, the Maltiečiai (Order of Malta Relief Organization), and others.

– After receiving encouragement from the municipalities,people spend their free time digging up suppliers who can still deliver respirators and other protective means for medical workers.

– Programmers offer free online courses, physiotherapists offer educational videos, teachers teach languages to kids, educators give tips on how to entertain kids at home, LRT runs an educational programme for children stuck indoors, dancers show how to dance, musicians offer free concerts from their bedrooms, DJs play sets from the kitchen, theatres show performances online, and countless other initiatives take place.

– Volunteer medical workers come together in a project MEDo, which offers free consultations.

– Practically, all large and small sports clubs organise free workouts online.

– Private clinics, such as Fi clinica and Nordclinic, announce that they can become hospitals for free. Other clinics, for exampe AmberEsthetic, donate all protective equipment to hospitals.

– Maltiečiai, together with Vilnius Municipality, begin raising donations to buy protective equipment and collect 50,000 euros in just one week.

– With Makers of Lithuania community taking the lead, various companies and individuals who own 3D printers start sharing blueprints on how to produce protective eyewear and spare parts for ventilation machines.

– Private nurseries, which have been left without work, organise childcare for working medics.

– Other people, meanwhile, offer to take care of pets left at home by the medical workers.

– Other activists buy respirators and take them to the hospitals.

– Vyturys, a Lithuanian publisher, offers its products to educational institutions. Another publisher, Šviesa, offers all their ‘soft’ content to teachers for free.

– The publisher Kitos Knygos offers free books.

– Lawyers offer free consultations to people who are being abused by employers during this crisis.

– Communications agencies, including Bosanova, offer free consultations.

– Vilniaus Degtinė, an alcohol factory, is making tons of disinfectants and are offering them cheaply to hospitals, clinics, and the general public.

– People create an open-source map to show where most of the elderly live.

– Lietuvos Paštas (Lithuanian Post) prints some 200,000 information leaflets for Vilnius Municipality.

– Vladas Lašas, a Lithuanian enterpreneur, organises hackathon, inviting programmers and creators to look for solutions that will help solve problems caused by the crisis.

– MITA, the science, innovation and technology agency, organises a tech competition to help tackle the crisis.

– Telecommunication companies unite and in just one day establish a volunteer coordination centre – stipruskartu.lt.

– Cryptocurrency miners offer their technology to scientists that need computing power.

– People start offering their Airbnb accommodation for quarantined people for free. Domillion offers their rented apartment to frontline medical workers who are afraid to infect their families.

– Veloklinika, a bike repair shop, offers to fix the bikes of food delivery courriers for a minimal price and without waiting times.

– Translators and writers offer free help to spread information.

– Lithuania’s MailerLite startup offers their newsletter service for free to education, health and other government institutions worldwide.

– Kalinkinas, a textile producer, starts making medical masks.

– Geštalto Institutas and Depresijos Gydymo Centras (Depression Treatment Centre) starts offering free psychological support to medics.

– Responsible businesses buy expensive ventilators for the counry’s hospitals.

– Andrius Tapinas from Laisvės TV and his team collect 833,508 euros (as of March 25) to buy various protective equipment for medical workers.

– Fabula Hill+Knowlton Strategies and their clients offer PR strategies.

– Coca Cola and Neptūnas take large stocks of drinks to the hospitals.

– Supastar representatitives are preparing robots so that the medical workers don’t have to come in direct contact with infected people.

– Construction companies are donating their respirators to hospitals.

– Telecomunnications company Bitė offers free services to medical workers and institutions, while Tele2 offers free internet service.

– NordSec gives out free VPN products to various institutions.

– Activists create a chatbot – www.koronasos.lt – so that people can check information via Messenger and not clog the phone lines.

– Robotikos Mokykla (Robotics School) starts creating protective shields for hospitals.

– Restaurants CanCan Pica, PANK'olis, Užupio picerija, Čingis, Žali Žali and others supply food to volunteers working at the airports. The products are taken there by CityBee, a car-rental service.

– CityBee lowers their prices to decrease the need of public transport.

– The suprermarket chain Maxima offers food, and Lidl gift cars, to volunteers working at the coronavirus hotline, 1808.

– Kietaviškės, a vegetable producer, will doante produce.

– Dropaudio records free audio voiceovers for all health-related public announcements.

– Houseys, a short-term rental service, provides housing to quarantined people.

– Mototoja lends their vehicles to hospitals and medical workers.

– Darnu Group offers their hotel to use for quarantine measures and, if needed, to convert the SEB Arena in Vilnius to a hospital.

– CircleK petrol stations and Dodo Pizza offer free coffee to medical workers and other officers.

– AdDrama initiate a platform, Kaip Mėnulyje (Like on the Moon), to offer psychiatric support during the crisis.

– Rotary clubs in Lithuania unite to buy protective equipment for medical staff worth over 45,000 euros.

– Lietuvos Draudimas (Lithuanian Insurance) dedicates 30,000 euros to buy protective equipment for Kaunas Clinic.

– Šypsomės.lt create animated heroes for children whose birthdays occur during the crisis.

– Many others are themselves making fabric masks and are taking them to medical workers and disadvantged people.

– TV providers Balticum and Telia unlock more free channels for families and children.

– Tele2 is canceling advertising on Facebook and Google and using the funds for ads in Lithuanian media to help keep it afloat.

– Graphic design students at Vilnius Academy of Arts are sharing drawings to be coloured in by children.

– For volunteers working at airports, Unipark is providing free parking, and SUN365 – their homemade juice.

– Gynybos Paramos Fondas is taking food to lorry drivers waiting at border crossings.

– Avia Solutions Group and KlasJet deliver medical protective equipment from China, and also allocate a jet to repatriate Lithuanians from Italy.

– Žali Burtai are giving out their aromatherapy products to medical workers to help them relax.

– Daina Bosas is using her online following to collect aid and buy protective equipment.

– Švaros Broliai, a car cleaning service, are disinfecting police cars for free.

– Rūta chocolatiers are giving out 7,500 products to medical workers.

– RoseHip Vegan Bistro is sending free food to the workers at the National Public Health Surveillance Laboratory which is doing the Covid-19 tests.

– VCUP shopping centre donates 10,000 euros to buy protective equipment for medical workers and is also organising blood donation action.

– Tomas Ok Man unites several Lithuanian tech companies and startups. In several hours, they collect 300,000 euros to buy protective equipment for medical workers.