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Some of the organisations that I came across in Dublin, where I am based, include:
– The Dublin Multicultural Resource Centre is a community-based organisation that promotes and celebrates multiculturalism in society. They provide resources, support and training to both new and established communities, work to influence public policy, and use community development principles to help combat racism and discrimination.
– New Communities Partnership (NCP) is Ireland’s largest immigrant-led network. It is comprised of over 150 immigrant-led groups who provide help and support for fellow immigrants in the areas of education, housing, citizenship, health, and employment, to name but a few.
– The Ballymun Intercultural Group works to raise awareness of interculturalism and promote integration into the local area.
In my specific local area, wonderful work is being carried out by smaller community groups to help integrate and welcome refugees to the locality. Community centre volunteers host English language lessons and there are also parent and baby/toddler groups several times a week. The Parents Association in my school also hold regular coffee mornings which have been extremely popular, especially since we have had a large number of new families move to our area recently.
As teachers, the most important thing we can do is create an environment that embraces acceptance, celebrates diversity, and promotes tolerance. This can be done by engaging with many of the resources in the module, such as Plan Ireland’s lesson units, celebrating Intercultural Week, encouraging the children to present and share their traditions and customs, and to stock a wide variety of books in classroom libraries.
I also like to include words from the home languages of my students on my Word Wall or around the classroom to make them feel welcome and comfortable within the school. I encourage them to share their languages throughout the day and find links between words in English, Irish and their own languages.