Teresa Gillespie

I live and work in North Kildare. Fáilte Isteach is a national project whereby predominantly older volunteers undertake to hold converstional English classes with refugees, asylum seekers  and migrants. Leixlip, Celbridge, Maynooth and Kilcock hold classes in their public libraries for two hours once a week.

University of Sanctuary Ireland is an Irish initiative to welcome refugees, asylum seekers and migrants into their university communities. Maynooth University was recognised as a University of Sanctuary three years ago.It established scholarships for students from asylum or refugee backgrounds to study at the university.

I am aware of a large house, a short distance from Maynooth, that was made available to the Department for Integration at the beginning of this year. It accommodates forty four young men, refugees, fleeing war and seeking international protection. Some of these men play very active roles in Maynooth Tidy Towns Association and can be regularly seen painting bollards and other street furniture, litterpicking and weeding flowerbeds around the town. They are held in very high regard by the local community.

Teachers have a key role in making children aware of the reasons why we have asylum seekers and refugees in our country. EAL classes are vital so that all children who need support with the English language are able to access the curriculum.International Day is a big hit in our school . Children are invited to dress up in national costumes and parents are invited to send in typical dishes from their country.It is important to have a culture of children from other countries being welcomed and valued in all our school communities.

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