The five winning projects, including the Lithuanian project, was announced by European Commissioner for Regional Policies Johannes Hahn in Brussels on Thursday.
Financed by the European Union (EU), the social integration project Towards a Job was carried out between 2009 and 2012 and included short films with translation into the sign language intended to create a positive image of deaf individuals on the labor market and the society.
The films targeted the hearing part of the society and potential employers who could see that people with hearing impairment were capable of creating, working, and having dreams for themselves.
Svetlana Litvinaitė, vice-president of the Lithuanian Society of the Deaf who attended the awards ceremony in Brussels on Thursday, said the main objective of the social advertisement was to raise awareness of the problems deaf people were faced with, help their integration into the society, and enable potential employers to see their potential to work and be useful on the labor market.
“There are a total of about 8,000 deaf people in Lithuania, the unemployment rate among them at the start of the project was 25 percent, i.e., about 2,000 deaf people were unemployed. Some 445 persons were hired over the course of the project," Litvinaitė told BNS.
Some 149 applications from all EU countries were submitted for RegioStars 2013. A jury had shortlisted 27 projects before selecting five winners, which, in addition to Lithuania's entry, include projects from Portugal, England, Germany, and Poland.