Helen Walsh

Through a programme developed by the Irish Government in cooperation with the Global Refugee Sponsorship Initiative (GSRI), the Irish Red Cross, NASC, Irish Refugee Council and the UNHCR, a group of volunteers came together in my local community to welcome a refugee family arriving from Syria.
‘Road to’ is a Community Sponsorship project, which is an alternative resettlement model to Direct Provision. This was initiated by a local group who wanted to “offer a helping hand to those displaced in one of the world’s largest humanitarian crises of our time.”

A family that had been approved by the Irish Government came to Ireland and was integrated into the local community. Traditionally, the family would have entered an emergency reception and orientation centre. ‘Road to’ fundraised to provide an arrival and settlement plan for the family.
As the programme was supported through fund raising, the students could help to raise money needed (events such as a ‘fun day’ were held locally which the students could be involved in). I also think it would be good for the students to think about what the family would need – e.g. toys, books, clothes, household equipment etc. and donate no longer used items that they might have.
When refugees arrived from Ukraine, parents were asked to donate items of school uniforms, books, school bags, shoes etc. as well as sports wear for local clubs – this worked really well & the ‘new students’ were able to join their classmates not only at school but join in after school activities and integrate into soccer clubs etc also.

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