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On Sunday afternoon, Anita Toth presented on the mission and projects of LADO, a human rights group based in northern Transylvania that focuses on the legal aspects of integrating foreigners into Romanian society. Anita detailed the extensive process to legal settlement that immigrants have to deal with upon arrival in Romania.

Migrants arriving in Romania are brought to one of many centers found throughout the country where they are given a place to sleep while they work with local officials filing legal documents over a number of weeks while many of them attempt to apply for refugee status in the country. Applicants must go through a vigorous process, including a six to seven hour interview documenting where the migrant is coming from, how they made their way to Romania, and what they hope to accomplish now in Romania. If approved, refugees begin the integration process, are granted the right to work as well as the right to take Romanian language courses. Declined applicants on the other hand are deported back to their home countries.

Problems that immigrants face upon being accepted as refugees in Romania begin with minimal monetary funds as refugees are only allotted 67 lei each week after being accepted into the country, and are still dependent on the local centers for shelter in the time they search for a better living situation. Refugees often struggle to adapt to local culture as there is a great deal of difficulty in providing them with proper language lessons, thus reinforcing a cultural barrier to proper integration. As a result, many refugees have a hard time finding proper jobs.

Anita Toth iterated at the end of the presentation that LADO has a great deal of need for volunteers to help with the integration process of refugees in Romania. Needs include teachers of Romanian language as well as researchers to evaluate the integration process and collect information on how well past applicants have succeeded to integrate and thus provide feedback to help improve the process. Don’t hesitate to get involved by contacting LADO, located in Cluj-Napoca.

Stephen Ianno