Laura Smyth

Unfortunately there was a lot of misinformation about refugees put out in the area where I teach in recent times & people with a very negative agenda came into the area to raise suspicion & fear amongst locals about refugees & asylum seekers. they spread lies & created lots of worry amongst the people which led to protests & hateful language being used towards people who have sought asylum here. Some groups in the local community got together -youth groups, traveller action group & local partnership & formed an alliance to promote the truth & a positive welcoming environment for people arriving & to try change the message that was out there. They ran events in the park celebrating diversity & gave local people the power to say what they really thought & show what a welcoming community they can be. It was a way of giving power back to the local people & while there is still some concerns amongst locals as to the rumours & untruths that were spread the tide is turning and it is not as acceptable to say these things anymore. Following this course I will definitely be advocating for our school to use the Plan Ireland lesson plans explored in this module. I feel that the children need to be given the information about what a refugee is, what an asylum seeker is, what it is like to live in Direct Provision, knowledge creates empathy & hopefully they will spread the message to home too. The videos explored in the module could be very powerful to use as part of the lessons also. While our school community have not had any refugee or migrant students arriving this year it is important that the children are educated on why these people have been arriving to their community. We have spread news of the events that have been happening locally to welcome refugees & celebrate diversity through our Aladdin app and as HSCL co-ordinator I would be hoping to run some events next year- perhaps getting parents to organise collections/donations to local charities, multicultural breakfast morning.

Crosscare is an agency that works in the community to help combat poverty, homelessness ^& also works to support refugees & migrants to the area. They offer practical supports in the form of food, clothes, housing etc and also advice & support on issues facing refugees. They run language clinics & a women’s group. Our school could get involved in collecting food/clothes/toys to donate to this charity.

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