Module 4 – Migration and Refugees

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    • #193501
      Profile photo ofpbrennan_jy7f6fe0Pat Brennan
      Course Facilitator

      Research if there are any organisations working with refugees in your community. Post a reflective piece (150 words minimum) on the forum as a reply to this post, on how your school and students could take action to support refugees or welcome them to the community.

      Please also comment on at least one other participant’s post.

      Please Note:  Participants who use Word to write their assignments and then copy and paste these into the forum may find that additional extraneous formatting is brought across. To avoid this, either right click in the post window and choose ‘Paste as Plain Text’ or use the keyboard shortcut cmd+shift+v. Alternatively, you can first paste the content into Notepad (Or similar) and then copy it from here to the topic window.

    • #194183
      Siobhan Rooney
      Participant

      <p class=”MsoNormal”><span style=”font-size: 9pt; line-height: 107%; font-family: ‘Hind Madurai’; color: #163c42; background-image: initial; background-position: initial; background-size: initial; background-repeat: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial;”>The Irish Red Cross supports refuges in our local community. One of the aims of the Irish Red Cross is to help refugees integrate into Irish society. Students and schools can take action to support refugees by participating in national refugee day which took place on June 20<sup>th</sup> 2023. The UNCHR is has a refugee festival week for the first time this year. School communities could also use sport as a means of welcoming refuges and diversity through participating in different sports and celebrating different cultures within the school community. </span></p>
      <span style=”font-size: 9pt; line-height: 107%; font-family: ‘Hind Madurai’; color: #163c42; background-image: initial; background-position: initial; background-size: initial; background-repeat: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial;”>We also run colours day in our school for a fundraiser for the Irish Red Cross and support their work with Syrian refugees this year. The children in the school council organised a fundraising drive in May for those affected by the Turkish disaster earlier this year. We collected clothes and food and dropped them to the Turkish Embassy. The children loved being involved in this project. We could also invite the Red Cross into the school to perhaps give a talk to the senior classes on their work with refuges in Ireland and abroad</span>

      • #196233

        Siobhan, the food and clothes collection is an excellent idea and the children are actively involved in the activity. It highlights the extent of what children have that they no longer need or want and shows just how much these things can mean to other children. There is a great sense of pride from taking part in such a generous activity.

      • #199952
        Louise Brosnan
        Participant

        I agree Siobhan, this is a fantastic idea and brings the pupils awareness to just how much unnecessary ‘stuff’ we all have and how little others may have.

      • #196349
        Robert Cheevers
        Participant

        Clondalkin Towers in Co. Dublin is located close to our school. The centre is used by the Jesuit Refugee Service and houses families, single males and single females. JRS Ireland provides outreach and support to individuals, families and children seeking asylum in Ireland. They provide information and resources to refugees and individuals living in Direct Provision accommodation. JRS deliver a 4-week summer programme of activities for children in Dublin centres and run a Christmas toy appeal.
        As a school we could arrange visits from our school to the JRS centre in Clondalkin towers to get information about their work with refugees and people living in direct provision. We could meet families and staff working at the centre to get a fuller picture of their experiences, difficulties currently living in direct provision and the supports they receive. We could give feedback on our visit and experiences to the children and staff in school through assembly. We could promote awareness of their work through presentations and displays around the school on the noticeboards. We could inform people in our community by using our school website.
        Finally, we could do a cake sale to raise much needed funds for the service and donate the money to the charity to support families living in direct provision and refugees. Raise finances to support the 4-week summer programme that they run with children. Staff members from the charity and people using the service could contribute to the cake sale by baking with different recipes around the world.

      • #196352
        Eoghan O’Neill
        TeachNet Moderator

        Hi Robert,

        Thanks for sharing with us your experience of the work completed by Clondalkin Towers. From your post, it seems that there are really close ties between the organisation and your school. This must be so enriching for both students and teachers. Having knowledge of the work completed in the centre helps you all to be more informed when teaching migrant or refugee children. Being able to raise funds through the cake sake to support the summer programme is an excellent way of giving back and strengthening relations with the school and the local community.

      • #197871
        Ann Gaughan
        Participant

        Wow, that sounds fabulous, so hands on and the personal touch is just lovely. Our school is a rural setting so any time we’ve helped or donated its always just been a pic or an email so I love that your pupils got to meet some people from the centre…how humbling!!An eye opener no doubt!

      • #205897
        Gwyn Bhreathnach
        Participant

        It is lovely  to read about all the work that goes on around the refugee centre in Clondalkin and how the school is reaching out and engaging the children in this work. I really like the idea of the summer Programne for the children, and the Christmas Toy Appeal is also such a worthwhile cause and a great idea. Well done Robert, you’ve given me some good goals to work towards.

      • #198364
        Kevin Barry
        Participant

        Hi Siobhan,

        I love the idea of the clothes collection for the people involved in the earthquake disaster earlier this year. My school did similar as we did a bake sale with the proceeds going to those children affected. It was very important to raise awareness in the school of what was happening in Turkey and Syria.

      • #204134
        Michelle Ryan
        Participant

        Siobhan, I love this idea of getting the other children involved to make a difference. It really builds empathy and kindness towards their peers and makes them appreciative of what they have

      • #205900
        Gwyn Bhreathnach
        Participant

        Although we have engaged with this Programne in the school I’m sorry to say we have not hugely engaged with other outside agencies who are working with refugees. We have fund raised for St Vincent de Paul but I will definitely engage more with this organisation to find out more about the work they do in the community. We enrolled some Ukrainian children as did so many other schools but that is the extent of our engagement in this area. Having said that the integration of these pupils into the school required a lot of planning and adapting as the children were naturally traumatised so we  trying to meet their changing needs. I would definitely be interested in Reaching out to our local agencies in the future to learn more about the wonderful work being done to assist refugees in our local area. This, along with the fantastic lesson plans under this Programne will greatly inform our pupils about the struggles that refugees  encounter in our own community.

    • #194493
      Marese Heavin
      Participant

      That was lovely to do the collection of clothes and food. The children are hands on and really feel part of what is going on in a drive like that. Life lessons being learned there and also the children see how much they have but really dont need.

    • #194499
      Marese Heavin
      Participant

      I live in a small rural town and we don’t as yet have organisations established specifically to work with refugees. However, there are two local groups that do wonderful work in the community:

      1-The Blayney Blades-which is a womens group, they run lots of activities for women including educational courses and lesiure courses. This group have helped with the arrival of refugees to our town on a very small scale, but wonderful work is done.

      2-The St Vincent De Paul society also do wonderful work in our community, along with the Blades, they welcome and support refugees when they come to our town, however we do not receive many refugees to our town as of yet.

      Our school could work with the above two groups by firstly contacting them to say we would like to help out should the opportunity arise for refugees to come to our town and also by welcoming them to our school and our community.

      Ensuring they feel safe and welcome from a school point of view would be a great place for us to start and hopefully put the refugees at ease.

      • #194529
        Linda Hennessy
        Participant

        The Blayney Blades sound wonderful. I would love to see something like that in our community. I’m sure they have been a great support in the locality as the new families arrived. Your last comment struck a chord with me, as one comment was made to us on the last day at school to commend how welcome the new children and families felt in the community. While it has been a challenging year, it has been rewarding and very heart warming along with beneficial to the children.

      • #194572

        Marese, your idea of your school simply reaching out to the above support centres to ask if they need help from its community is a wonderfully direct idea. It may be true that some may feel nervous or not informed enough to do this but it could mean the world to such organisations. I am not talking about fundraising or organising an event to help, just simply reaching out and making contact could make such a difference to know that a school in the locality is interested in lending a hand in any way it can.

      • #194721
        Sean Finlay
        Participant

        Marese, The St. Vincent de Paul Society also do fantastic work in our local community, supporting those in need, including refugees. From my experience, these organisations love to hear from schools and welcome any help that pupils and staff can offer and they are always very practical with their suggestions.

      • #203885
        Aoife Dorrian
        Participant

        I think St Vincent De Paul do great work at supporting and helping refugees throughout Ireland. It would be great to see schools become more involved with these organisations.

      • #198169
        Niamh Mc Hugh
        Participant

        The Blayney Blades sounds like a very inspiring group of women. What a fantastic initiative for a group to put together. As you have said the St. Vincent De Paul do some of the most amazing work I think in all communities in Ireland welcoming and supporting refugees across the country. The fact that your school has contacted and offered to support both these orgaisiastion is brilliant and I think the children will gain a wealth of knowledge and experiences from being directly involved in these initiatives, something that will stay with them forever.

      • #200323
        Kathleen Murphy
        Participant

        Hi Marese,

        I enjoyed reading your post as I can relate to this. I too work in a rural school and we have just recently welcomed a few children from the Ukraine to our school. I agree that St Vincent De Paul is an excellent organisation and one which we can always call upon when it is needed.

      • #204251
        Éadaoin Garrigan
        Participant

        Hi Marese, the Blayney Blades sounds like a wonderful group and also very unique in what they do. I would love if something similar was established in my own community.

    • #194525
      Linda Hennessy
      Participant

      Similar to Marese above, the town that I live in does not currently have one designated organisation that works with refugees in the community. However, the local GAA organisations and sports groups have many initiatives in place for the families that have moved to the area. There was a disused nursing home purchased recently and this has become a hive of activity in the area. Refugees are living there but have become valued members of the wider community. This is mainly down to one particular group within the GAA who organise fundraisers etc and most recently, a family fun day which was a huge success. This group have a facebook page and this has proved invaluable for the new members of the community as the navigate life in a new country, many with young children.

       

      For us as a school community, working with refugees has been completely new to us this year. It was an experience I think we all needed in many regards. The children of our school have a new-found appreciation for their place of privilege and we, as adults, are hearing about a side of the world we might have only seen on a map or heard fleetingly about in the news. The welcome our new families received has been a sight to behold, with homes being offered, hurleys and helmets dropped to children to help integrate with the community and my favourite memory to date – the addition that these children offered to our sacrament of Holy Communion. It is heart warming to see others so open to our customs and traditions and just throwing themselves in head first and enjoying all that we have to offer. The cultural difference was of course difficult at the start and we all needed to know our boundaries and accept them of each other, but the payoff has been immense and rewarding.

       

      le for the

      • #194796
        Niamh Hanlon
        Participant

        Hi Linda,

        I have had the same experience with local sports organisations playing their part in supporting refugees in the community. I think this works so well because sport is such a universal thing that everyone can enjoy. Also a testament to the good will of those involved!

      • #198821
        anna keyes
        Participant

        Hi Linda,

        What an excellent point about the GAA! Such a fantastic, strong community that are known for welcoming and involving people.

      • #203562
        Caroline Walsh
        Participant

        Our local GAA club arranged a sports family day with local families from the Ukraine. It was a lovely day as the children shared some simple ball skills with each other and families had an opportunity to chat to each other.

      • #195131
        Padraic Waldron
        Participant

        Hi Linda. I agree completely. I have found that the GAA are brilliant at accepting new members and helping to integrate them into the community.

      • #195614
        Niamh Brady
        Participant

        I would never have considered my local GAA for providing support to refugees. That’s excellent to know as I found it hard to source local community groups in my area providing this type of support.

      • #196744
        Laura Smyth
        Participant

        Linda it has been lovely to hear how your community has gotten together to welcome the refugees to the locality. The work local people have been doing is immense and should be highlighted more in the media-they are too busy highlighting the perceived ”problems” caused in communities. It sounds like your community feels enriched by the arrival of the newly arrived people and have been welcoming in very practical ways.

      • #197021
        Patrick Curran
        Participant

        Hi Linda,

        I agree that it has been really heartwarming seeing the welcome to that many new families have received in local communities. It really shows the best of humanity when people rally around to support in this regard. It has also been an important lesson for all of us to recognise our privilege and how lucky we are to come from somewhere that has been so unaffected by issues such as those discussed in this module.

      • #197147
        Katie Doyle
        Participant

        I think the idea o f the local GAA getting involved is super. In many communities the GAA is at the centre of the community so the fact that they welcome new members gives refugees a chance to build relationships and feel at home in their new comunity.

      • #197450
        Eimear Donohoe
        Participant

        Linda its fantastic to hear of the support local groups like the GAA group are providing for refugees in place of a designated organisation  to provide support. GAA clubs are already so busy so its great to see they were able to give up their time support for refugee families. Also lovely to hear of the support local families gave and integrate the refugees through sport is fantastic. Sounds like a lovely community to be part of.

      • #198159
        Peter Mc Mahon
        Participant

        Hi Linda, I agree that the GAA have been absolutely fantastic. It is also a great way for refugee families to become integrated and immersed in a local community and the Irish culture.

      • #198920
        Julie Murphy
        Participant

        Fantastic idea Linda. I agree GAA has a huge role to play in welcoming everyone in our community.

      • #200287
        Naomi Curran
        Participant

        Hi Linda,

        I also think that GAA organisations played a wonderful role in getting refugee children involved within the local community. One GAA coach invited refugee children and other coaches down to his house to learn them and their parents how to play hurling. I thought this was a really lovely idea.

         

      • #202756
        Sinead Moore
        Participant

        Hi Linda, great point about the GAA they can be so welcoming to refugees and getting them integrated into society. Within our local area we have a ‘community group’ than run many activities from sports to music to drama (something for everyone). They often have refugees involved be it teaching a new skill or just taking part. It’s a great way for others in the locality to get to know them and learn about their culture.

      • #206368
        Jamie Owens
        Participant

        Hi Linda,

        I am a member of my GAA community and have been since I was 4 years old and I agree the GAA community are great for rallying together to support and help whatever they can and in particular welcoming people into the club and training.

    • #194526
      Linda Hennessy
      Participant

      Similar to Marese above, the town that I live in does not currently have one designated organisation that works with refugees in the community. However, the local GAA organisations and sports groups have many initiatives in place for the families that have moved to the area. There was a disused nursing home purchased recently and this has become a hive of activity in the area. Refugees are living there but have become valued members of the wider community. This is mainly down to one particular group within the GAA who organise fundraisers etc and most recently, a family fun day which was a huge success. This group have a facebook page and this has proved invaluable for the new members of the community as the navigate life in a new country, many with young children.

       

      For us as a school community, working with refugees has been completely new to us this year. It was an experience I think we all needed in many regards. The children of our school have a new-found appreciation for their place of privilege and we, as adults, are hearing about a side of the world we might have only seen on a map or heard fleetingly about in the news. The welcome our new families received has been a sight to behold, with homes being offered, hurleys and helmets dropped to children to help integrate with the community and my favourite memory to date – the addition that these children offered to our sacrament of Holy Communion. It is heart warming to see others so open to our customs and traditions and just throwing themselves in head first and enjoying all that we have to offer. The cultural difference was of course difficult at the start and we all needed to know our boundaries and accept them of each other, but the payoff has been immense and rewarding.

       

      le for the

      • #194700
        Eoghan O’Neill
        TeachNet Moderator

        Hi Linda,

        Thank you for sharing this with you. I think many communities around the country would share similar thoughts. Areas that never had a refugee population have seen numbers grow over the past year. The GAA has played such a key role in providing supporting and welcoming refugees into communities. In my own locality, initiatives have been organised to secure boots, hurls, helmets, etc. as well as offering free entry to summer camps. I know just how appreciative people are of the welcome they have received.

        Respecting the culture of where they have come from, as well as offering them the opportunity of sampling some of our culture is something we have done so well across so many communities recently.

    • #194574

      In my school’s locality there is an organisation called the Carrig Centre which at the moment is currently zoning in on helping refugees coming from Ukraine. It aims to collect items that may help kids and their families settle in to the area and rebuild their lives. It also has a playground with allocated time slots, which these families can book in order to connect with other Ukranian families. I believe it would be important to inform the pupils in my class that such an organisation exists and how the identity of these kids may have been impacted as they have been uprooted from their home. They need to be encouraged to help in collecting items needed in order to enable these displaced Ukranian families integrate successfully in the community and to avoid marginalisation. This word is constantly being used in the school environment already in an attempt to promote inclusion among the pupils so it should be easy to understand as it relates to refugees trying to settle in to a new home.

      • #194808
        Darerca Egan
        Participant

        I always remind the children in my class that there are 27 teachers in the class, sometimes they inform me about the existence of things!  I love hearing what the children get involved in outside school. Our catch up and news exchanges regularly illicit stories about people and local events that might otherwise go unnoticed. As I don’t live in the immediate locality of the school, the children often enlighten me.

      • #195379
        Eimear Boyce
        Participant

        Cliodhna that centre sounds like a fantastic resource for a town to have and really is something that should be implemented in all towns.

    • #194720
      Mikey Flanagan
      Participant

      Through my research, I have come across the organization “Doras” based in Dublin, which is dedicated to supporting and advocating for refugees and migrants in our community. Doras works tirelessly to provide essential services, including accommodation support, legal advice, and education programs for refugees. Reflecting on how our school and students could take action, I believe there are meaningful ways to support refugees and help them integrate into our community. We could establish a partnership with Doras to explore opportunities for student volunteering. This could involve assisting with language classes, organizing cultural exchange events, or providing mentoring support to refugee students. We could organize awareness campaigns within the school to educate students about the experiences and challenges faced by refugees. This could include presentations, workshops, or exhibitions that highlight personal stories and promote empathy and understanding. We could work together with Doras and other local organizations to create a welcoming environment for refugees. This could involve organizing community events, such as welcome gatherings or social activities, where refugees and local residents can connect, build friendships, and share experiences. By collaborating with organizations like Doras, our school can play an active role in supporting refugees in Dublin, fostering inclusivity, and promoting a sense of belonging for all members of our community.

      • #198038
        Emma Molloy
        Participant

        Doras sounds like a wonderful organisation Mikey, thanks for sharing.

        There were some great points made there about how the children could get involved to help these refugees settle into our society. I particularly liked the idea of helping out with language classes, organising exchange events or mentoring support. All of these initiatives would help people who are already in a very difficult situation.

        It is important that school’s play an active role in informing their students of ways they can support displaced families. There are so many things that can be done yet many are unsure of how they can help. At the beginning of the war in Ukraine, many Irish families gave up rooms in their homes to support Ukrainian families. This awareness seems to have quietened down and it is important we remember that they are still here and very much seeking asylum in our country.

    • #194793
      Niamh Hanlon
      Participant

      There is a direct provision centre in my locality where students in local schools can be placed for years at a time. I previously worked in an after school homework club there and so I became aware of some of the supports offered by the local community including local business sponsorships, GAA clubs and a number of charitable organisations. In my experience, the greatest means of support was in events that promoted inclusion, integration and friendships. For example, instead of having people drop a bag of clothes to the centre as a donation, the school could arrange a coffee morning where all parents in attendance (whether a refugee or not) can attend, have a chat and swap out items which they no longer need for those that are useful to them. While the adults chat, the children could just be kids together. It’s in these kinds of interactions that stigma is reduced and equality is created over a hierarchy and if that can be passed from one generation to the next then the sense of community can only be stronger as a result.

      • #195184
        Aoife Coen
        Participant

        I like your idea Niamh of having the coffee morning where adults and children can chat and be given the opportunity to be part of the community. We have tried that in our school but unfortunately the parents accommodation is too far from the school for them to get to as they have no transport, another inequality for them to live with. we must relook at this in September and see if there is a better way.

      • #197208
        Noreen Keane
        Participant

        Hi Niamh,

        As I mentioned in another post, we do run a coffee morning every Friday. You have given me an idea to ask for a small donation, maybe, once a term, and give that money to a direct provision centre near us. Sometimes it is good to have a different focus. Thanks!

      • #196354
        Robert Cheevers
        Participant

        I agree with you Niamh about the coffee morning. The coffee morning is a good idea for many reasons – it’s informal and creates a relaxed atmosphere. We are lucky enough to have a family room. We’ve have used coffee mornings  on many occasions just for getting people together and to help form relationships and friendships. Coffee mornings are great for new families to the school, that just moved to the community, have language difficulties or have few families members living in Ireland. We had Ukraine families this year and they had access to our kitchen in the family room on Friday mornings. We have a member of staff from Latvia so she could translate for members of staff, the parents committee with the families from Ukraine and it was a very positive experience for everyone involved. Language can sometimes be the biggest barrier.

      • #203436
        Niall Fitzgibbon
        Participant

        Hi Niamh,

        I love your idea of organising a coffee morning or some sort of an event that promotes friendships and inclusion rather than just ‘dropping in’ a bag of clothes, etc to a direct provision centre. I think this is a lovely way to support and welcome refugees into our communities and create friendships.

    • #194803
      Darerca Egan
      Participant

      I was slightly perplexed to find few organisations in my area despite being on the outskirts of the capital.  Anecdotally, I had been aware of The Red Cross and Cross Care serving as umbrella organisations for refugees in Leinster.  Libraries in Fingal have opened their doors, offering language classes for refugees and more recently an art exhibition ‘Viewpoints’ with the purpose of promoting inclusion within the community has been taking place.   The library is a lovely calm environment in which to welcome and support refugees.

      We are very proud of the many ethnicities within our classes who bring diversity and warmth to the fabric of the school.  However,  with the school’s focus directed squarely on a longstanding oversea’s partnership with an NGO in Cambodia, it is a perfectly legitimate question to ask ‘are we doing enough in our local community to welcome refugees?’ We have sporadically gathered up books and clothes for collection.  We are guided by the Learn Together Calendar of global events taking place but I definitely think that there are lessons that could be explored which better reflect changes in our locality. I truly regret that we missed the opportunity of bringing the children to see the Viewpoints exhibition.  It would have served as a springboard some enlightening lessons and discussions.

    • #195129
      Padraic Waldron
      Participant

      With the ongoing war in Ukraine, there are numerous organisations in my area working with refugees including St. Vincent de Paul, Irish Red Cross and Doras to name just a few.

      Schools can do many things to help welcome refugees to the community but educating young children is the first step. We could organize workshops or guest speakers to educate our students about the experiences and challenges faced by refugees. By promoting understanding and breaking down stereotypes, we can cultivate an environment of empathy and compassion. One novel my 6th class read this year was “The Boy at the Back of the Class”. This opened up lots of discussion on refugees and highlighted different views towards refugees.

      Schools could also collaborate with community organisations like those mentioned above that support refugees. Guest speakers from these organisations could help tell true stories about refugees and advise children on how they could welcome refugees to the school community.

      • #195133
        Conor Beirne
        Participant

        Thats an excellent idea educating your students Padraic and breaking down sterotypes using guest speakers, novels, and discussions. The first step is always educating the children, then we act according as role models and do the best we can then working with other organisations!

      • #199570
        Deirdre O’Brien
        Participant

        I like the idea of inviting in guest speakers and let children listen to real people telling their story. It is only through listening that we can hope to understand and in turn, empathise and offer support.

      • #204648

        I read an irish novel ‘Ar Strae’ to the senior classes in our school and it too opened up lots of discussion on refugees. Scéal iontach, I would highly recommend it!

    • #195132
      Conor Beirne
      Participant

      I discovered that there are several organizations in Knocklyon, Dublin working with refugees. One such organization is the Knocklyon Refugee Support Group (KRSG), which aims to provide assistance and support to refugees settling in the community. Reflecting on this, I believe that our school and students can take action to support refugees and create a welcoming environment. Firstly, we can organize awareness campaigns to educate students about the challenges faced by refugees, fostering empathy and understanding. Secondly, we can collaborate with KRSG and other local organizations to establish mentorship programs, language exchanges, and cultural events that facilitate integration and friendship-building. Additionally, fundraising initiatives can be organized to provide resources and support to refugee families in need. By actively engaging with the local refugee community, our school can promote inclusivity, empathy, and a sense of belonging among both students and refugees, ultimately fostering a more compassionate and welcoming community for all

      • #195237
        Ailbhe Harding
        Participant

        I liked the different activities that you have suggested for your school to get involved with KRSG, Conor. There aren’t many support networks for refugees in my local community but I will certainly be researching ways that the students in my school can get involved in similar initiatives regardless.

      • #196830
        Imelda Whelan
        Participant

        I agree Conor. Educating the children and as a direct results their families, is a wonderful base point for promoting support, inclusion and integration.

        • This reply was modified 7 months, 2 weeks ago by Imelda Whelan.
    • #195158
      Sean Finlay
      Participant

      Fáilte Isteach – Laois Volunteer Centre is an organisation set up to utilise the talents and goodwill of community volunteers by providing conversational English classes for new migrants. I had not heard of this project before researching for this reflection, but it is part of the national Fáilte Isteach program which was established in 2006 to support new migrants with tasks that could pose difficulties such as shopping, doctor appointments, and schools. Classes are taught by voluntary tutors and take place weekly with around 35-40 students already participating in the project according to the website after only setting up in 2021. They have also engaged with other local and state bodies such as the Laois-Offaly ETB to expand participants’ knowledge of English to allow them to participate more in their community and they have additionally organised events such as Africa Day to celebrate the vibrant and varied cultures that migrants bring to the local community.

      • #195230
        Ailbhe Harding
        Participant

        I also just came across Fáilte Isteach while researching this forum response. What a fantastic initiative and it is so heartwarming to see that it is being run in so many locations around Ireland.

    • #195179
      Aoife Coen
      Participant

      <p class=”MsoNormal” style=”line-height: 150%;”><span style=”font-family: ‘Georgia’,serif; color: #333333; background: white;”>Upon research I have found a group in Donegal called </span><span style=”font-family: ‘Georgia’,serif; color: black; background: white;”><span style=”font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; orphans: 2; widows: 2; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; text-decoration-thickness: initial; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial; word-spacing: 0px;”>The Donegal Intercultural Platform which is an independent non-governmental organisation (NGO) made up of individual members & affiliated organisations who are committed to building inclusion and equality in Donegal, in promoting Human Rights and challenging discrimination and racism.</span> They work with another group called Think Equality Donegal which promote the inclusion of Black Minority Ethnic (BME) communities, including Traveller and Roma, in all aspects of the county’s economic and social life by building a culture of respect for human rights, equality and intercultural understanding.</span></p>
      I must admit that having gone through this module I feel guilty that I have not done more to help refugees and migrants settle into the community. After reading the INAR Solidarity with Refugees module it reminded me of when my own mother hosted a dinner for the Kurds way back in the 90’s I think. My sister has been a host to a mother and son for 18 months yet there is definitely a lot more we can do. In school we have been supplying the children with uniforms, books, old clothes, toys etc but having gone through that module, that is just the first step, it is essential as time moves on that we actively include refugees and migrants in our society and community and allowing them to feel accepted.

      • #195248
        Susan McMahon
        Participant

        Hi Aoife, it’s hard not to feel guilty, like there is so much more we could do. It sounds like you, your school and your family are already doing a lot, well done 🙂

    • #195233
      Ailbhe Harding
      Participant

      There are many groups in Dublin City working to support refugees. I have found it difficult to identify any working in my specific community in Co. Dublin, however, which was surprising. A local hotel has recently been repurposed into accommodation for refugees so I would hope to see more initiatives emerging in the near future.

      One group that I did come across was that of Fáilte Isteach which is comprised of a wonderful community of older people who volunteer to teach English to migrants. I think that this is a fabulous idea and one which is no doubt mutually beneficial to all involved. Fáilte Isteach have a large number of groups operating all over Ireland, one of which is only a few minutes away from my school.

      Following the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, my school hosted a fundraising and donation drive. We had several Ukranian families within our school community prior to the war (and many more since), so it was a lovely gesture of support towards them and their families who were in the midst of it all back home.

       

       

      • #195268
        Eoghan O’Neill
        TeachNet Moderator

        Hi Ailbhe,

        There are so many organisations doing excellent work in this regard. While it may be difficult to think of one locally, the likelihood is that groups and organisations are doing trojan work to create a welcoming environment for migrants. Local sports clubs often run recruitment drives to get these children playing and participating in games and I’ve heard of social events being organised for parents while training/matches are going on.

        There are so many selfless acts being carried out all across the country. While I haven’t hear of the work of Fáilte Isteach until now, I can see that it is just another example of how our communities are holding out that hand of friendship.

      • #195394
        Ailbhe Harding
        Participant

        That’s true Eoghan, so much happens behind the scenes and often doesn’t get the recognition that it deserves.

    • #195287
      Susan McMahon
      Participant

      <p style=”margin: 0px 0px 12px; font-stretch: normal; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; font-family: Times; color: #000000; min-height: 14px;”>There are a large number of children from refugee families in my school, some of them living in direct provision. They come from situations of great upheaval, political unrest and civil war. We try to make the other children aware of their situations, without drawing too much attention to it. Our goal is to make the children from refugee families feel welcome into our school community, feel safe in it and know that they are a valuable part of it. We have a strong Intercultural Week every year, and families are invited into the school to share their arts and crafts, bring national dishes and wear traditional costumes. In relation to organisations working with refugees in our community, I have worked with the Irish Refugee Council and Spirasi in relation to some of our families, and I have found their advice, support and resources useful.</p>

    • #195376
      Eimear Boyce
      Participant

      I live in quite a rural town and while there is no set organisation specifically in our town, the community has really come together in welcoming and supporting the influx of migrants in our town. From food/clothing  donations to being included in local clubs and committees the children and families have integrated well and been welcomed into our community. I think involving these families socially is so important, be it in the local GAA club, library or tidy towns. Many social events have been organised locally and should continue to be organised in schools and in towns. From research I can see that St. Vincent de Paul and Together- Razem are two organisations who are doing a lot of work in the wider Cork area.

      In different schools over the last 3 years I have used a book called ‘The Day War Came’ by Nicola Davies and I couldn’t recommend it enough. It is a picture book that I have used in the junior and senior end of schools and it is well received at all levels. It gives children a child’s perspective of fleeing war and I really felt it gave children an insight into the life of a child who had to relocate due to war.

      • #195430
        Daniel O Donoghue
        Participant

        Hi Eimear, books and stories are a very useful resource to be utilised in the teachings about migration and refugees. I will definitely be using more of these going  forward. Thanks for the reminder!

      • #198841
        Amy Craven
        Participant

        Hi Eimear,

         

        Thanks for your suggestion of the book. Although the videos used in this module were excellent, they may be a bit difficult with the younger classes, where as this resource seems really age appropriate and a perfect way to open the discussion around migration and refugees.

      • #195577
        Eoghan O’Neill
        TeachNet Moderator

        Hi Eimear,

        Thank you so much for sharing this picture book with us. I have had a quick look at it and I can see the rich learning opportunities and discussions that could be elicited from it. For those wishing to view it, there is a read aloud from Nicole Davies available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YP2DVIDgLoA

      • #196294
        Saoirse Rooney
        Participant

        Eimear,

        Thanks for sharing the idea about ‘The Day War Came’. She is an excellent kids author. She explains everything in a very simple way.

        She also wrote ‘The Big Blue Whale’ which is an fantastic book about facts about the amazing blue whale.

        Thanks Eoghan for the link to Nicola Davies. It is an excellent way to introduce the concept of children arriving on boats to the shores of Europe. A wonderful way of introducing the concept of refugees and coming to a new school.

      • #196532
        Sarah Muldowney
        Participant

        Hi Eimear,

        I like that idea of using that book with your classess. I think stories and children’s picture books are an excellent way to introduce sensitive topics. I will definitely have a look for that book in my school.

      • #198453

        Hi Eimear, Thank you so much for sharing that picture book with us. It seems suitable for all levels as you can make the activities/ questions more challenging depending on the age group. I think a picture book would be a great stimulus to use to introduce this topic. They also are a great resource to activate children’s prior knowledge on this topic.

      • #200785
        Frances Walsh
        Participant

        Hi Eimear, thank you for sharing that book with us.

        I believe books are one of the best ways to explore somewhat complex ideas such as war and displacement with children. Through the characters and settings children can experience challenging concepts.

      • #204891
        Deirdre Ryan
        Participant

        Hi Eimear, I too have used the picture book “The Day The War Came” with senior classes and found it to be excellent. It really opened the conversation and allowed us to challenge assumptions/perceptions. A great resource for all schools.

      • #204918
        Deirdre Ryan
        Participant

        I teach in a small rural school and we don’t have any organisations working with refugees directly in our locality. That being said you don’t have to look too far to see wonderful, selfless and generous initiatives taking place to help and support refugees. Members of the St. Vincent De Paul live locally and they organise collections regularly. The local community organise an annual street barbecue to build community relations and welcome new members. The annual field day in the GAA also welcomes people to the area; they organise a donation of old hurls/helmets/boots etc for refugees. There are also events and guest speakers in the local library.

        In school I feel the first step is to educate our pupils in order to challenge perceptions heard at home or in the media. Then it would be good to involve pupils in coming up with ideas for action project to support and welcome refugees. The video ‘Who do you think i am?’ would be a great way of opening the conversation.

         

    • #195429
      Daniel O Donoghue
      Participant

      The Cork Migrant centre do great work with refugees and migrants. I think there are many ways schools and my students can take action to support refugees or welcome them into the community. One way might be to organize a donation drive for essential items such as clothing, blankets, or non-perishable food items. Another way is to create an awareness campaign to educate students about the challenges that refugees face and how they can help. Schools can also partner with local refugee organizations to provide tutoring or mentorship programs for refugee students. Additionally, schools could host cultural events to celebrate diversity and promote cross-cultural understanding. Finally, schools can work with local government officials to advocate for policies that support refugees and create a welcoming environment for them. By taking these actions, schools and students can play an important role in supporting refugees and creating a more inclusive community.

      • #195581
        Eoghan O’Neill
        TeachNet Moderator

        Hi Daniel,

        Thanks for drawing attention to the work being done by the Cork Migrant Centre. I can remember a participant last year speaking about them, so it’s fantastic to hear that their great work is continuing.

        You have also provided a comprehensive list in which schools can be proactive in welcoming migrant and refugee children. Creating a welcoming environment that recognises the strife and conflict they have left behind is so important. I like the idea of schools being able to partner with local clubs and organisations to offer tutoring and mentoring programmes.

      • #202597
        Eleanor Curran
        Participant

        Eimear, I also used this book and found it a brilliant resource. The older children really got an insight into life as a child from a war torn area. It made them realise how lucky and fortunate they were.

    • #195611
      Niamh Brady
      Participant

      Here are some actions that our school and students could take to support refugees and welcome them to the community:

      • Raise awareness: We could organise awareness campaigns or events to educate students about the refugee crisis, the challenges faced by refugees, and the importance of welcoming them. This can include guest speakers, film screenings, or presentations from organisations working with refugees.
      • Create a welcoming environment: Our school can foster a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere by promoting diversity and cultural understanding. This can be achieved by celebrating different cultures and traditions, organising multicultural events, or establishing student clubs or organisations focused on refugee support.
      • Language support: Students can volunteer as language tutors or conversation partners to support refugees who have joined the school.
      • School orientation programs: Develop specialised orientation programs for newly arrived refugee students to help them navigate the school system, understand academic expectations, and access necessary resources.
      • Collaborate with community organisations and local authorities: We could partner with local refugee support groups such as Naas Community Sponsorship Group, GOAL, The Irish Red Cross and Kildare County Council. They can provide valuable resources, expertise, and support for both our school and the refugees.
      • Fundraising and donation drives: The school can hold fundraising events or donation drives within the school community to collect essential items like clothing, school supplies, or personal hygiene products for refugees.
      • #196632
        Aisling Corbett
        Participant

        Niamh I love the idea of students volunteering as language tutors to support refugees. We are due to welcome some younger refugee children this September and you’ve given me a lovely idea of partnering my sixth class students with these younger children as language tutors! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • #196094

      In my locality there are a number of organizations that work with refugees, including the Irish Refugee Council, Nasc Ireland, and the Irish Red Cross. These organizations provide a range of services, from legal aid to mental health support to resettlement assistance.

      In terms of how schools and students can take action to support refugees, there are many ways to get involved. One option is to organize a fundraiser or donation drive to support local refugee organizations. This could involve collecting items such as clothing, food, or school supplies, or raising money to support the organization’s programs and services.

       

      Another option is to raise awareness about the refugee crisis and advocate for policies that support refugees. This could involve organizing a school-wide event, such as a panel discussion or film screening, or inviting a guest speaker to talk about their experiences as a refugee.

       

      Finally, schools and students can also take action to welcome refugees to their community. This could involve organizing a cultural exchange program, where students from different backgrounds can learn from each other, or hosting a community event to celebrate diversity and promote inclusion. By taking these steps, schools and students can help create a more welcoming and supportive environment for refugees in their community.

      • #196114
        Triona Mullally
        Participant

        I agree that it is important to celebrate diversity in our schools. Each year we organise an international day and recognise the culture and traditions of our pupils that have come from different backgrounds. We encourage our pupils to dress in their traditional clothes, share some of their food, music and dance. it is a wonderful day and experience for all involved. it is important part of ensuring that our schools and communities remain inclusive spaces.

      • #196120
        Michael Conway
        Participant

        This is a lovely idea and really allows a community to come together and celebrate diversity. It is also a great learning opportunity as individuals can learn about other cultures, countries and build strong relationships and links within communities. Extending it into a community initiative would be a lovely way to introduce cultures to one another in a communal setting. Making it a celebration with food, music and crafts is a wonderful idea and really creates powerful links and mutual understanding of others.

    • #196112
      Triona Mullally
      Participant

      In my area and we don’t have any organisations that specifically to work with refugees. However, in January of this year our school warmly welcomed 20 or so Ukrainian refugees into our school and local community. It was amazing to see the whole community gather together, organise a collection of clothes, school uniforms and supplies, toys, books, baby clothes.

      A fund was also set up and many parents and locals generously donated, all money raised went directly to the Ukrainian children attending our schools.

      This experience has been enriching for the teachers and students in our school. It has been fantastic to see how welcoming and caring the children in the school are towards their new friends. It offered an opportunity to teach the children in our school about what has happened in Ukraine and make them aware of how the effects of war. It has been heart-warming to see them become valued members of our community.

      • #196124
        Eoghan O’Neill
        TeachNet Moderator

        Hi Tríona,

        Welcoming such a large group of Ukrainian students in one go must have been extremely challenging for your school. The way in which you all managed to pull together and organise everything required is a testament to a school with strong leadership and a dedicated teaching staff. As well as being challenging, the large numbers may have helped to ‘bridge the gap’ between home and Ireland. It’s great that the school community has shown an interest in events in Ukraine / learning about their culture. It certainly seems like you did everything possible to ensure that the school showcased a welcoming atmosphere.

      • #197094
        Sam Wright
        Participant

        Hi Triona,

        This was lovely to read about how the community and school came together to support the group of Ukrainian students who you welcomed into your school. I’m sure it was no easy task, but you all seemed to pull together and offer those students a very bright future in your community.

      • #202925
        Danielle Phillips
        Participant

        We also have welcomed a large number of Ukrainian students over the last two years. This year our school have hired a Ukrainian teacher and he works directly with these children daily to improve their english and help them settle in the school environment. It has been a fantastic comfort for the families and children.

    • #196119
      Michael Conway
      Participant

      Research if there are any organisations working with refugees in your community. Post a reflective piece (150 words minimum) on the forum as a reply to this post, on how your school and students could take action to support refugees or welcome them to the community

      Waterford Integration Services is a humanitarian Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Ukrainian Refugee Community Response and the Déise Refugee Response are just three organisations working in the local community. Many individuals are also making free provisions for refugees, for example, teaching surfing and swimming, teaching languages- not just English but French and German etc.

      Many groups have also collected and donated toys, clothing and food.

      Creating an inclusive environment is equally important. Along with these appeals and initiatives, children could also play their part. Examples of this are setting up leagues where children can engage in sports and develop teamwork, arts and crafts evening where children can explore their talents and build friendships and also a social group where children can come together with shared interests and build friendships and connections.

      A lovely idea in the school is creating a fair- individuals can bring their own dishes/crafts to showcase diversity and enable others to learn and deepen their understanding of cultures (allergies will need to be taken into consideration and other dietary requirements)

      • #196132
        Eoghan O’Neill
        TeachNet Moderator

        Hi Michael,

        The craft fair to celebrate diversity within the school is an excellent idea. It’s important to acknowledge diversity and create an inclusive spirit. This goes for students of all nationalities and not just those coming from Ukraine and other war-torn countries. From my own perspective, I think it’s important that we hold out the hand of friendship to all, and allow every children from a different country to showcase and celebrate their own cultures and customs.

    • #196199
      Hugh Rooney
      Participant

      I live in Sligo and teach in a rural school in Co. Sligo. There is an organisation in Sligo called diversity Sligo that helps integrate asylum seekers and refugees into the local community. There website is https://diversitysligo.ie/ I was not aware of this organisation prior to commencing this course but I see from their website the do fantastic work supporting vulnerable people needing support. Their website is every easy to navigate and has really practical and useful information on integrating into life in Sligo. Arriving as a asylum seeker or refugee must be a very challenging situation to begin with, and organisations such as diversity Sligo goes along way to help and give support to people who are in valuable need of such a service. It is very important that school model an environment for empathy, care and support to student arriving from different countries and cultures. This year we took into 4 students from Ukraine and the children really welcomed them with open arms. One class had welcome banners and cards ready for the child when he arrived to the classroom and a special effort was made to celebrate the birthdays of the Ukrainian students. I was very impressed with how the school community as a whole responded to these students and I think it provides a great example of little understanding, compassionate towards other students can reap great rewards.

      • #196269
        Sam Briggs
        Participant

        That is really nice to read about how the kids made a fuss over the Ukrainian  children’s birthdays! As a teacher in an urban school, it’s easy for me to forget about the additional challenges refugees in rural areas must face. It’s amazing to see from all of these posts that there is great work going on all around the country to support refugees on a local scale.

    • #196266
      Sam Briggs
      Participant

      The Irish Refugee Council provides legal and social support to refugees and asylum seekers, including housing assistance, education programs, and advocacy for their rights. The Irish Red Cross offers emergency relief, healthcare services, and community integration programs for refugees.

      To support refugees and welcome them to the community, schools can collaborate with these two organisations to facilitate educational programs for refugee children. This could involve providing language support, cultural orientation, and academic resources to help them adjust to their new learning environment.

      Schools can establish mentorship programs where students can volunteer to support and guide refugee students, helping them navigate the school system, make friends, and adapt to the local culture. However, I feel this happens naturally, so a formal process may be unnecessary. It has been wonderful to see how students in the school have had the natural initiative to help Ukrainian refugees feel welcome in the class and in the yard!

      My favourite day of the school year is our Multicultural Day, where we celebrate diversity and promote understanding. Parents and kids are invited to bring in food from their home countries, or to perform songs/dances to showcase their cultures. 19 countries were represented this year, which was wonderful to see… and taste!

      Fundraising drives or donation campaigns organised by schools can provide essential supplies, clothing, or financial assistance to refugee families in need. These initiatives not only address immediate needs but also demonstrate solidarity and support from the school community.

      Admittedly, this is a topic that I should really be more aware of, so I have particularly enjoyed this module and this research task!

    • #196290
      Saoirse Rooney
      Participant

      The Irish Refugee Council and The Irish Red Cross offer fantastic services for refugees that arrive in Ireland. The Irish Red Cross offer immediate assistance for people arriving here while the Irish Refugee Council offers more long term supports and advocates for them through a range of  supports from legal assistance, housing and education.

      In my school we have a very active Student Council. They organise different fundraising days in school to support causes. This year they had a non-uniform day to support the Irish Red Cross and their appeal for funds after the devastating earthquake in Turkey. This raised great awareness in our school community about the plight of these people and where they would go to seek shelter.

      We also participate in Team Hope’s Christmas Shoe Box appeal that delivers shoe boxes with toys and goods to children in Romania, Ukraine, Kosovo, Albania, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, eSwatini. Mali, Kenya and Rwanda. The children are very enthusiastic about bringing them in and personalising them for children around the world.

      The other big fundraiser we have in the year is for St. Vincent de Paul. While this is not specifically a support for refugees in Ireland, it is a wonderful support to refugees in this country.

      The student council could embrace a multicultural day in school next year celebrating all the different ethnicities in the school.

       

    • #196535
      Sarah Muldowney
      Participant

      The Irish Red Cross provide immediate help to those arriving in Ireland. The Irish Red Cross aims to try to help refugees integrate into Irish society. I think it is important to educate children, especially the senior classes on the work that organisations like the Irish Red Cross, Irish Refugee Council and the UN Regugee Agency do in Ireland to help people who have arrived here.

      I think as a school, we can take action by educating ourselves on the work that is done by the organisations above and look at if there is something we as a community can do to help out. Our school enrolled children from Ukraine in March 2022 and many of these children are still with us today. I think this has shown the Irish children that there is a need to help others. Our school held a clothes collection and a food collection to help not only the students that had come to our school, but to send to others from Ukraine who were in need of help. Allowing the students from Ukraine to complete projects about their home country was also a lovely activity to allow the children to share about their lives before coming to Ireland, as well as educating the Irish children regarding what they had gone through to be here.

    • #196629
      Aisling Corbett
      Participant

      Organisations working with refugees in our school’s community:

      Doras: Doras is a non-governmental organisation that works to support and advocate for the rights of refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants in Ireland. They provide a range of services, including legal advice, advocacy, integration support, and community development programs.

      Irish Red Cross: The Irish Red Cross operates in Limerick and provides support to refugees and asylum seekers through various programs and initiatives. They offer services such as emergency response, health and social care, community development, and psychosocial support.

      Limerick Social Services Council: Limerick Social Services Council is an organisation that provides social services to vulnerable groups, including refugees and asylum seekers. They offer practical support, accommodation assistance, and help with integration and accessing essential services.

      Nasc Ireland: Nasc is an organisation that supports migrants and refugees across Ireland, including Limerick. They provide information, advice, and advocacy on immigration issues, as well as practical support for accessing healthcare, housing, education, and employment.

      Limerick City Integration Working Group: The Limerick City Integration Working Group is a collaborative initiative involving various organisations, community groups, and government agencies. They work together to promote integration and social inclusion of refugees and migrants in Limerick through programs, events, and community engagement.

      My primary school has strong links with the local secondary school and every year we are invited to their multicultural day to visit the stalls set up by the second level students from different countries around the world. The stalls have posters and pictures, lots of information about the different cultures in our community, food samples, clothing from the different countries and students of lots of different nationalities who are so welcoming and enthusiastic about educating the young visitors from my school. Perhaps the students in my school could hold a similar event an invite the second level students to visit us and allow us to educate them on the different nationalities in our school.

      I think it is very important to foster understanding and empathy among students by educating them about the challenges and experiences faced by refugees. We could incorporate lessons or workshops that explore refugee issues, human rights, and cultural diversity. We could also invite guest speakers, including refugees, to share their stories and experiences, therefore promoting empathy.

      • #197132
        Patrick Brophy
        Participant

        I had never heard of Doras or Nasc before, thanks so much for sharing these organisations.Often families will come to the school staff with these enquiries so it will be great to have a couple of options to help them out.

    • #196753
      Laura Smyth
      Participant

      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.

    • #196837
      Niall Hickey
      Participant

      I live in a small village in the west of Ireland and we don’t have any group who work specifically with refugees. St Vincent De Paul offer a wide range of support to refugees in the area but it is mainly about getting these people involved in the community through the tiny towns committee and local GAA club to enjoy activities and meet other people in the locality. The schools also play a huge part in welcoming and including these people in any initiatives that they may have. It is very important for us as teachers to stress the importance of understanding and empathy among students and educate them in this area.

    • #196851
      Imelda Whelan
      Participant

      <p class=”MsoNormal”>Our school has been very fortunate to welcome refugee and migrant families to our community in recent times. We work closely with Crosscare who support our families who are in direct provision. We are based in an urban area that would be profiled as economically disadvantaged. It has been wonderful to see the amazing community spirit that has led to extension of support and inclusion to our new families. The biggest challenge that faces our families on direct provision are the environmental elements of their location. Many families have been located in large hotels on motorways a significant distance from the school with no green spaces or public transport links. Access to work and training has also been challenging but the barriers accessing these have been greatly reduced due to economic and market demand factors. Our families also describe the day to day challenges of not having cooking facilities. Their meals are provided to them which means that they have no say of their children’s diets on an ongoing basis.</p>
       

      • #196896
        Eoghan O’Neill
        TeachNet Moderator

        Hi Imelda,

        Thank you for sharing your experience with us. We have one family who are housed in a hotel over 30 minutes away from the school, and it really is awful to think about their experiences after school. Being confined to a single room with no access to green areas and other public services is no way to live. This is obviously having a clear impact on the learning and development of the child. Long-term solutions are so important, and are something which need to be worked on at a higher level.

    • #197020
      Patrick Curran
      Participant

      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.

       

      • #197047
        Fintina Kealey
        Participant

        This is such an interesting and informative post. I had not heard of many of these organisations and it is great to read about them. The idea of also including words from children’s home languages on the word wall in the classroom sounds like a lovely inclusive idea.

      • #197076
        Eoghan O’Neill
        TeachNet Moderator

        Hi Patrick,

        Thanks for your post and for sharing the excellent work of so many organisations in your locality. It is clear that there is a vibrant community spirit, with a desire to create a welcoming atmosphere for migrants in the area. This work in the community likely means that children will be more receptive to emulating this atmosphere in school. I love the idea of including words from the native language of all children on your word wall – this gives them a sense of ownership and belonging in the classroom. As well as creating an inclusive classroom climate, this practice is also recommended within the Primary Language Curriculum.

    • #197044
      Fintina Kealey
      Participant

      Having done some research to respond to this post, I can only imagine how hard it must be for migrants and refugees to find services available to them in the locality. I did find the availability of an English language class for beginners in the local community centre near my school as well as Saint Vincent de Paul services.

      We welcomed many children from Ukraine into our school in March 2022 and as a whole school community made an effort to ensure the children felt safe and welcome. We had a welcoming committee with children who spoke their language. Many children brought in toys as donations to the new members of our school community (on their own initiative) and we made an effort to say good morning and good bye in the languages of all the children in the class to show how diverse and inclusive our class can be.

    • #197092
      Sam Wright
      Participant

      The organisation Sanctuary Runners plays a vital role in supporting refugees in our community. Their commitment to fostering inclusivity, friendship, and empowerment through running is commendable. As a school, there are several ways we can take action to support refugees and welcome them into our community.

       

      Firstly, we can raise awareness among our students about the challenges faced by refugees and the importance of empathy and understanding. This can be achieved through educational activities, guest speakers, and discussions that shed light on refugee experiences and their contributions to society.

       

      Secondly, we can initiate initiatives to actively welcome refugees into our school community. This could involve organising cultural exchange programs, buddy systems, or language support programs to help ease the transition and promote inclusivity.

       

      Additionally, we can collaborate with local organisations and community groups to provide practical support to refugees. Fundraisers, donation drives for essential items, or volunteering opportunities can make a significant impact on their well-being and integration.

       

      By taking such actions, our school can create a welcoming environment that values diversity, promotes understanding, and supports refugees in their journey towards a brighter future.

    • #197130
      Patrick Brophy
      Participant

      Our community has many organisations working with migrants and refugees, notably the CDETB and Dublin Northwest Partnership. These organisations provide magnificent courses and events for families who are new to the area, from healthy eating, food deliveries and beginner / intermediate English courses. Our school was recently given DEIS status and part of the HSCL role is to coordinate these events for parents and where possible facilitate them at school. We have partnered with other schools in the area and invited parents regardless of where their child is attending. It is great for students to see their families engaging with schools and improving their skills. This year we held a community wellness fair where the children performed a mix of Irish and international songs while the parents explored services, wellness activities and enjoyed refreshments. We also held informal conversational English classes for families recently arrived from Ukraine, a lovely social way for those parents to connect. We are going to continue this next year.

    • #197151
      Katie Doyle
      Participant

      One brilliant organistion in Dublin is Fáilte Isteach- this is a group made up of older citizens who volunteer to teach english. This idea is a great support to families who have moved here and may not have a level of english, being able to communicate is an integral part of feeling at home in their new country. There are numerous Fáilte Isteach clubs operating all around Ireland, one of which is only a short drive from my school.

      After the conflict in Ukraine started, my school organised bake sales each term where children brought in baked goods and sold them to the greater school community in order to raise funds.

    • #197210
      Noreen Keane
      Participant

      Like other participants here, unfortunately, there isn’t one specific organization in my area working with refugees. We have all the usual ones, St. Vincent de Paul, Family Resource Centre and of course the one mentioned by many, the GAA. They all do great work and I am sure are very busy.

      Regarding my own school, it is in an urban area and has always been very multicultural. At one stage we had families from 12 different countries in our school. We celebrated annually within the school community by having our ‘Intercultural Day’. The children did projects on each of the countries and members of the family would visit and give an insight into their way of life. The children paraded in the schoolyard with their banners, signs and posters on our ‘Intercultural Day’ to celebrate. The whole school community got involved. I think this celebration and welcome to other nationalities into our community attracted families to our school at that time. We even made the newspapers and the news! However, the dynamic changed with time, and we now have few families from different cultures in our school. This module brings me back to projects and celebrations we could do again to welcome and include all families into our school community. This year my 6th class got involved with a Direct Provision Centre and we organized a cake sale, with all the money going towards stationery and school supplies for those children. We can do more.

       

      • #197221
        Eoghan O’Neill
        TeachNet Moderator

        Hi Noreen,

        Having the experience of working in a multicultural school with such diversity must really help, as you welcome new families and nationalities from time to time. The ‘Intercultural Day’ you have discussed is a wonderful idea, that showcases the welcoming and caring spirit in the school. Giving these children that sense of ownership and belonging within the school must really strengthen the bond between home and school. With the whole-school community involved, ‘local’ children would also get a flavour of other cultures which may help to build and sustain relationships.

    • #197441
      Eimear Donohoe
      Participant

      Following my research these are the organisations locally that aim to provide support to refugees/migrants.

      Cavan town delivered the Syrian refugee resettlement programme, which began in 2019 and saw 100 Syrian refugees come and be welcomed to the county. They also had a Congolese refugee resettlement programme, about 10 years ago, with similar numbers arriving and they got a very good reception from this.

      The Cavan Volunteer centre to great work in encouraging migrants and refugees to do some volunteer work which has in turn led to employment opportunities from this.. They have secured jobs in KFC, Farnham Hotel, Musgrave Dublin, and Ballinagh Bakery after volunteering over 400 hours at Tidy Towns, SOSAD, Cavan Arts Cultural Night, Sleep Out Cavan, Park Run, Virginia Development Association and Tesco

      Monaghan Migrant  Support Centre provides information and support to migrants across Co. Monaghan.

      The Department of Integration is considering the suitability of the property formerly known as the White Horse Hotel in Cootehill to accommodate Ukrainian refugees.

      Schools need to have an inclusive and welcoming environment. They need to put policies and frameworks in place to provide a curriculum that is inclusive of their various cultures and language needs of the refugees and migrants in schools. Schools could get the refugees/migrants involved in school events, like organising fundraisers , having a cultural evening of songs, dances which involves parents, children and greater school community.

       

      • #197465
        Profile photo ofpbrennan_jy7f6fe0Pat Brennan
        Course Facilitator

        Hi Eimear,

        Great to hear there is so much support for refugees in the Cavan/Monaghan area. I think key for all communities is to focus on the positives of migration, debunking from the start commonly held societal suspicions often attached to migrants, refugees and asylum seekers before the narrative has the chance to turn negative due to misinformation. As you outline schools have a important role in this ensuring access to education and supports are inclusive. Also continually, celebrating difference through school activities like cultural nights as you suggest. It all helps to build a sense of togetherness and community.

    • #197872
      Ann Gaughan
      Participant

      Our Our school is situated in a rural setting but there are many organisations who help out in a nearby town…various charity shops, church, St Vincent de Paul, GAA clubs, resource centre, local hotels.
      Our principal reached out to St Vincent de Paul last Christmas, we wrote a song, recorded it and sent it on to local and national radio stations, we had an idonate page which raised a lot of money for children (locally) living in poor living conditions. St V de P were chosen as the charity to facilitate this support. It was a great experience for the children as it was Christmas, and it just gave them the opportunity to think about those chn less fortunate at a time when…”I want, I’m getting” seemed to be at the tip of their mouths.
      Local families have opened their homes and we have a small number of Ukranians in our school. As a result of this our school has become a much better place, we promote other cultures as well as our own and the children have become really good friends with kids from another country…priceless! We also welcomed 8 Spanish children into our school community his year, again it gave us a chance to share our culture (cooking, music, sports, language) and vice versa.

      • #197878
        Profile photo ofpbrennan_jy7f6fe0Pat Brennan
        Course Facilitator

        Hi Ann,

        Wonderful community spirit and togetherness detailed in your post. It’s heartwarming to hear there’s so much going on in your community and the eagerness of so many local organisations to get involved to support and welcome refugees. I’m particularly taken by your school composing and recording a song to raise money to support those in need in the community. What a novel idea, and empowering for all involved.

      • #198194
        Michelle O Regan
        Participant

        It has been really heart-warming to read about all the initiates going on in areas around the country to welcome refugees to local areas. In our school we had one child from Ukraine only for a short visit while accommodation was secured for his family in a neighbouring town. The school community was so excited to welcome this child and do all they could to make him feel safe and welcome. He was given the loan of a school uniform to make him feel equal to his peers, children were so quick to show him around and include him in play. He had no English, but it was absolutely fascinating to see how he progressed through play in those short few days.

        There is so much to learn from children and how they deal with change. We could take their lead when teaching others how to show love and compassion.

      • #198200
        Helen Walsh
        Participant

        Michelle,

        Isn’t it amazing how children use the language of ‘play’ to communicate and connect – as adults we definitely a lot to learn from them and how they deal with change; I couldn’t agree more. Allowing them take the lead and show us the compassionate way forward is something I will continue to embrace going forward.

        Thank you

      • #200973
        Keelan Conway
        Participant

        Hi Ann,

        Your post captures what I consider to be the true meaning of ‘community’ perfectly. I particularly liked the idea of writing and recording a song. This is something I will certainly consider in my career going forward.

    • #197875
      Ann Gaughan
      Participant

      Climate change is definitely affecting us all at a local and global level. The rise in temperatures and then flash flooding is very evident, storms during the summer with regular thunder/ lightning..its unavoidable. With the older classes, I believe the Green schools programme does a lot to promote these issues , we are after obtaining our flag for travel where children were encouraged to take the bus to reduce our carbon footprint. Although the number of cyclists increased, it was not safe for us to promote car pooling, walk, cycle, scoot so we were limited in our actions. In the future I would like to look at trnds in countries that have high populations/ high carbon footprints and encourage the children to take action by sending an email to a local minister or someone in power.
      This year we took part in the IN Your shoes campaign, where children brought in trainers and football boots in good condition, but no longer fit them. These shoes were passed on to children in poorer countries. I love the idea I saw here by a poster where older kids brought in jerseys for the younger children. I think this is such a great idea to encourage sustainability…plus kids would love it! We have done this before with books and school jumpers but never thought of doing it with jerseys! And the county jerseys last for ages.. great quality!

      • This reply was modified 7 months, 2 weeks ago by Ann Gaughan. Reason: entered in the wrong module
    • #198014

      There have been a few initiatives in our school area in the last few years to welcome and support asylum seekers and refugees.Many of these were effective and organised by People Before Profit e.g. drama classes for young children, benefit musical gigs to raise money for resources ( which a few of my own family members participated in). More recently, I was told by Whattapp about  a new support group  by ex-parents of our school founded by Ivana Bacik T.D. and others called CharlestonRoadbriefing. They aim to provide a large range of supports but I was particularly interested in the initiative of donating books and board games. I have noted from the video “A Place in Mind” that these adults and children feel trapped in their lodgings and direct provision centres and that they struggle with stress and many mental health issues because of the length of time spent there and because of the many restrictions imposed on them until they succeed in becoming Irish Citizens.This process can take anything up to ten years according to the speakers.

      On a practical level, inviting a few refugees or asylum seekers to a question and answer session in the classes in school would be far more powerful and effective than using video recordings.The online content would be very helpful to prepare for the session especially the “Time to Flee” resource from Amnesty International which is suitable for 11-16 year olds.

      Niamh Hanlon’s coffee morning is another excellent way of integrating these communities with our pupils.As we have a Friday morning coffee morning where pupils play music and we have parents and other visitors present, we could easily do a regular one to invite the asylums seekers or refugees.Of course this would have to be organised and treated sensitively through a liaising organisation in order for it to work effectively. We would need to identify clear aims and encourage our pupils to be active and involved so as to achieve these aims.We have had cake sales in the last few years to help the Ukranian Community but unfortunately we do not have any Ukranian pupils in our school.We had an ex- parent who returned to the Ukraine and he was our link for the donations.

      There are many collections of Christmas toys, presents, clothes and money through the usual charities  e.g. Vincent de Paul, Crosscare on a regular basis in our school parish for refugees and asylum seekers too. An ex-pupil of ours had a collection of goods for  them too and she raised a considerable amount of money.This type of activity is a very good initiative too for pupils to get involved in and to be active.

      • #198095
        Mary Mc Elvaney
        Participant

        Hello Ann,

        I have never heard of the ‘IN’ your shoes campaign before. It sounds like a great way to encourage students to reflect on their belongings and develop a sense of empathy. I will look into this programme. Thank you for sharing!

      • #198809
        Christine O’Brien
        Participant

        I thoroughly agree that inviting a willing refugee in would be far more effective than a video.  I particularly like the idea of a guest speaker/visitor and that you have a weekly coffee morning hosted by the students for parents and other visitors.  While I have no doubt that this is a big undertaking as a school, I’m sure the benefits are immeasurable.  Well done to all involved!

      • #199193
        Teresa Gillespie
        Participant

        Having worked as a volunteer in a direct provision centre ,I agree wholeheartedly with you Caitlin that mental health is a huge issue for people who can be held for years without having the right to work , cook their own food or have a decent living space.

    • #198037
      Emma Molloy
      Participant

      The United Nations Higher Commissioner for Refugees is a non-profit organisation, based in Dublin, that protects refugees, forcibly displaced communities, and stateless people, and to assist in their voluntary repatriation, local integration or resettlement to a third country. It is heart-wrenching to read that over 100 million people have been forced to flee their own country due to war, conflict and persecution. Children in Irish schools should be made aware of this, in a sensitive manner. It is important they realise that they can help and that they can also be active citizens to welcome these people into their society by accepting change and diversity. Children should be encouraged to be sensitive and empathetic with one another and with the predicament of migrants and refugees.

      This is very topical at the moment in Ireland, as so many Ukrainian children have been welcomed into our classrooms. Children are susceptible to change but should also know why these children have come and that they were left with no choice. Learners can inform their families of ways to help – donating clothes, food, water etc. or making a monetary donation to support the people to seek asylum in our country, while they remain displaced.

    • #198094
      Mary Mc Elvaney
      Participant

      In regard to a school community, our Home School Liaison officer has been heavily involved supporting and welcoming new families to the school community. The library has been stocked with dual language books and there was a mentor/ buddy system between students at different year groups.

      In regard to the local area, there is a Ukrainian Community Centre that acts as a hub. When I researched the group, they offer one-to-one support and advice and have a range of activities such as skills based and creative workshops for both adults and children. Perhaps, linking in with the schools that these students attend to offer a buddy programme or getting involved in the Art workshops. The organisation of an active or fun day might encourage refugees in which English may be an additional language. They have advertised a poster competition about their year so far in Ireland. The cultural activities would allow refugees to teach students in our school about their culture and there could be a volunteer programme for children, staff or parents who are willing to support in any way possible.

       

    • #198160
      Peter Mc Mahon
      Participant

      There is not any organisation working in my community with refugees that I am aware of. However, the Parents’ Association in school run a number of fundraisers and collections, such as food drives and clothes collections, to aid those who need it the most.

      My school’s Home School Liaison Officer has run termly coffee mornings, whereby the parents of refugee families can voice any concerns that they may have or any help that they may need. They also have the support of other parents in similar circumstances.

      I think that both music and sports are great ways to help schools and students welcome refugees to the community, as these are areas that have common overlaps internationally.

    • #198167
      Niamh Mc Hugh
      Participant

      Unfortunately at present there is no dedicated organization working within my local community to support refugees, however as so many have already mentioned the St. Vincent De Paul does absolutely extraordinary work within the community over many years, including welcoming and supporting refugees in surrounding areas. This year, as a result of the ongoing war in Ukraine, has been the first time our locality has had the opportunity to welcome and support refugees fleeing their war-torn country. Our local Tidy Town Committee ended up reaching out and bringing the community together to support and help integrate our new arrivals. Locals have really come together and welcomed each and every one. We have held meet and greet mornings, we have organised volunteers to come to the centre to teach English, run activities for the children to integrate with other children already in the community, gathered donated clothes and toys, teach different workshops and support the refugees in exploring their new community. As a very remote part of the country we have also come together to organise transport or lifts so that the children can attend local schools and after school activities and many of these clubs and businesses have offered free access to their activities and leisure activities. As what I think is a direct result of this, initiatives that have run in the schools for may years such as the Christmas Shoe Box Appeal, Walk In My Shoes and Trocaire box appeal have all seen a huge increase in donations and people taking part in these. I hope that the exposure and insights into the lives of refugees that many people have experienced this year over the past two years will stay with them and continue to increase peoples awareness and willingness to help the plight of others in need.

    • #198195
      Helen Walsh
      Participant

      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.

      • #198226
        Profile photo ofpbrennan_jy7f6fe0Pat Brennan
        Course Facilitator

        Hi Helen,

        From what you’ve outlined in your post, your community had adapted a real boots on ground approach to welcoming and supporting asylum seekers and refugees and it’s really impressive to hear how the national and international initiatives you reference dovetail seamlessly with what you are doing locally. The ‘Road to’ community project in particular  sounds a much better approach than Direct provision from what you’ve outlined, integrating families from the get-go. This is so important and fosters togetherness rather than the inhibiting and often negative ‘Us and them’ mentality.

      • #198306
        eimear o callaghan
        Participant

        Hi Helen,

        This ” Road to’  project looks amazing. Very inspiring. There is nothing more important than helping each other and so much easier when the whole community are involved. I would love to get involved at this level. Fair play to you and your community, a wonderful integrated approach.

      • #198526
        anny hynes
        Participant

        Hi Helen,

        This is so great to hear how supportive the local community have been.  I think with the situation in Ukraine, it really showed there is good in the world and people do have empathy and care.  Our school and community also came together and opened their homes to several families.  Some have since relocated, but some are still with us.  It was really heart warming to see the children set up cake sales and lemonade stands outside their houses, wanting to make their contribution to the new people in our community. It is so great to know it happened nationwide.  I know there was some negativity too, but I think it is important to focus on the positivity with children and nurture this to begin with.

    • #198363
      Kevin Barry
      Participant

      There is not any organisation in my local area that I aware of that works with refugees.

      There are many ways in which the school supports refugees and many other ways in which they could also provide support. One of the ways is by providing language support which has become very important. The school offers lots of extra support to EAL children who may be coming from areas such as Ukraine. These children benefit from extra one on one classes.

      The school also creates a very welcoming environment for the children who are coming into the school. It is vital for these children to feel like the school is a safe space for them especially as some of them could be after fleeing a country of war. The children are also encouraged to take part in some of the activities the Irish children take part in such as sports which is excellent for them.

      • #198601
        Kieran Ormond
        Participant

        Hi Kevin,
        I found the same with my local community, there seems to be less supports outside of school and it seems to be the schools trying to support the refugees within school time and available supports. As you say it’s vital that they have that routine and sense of safety, but I wonder how the young adults post-school are coping in Irish communities.

    • #198452

      I have found many groups in Dublin that support refugees. Examples include: Irish Refugee Council and The Irish Red Cross and Doras. My school and students could take action to support and welcome refugees to the community by engaging in the following activities:
      – Engage in fundraisers to raise money for the organisations that support refugees. This could include a pyjama day, own clothes day or a bake sale.
      – Contribute to a Christmas Food/Toy appeal where children and staff could donate to. Items would be sent to an organisation that supports refugees and these would be delivered to refugee families before Christmas.
      – Guest speakers that are involved in one of the above organisations may visit the school to talk about their organisation and the work they do.
      – Participate in an international day where other countries/cultures are celebrated through clothing, music and food.
      When children take action, it helps them construct an inclusive community where everyone is welcomed and it fosters children in becoming active citizens.

      • #198532
        Profile photo ofpbrennan_jy7f6fe0Pat Brennan
        Course Facilitator

        Hi Danielle,

        You have provided a number of really clear examples of how we can create a welcoming environment for refugee students and there are so many organisations in Dublin doing great work welcoming and supporting Integration of migrant families including Doras, The Irish Red Cross and the Irish Refugee Centre. t’s great to hear about the wonderful Irish welcome that has been given to refugees detailed on this forum, the length and breadth of this country. However,  that it’s so important that these efforts don’t fizzle out over time. Regrettably it looks like the conflict in the Ukraine is showing no sign of ending anytime soon so the supports you have alluded to needs to be provisioned for the long term…

    • #198472
      anny hynes
      Participant

      The charity I discovered in our surrounding area is one called SCOOP. I had never heard about this organization before. SCOOP stands for Supporting Children Out of Poverty. They have worked in Cambodia and India, Syria and Iraq an began expanding into Direct Provision Centres in Ireland. They are also part of Erasmus projects which promote and safeguard the rights of refugees and asylum seekers and migrants.
      Their mission is to empower displaced and marginalized young people to fulfill their potential in Ireland and abroad. I got lost down a rabbit hole while exploring this website. The work these two brothers have done is amazing and I was in awe of how dedicated they are to the cause. They offer education and recruitment and the arts learning opportunities.
      I think I could start by encouraging the children to explore this link and make some notes based on questions I have given them. They could create a brief presentation on their discoveries and any interesting or surprising things they learned. They have so many projects, such as a GAA link in Cambodia, I am sure it would appeal to all the children. We could then look at how we could help – fundraising? 6th class do a charity cake sale every year in aid of charities of their choice. Perhaps this could be one. We could contact them and see if we could set up ‘penpals’ with some of the children they have helped in other countries. This could be an excellent project to develop global citizenship and empathy with the greater world.
      To welcome refugees into our country the children themselves came up with International Day in our school. We asked families of the children of all nationalities to come into our hall and set up a stand. They could bring in pictures, documents, objects, food – this was a popular one, art work, clothes etc. This was inclusive of every nationality in the school and the amount of parents that came in to set up these stands was amazing. We had a timetable for each class to visit the hall and then after school they stayed on and we encouraged parents to visit also. Everyone said it was a huge success and the families who came to teach us about their countries and lives there were really overwhelmed with the day and were delighted. We will definitely be doing this again.

      About

      • #198523
        Profile photo ofpbrennan_jy7f6fe0Pat Brennan
        Course Facilitator

        Hi Anny,

        Thanks for sharing the information on the SCOOP Foundation which I must admit I too had not heard of previously. Really impressive, the work they are doing.

    • #198589
      eimear o callaghan
      Participant

      The Dublin Simon Community, while known for helping homeless people in Dublin, also help refugees and asylum seekers who are, or at risk of homelessness in Dublin. The advocate for these refugees and asylum seekers and guide them towards the  essential services and resources they require. In the past we have raised a significant amount of money by holding ‘colour days’ in school where the children are asked to bring in a contribution towards the Dublin Simon Community to help to bring such essential services to refugees and asylum seekers here in Dublin. We have also had  a Bake Sales to raise money and awareness for charities. Typically the children present a powerpoint presentation that they have created as a class at our school assembly prior to these fundraising events to bring awareness to the aim of the event. They also make posters to highlight the needs and purpose of the charity. It is a well organised charity.

      • #198616
        Profile photo ofpbrennan_jy7f6fe0Pat Brennan
        Course Facilitator

        Hi Eimear,

        The Simon Community has been doing stellar work for over 50 years now in Dublin and surrounding counties supporting those suffering homelessness for a myriad of reasons and not just with emergency (And longer term) accommodation but also helping people rebuild their lives afterwards. Great too that your school has linked with Simon and other charities through fundraising events like bake sales. A really practical way to get pupil’s active and aware.

    • #198596
      Kieran Ormond
      Participant

      It surprised me how difficult it was finding support services and organisations for refugees in Kilkenny, despite articles on how many Ukrainian refugees are currently being housed in the city of Kilkenny. The Kilkenny volunteer centre had information displayed about their latest clothing donation appeal raising funds for the IOM Ireland’s Ukrainian response, but nothing related to support and housing in the community. Their strategic plan 2023-2025 has a couple of references to migrant communities but again only in relation to fundraising rather than support.

      I found their ‘Volunteer Do’s and Don’ts’ to be an interesting resource and could definitely be adapted in the classroom for maybe a ‘Caring neighbour Do’s and Don’ts’ in relation to supporting refugees in your community. I found it disappointing that there were so many articles and so much information relating to the cost of housing refugees but so few initiatives for supporting and integrating these people into our community, this could of course be a prompt for lessons on change and creating initiatives.

    • #198807
      Christine O’Brien
      Participant

      There are several organisations working with refugees in the wider Cork community. The Cork Migrant Centre’s (CMC) programs target people from all five direct provision centres in Cork as well as migrants, including refugees in the local Cork community. It recognises that not all migrants are refugees. To quote their website, http://www.corkmigrantcentre.ie , its ‘psychosocial programs target empowerment by giving these vulnerable individuals a voice and strengthening their physical, emotional, cognitive and social health. It also aids in their integration process.’ It also explains how it focuses on ‘building collaborations, partnerships’ and linkages (Nationally & Internationally) towards creating and enhancing opportunities for equality and equity.’

      With this in mind, it would be wonderful to, as a class/school, link up with the CMC to organise a ‘Welcome Refugees’ event in the area. Children could write a letter/article for their local paper welcoming refugees. Children could write to their local and/or national representatives (e.g. Minister for Children & Youth) regarding direct provision and its infringements on SDGs and/or UN Human Rights and/or UN Rights of the Child. Children could link up with/have penpals with children who are refugees in the Direct Provision Centres in the county.

      • #199072
        Celine Glynn
        Participant

        That is such a lovely idea. How wonderful would it be if every school in the country did something similar. Surely our TD’s would have to listen if the powerful little people put that pressure on them. Suddenly the conditions that people have to live in in direct provision would be talked about and discussed in every home in the country.

      • #199108
        Grainne Murphy
        Participant

        Hi Christine, This is a fantastic idea that would be very beneficial for all involved.

    • #198820
      anna keyes
      Participant

      I feel like the most important thing to do when getting involved and taking action to support refugees within our school setting would be to get informed. Amnesty International, as can even be seen in one of the videos in this module, are an excellent resource to find out correct and up to date information on migration and asylum seeking. By learning about and discussing properly these areas, awareness is raised throughout the school community which I think is vital for supporting people who come to rebuild their lives in Ireland. We want our students to be well informed and have language around this topic, especially now that so many of our classrooms have welcomed students whose families are fleeing war.

      The Amnesty International website contains a wealth of information on what people, communities can do to support migrants and refugees. They provide addresses the students could write to, seeking more information on what our government is doing for refugees in Ireland. They give suggestions on activities people can engage in such as language classes and awareness raising events.

      • #198873
        Profile photo ofpbrennan_jy7f6fe0Pat Brennan
        Course Facilitator

        Hi Anna,
        I agree information is key and ensuring students have access to informed and balanced information on migration, refugees and asylum seekers should be the teacher’s starting point with a class when approaching this topic. As you have mooted, students need to have the language around the topic too to be able to discuss, appreciate and understand the myriad of reasons families find themselves in such a predicament. It also helps develop empathy which is so important in DE.

      • #198955
        Julie-Ann Murphy
        Participant

        Hi Anna,

        The Amnesty international website is a great point of reference for teachers and there is definitely a wealth of knowledge which we can use there for lessons with our students.

    • #198838
      Amy Craven
      Participant

      The Irish Red Cross is a charity that helps refugees and migrants in our local community. They source safe accommodation, help provide goods and services and support refugees in engaging with education, employment, social protection and health services. They aim to integrate families into the local community.

       

      I think the videos and lesson resources used in this module were excellent and I would start by using them to teach about refugees and migration. We would research some of the work that the Irish Red Cross do and consider how we could support them.

       

      I’ve found fundraisers are a great way for children to actively engage in Global citizenship. The teachers would act as support but the children themselves could come up with a fundraising idea such as, a colour day, bake sale, raffle etc. The children love working in groups on different aspects such as designing posters, organising the money and teaching the younger classes about the charities.  The money raised could then be donated to our local Red Cross.

       

    • #198912
      Julie Murphy
      Participant

      I think the children in each class need to be explicitly taught about the topic of refugees, their lives and the challenges in which they face in our community and worldwide. There needs to be interactive stories online and a talk and dicussion forum where every child is able to give their opinion on how we can help other people in our locality.
      The Irish red cross is a well know established organisation in my community. It provides assistance to families and people with accomodation as well as other services such as, promoting education, employment etc.
      We could ask the Irish Red Cross to come to our school to help raise awareness about the great work that they are doing for others in our community. In Addition to this, we could fundraise by having a craft fair to raise money for the Irish Red Cross.
      The children could also gather items of clothing and other things to provide the Irish Red Cross with additional resources for the people in their care.

      • #199023
        Profile photo ofpbrennan_jy7f6fe0Pat Brennan
        Course Facilitator

        Hi Julie,

        I agree and (as I mentioned in a previous post) information is key and we must explicitly inform our students of the facts in particular the underlying factors of displacement. Being an asylum seeker or refugee is not a decision people get to make in reality and it’s so important for understanding and empathy that students understand this.

    • #198952
      Julie-Ann Murphy
      Participant

      As a whole my local community is very helpful and welcoming towards refugees, something that was very evident at the beginning of the Ukranian war when many families were welcomed with open arms. There are several local organisations who provide help and support to those coming into our country. The social welfare branch office and Citizens Information Centre were the first to come to mind. Along with these there are many Facebook sites such as Migrant Support Monaghan and County Monaghan refugee Support group ltd.

      We have had several initiatives in our school which welcome new arrivals. One big day was our multi-cultural day where families cooked their nations dish, dressed in their national clothes and took their food to school for us all to try. In class children are encouraged to learn phrases from other pupils who speak a different language, especially phrases they can use when playing on the yard at breaktimes.

      However in the recent past there has been a noticeable increase in the refugee population which unfortunately has given rise to many Facebook campaigns based on ignorance and misinformation.

       

      • #202313
        Maire Stokes
        Participant

        Thanks Julie-Ann, I hadn’t known about the 2 facebook groups. Its useful to know in case we need to contact them in the future.

    • #199070
      Celine Glynn
      Participant

      In the area that my school is located there are many Ukranian refugees living at the moment. As a school we have held coffee mornings and also collected for many items that have been requested by the local refugees.

      The GAA club has been a huge help to all of those living locally and helped to ensure that they felt integrated into the local community. GAA clubs are such a staple in each parish and town in Ireland and always tend to ensure that everyone is included. It’s quite a unique association in that sense.

      We also have an International Day each year where children learn about lots of different countries and cultures. Each class focus on one country and then present that country to the rest of the school. We also invite family members in to perform local dances, songs, give presentations on what life is like in their home country.

    • #199107
      Grainne Murphy
      Participant

      From researching this topic I have discovered that there are two local organisations that work with refugees and people in need in my community. The first is Saint Vincent de Paul. This organisation does fantastic work in the community – providing food, clothes, energy vouchers etc. for people. It also provides services that check in on refugees and elderly people. There is also a direct provision centre in my local area. A group of teachers volunteer in the centre a few times a week teaching English to the adults. This is something that I personally would love to get involved in in the coming school year. As a school we can help out the local Saint Vincent de Paul by holding an open day for refugees where people can meet with our students and parents and celebrate different cultures. This could be done as part of Intercultural Week that we celebrate every year. In this we invite parents and family members in to the school and celebrate the diverse cultures through food, dance, stories etc.

      • #199473
        Aoife Slacke
        Participant

        The SVP are such a brilliant oganisation and one that is really admired by the Irish people. It is super that the teachers are giving of their time and helping out to such a worthy cause

      • #199507
        Deirdre Seery
        Participant

        I think it is fantastic that your school gets involved with SVP. Its a great organisation and helps so many.

      • #199720
        Ellen Stack
        Participant

        SVP are such a fantastic organisation and it is such a great one to get involved in school wise. I would love to look into something similar in terms of tying in with Intercultural day/week.

    • #199188
      Teresa Gillespie
      Participant

      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.

    • #199472
      Aoife Slacke
      Participant

      We have tried to be very active in relation to the Ukrainian refugees that have arrived in Ireland, in our locality and in our school.
      One of the first things we did was link up with a local flower farmer. He donated sunflower seeds to us and one of our 6th classes packed them into envelopes, decorated them and sold them to fundraise for the Irish red cross.
      Next, we are located quite close to one of the centres that was a processing centre for the refugees. We liaised with the chaplain in the army camp and we organised a donation drive of clothes, toys, toiletries etc.
      We had a lady who had completed some work experience in our school. She spoke Ukrainian and Russian so we invited her back to work with the children and families. She took up an EAL post in the school and she helps families looking to register with the school or other outside agencies.
      We asked the parents to donate old uniforms so the families could begin school with us straight away and they didn’t have to worry about fitting in.
      A number of teachers completed CPD on how to support the new children and the children already in the class and they compiled a bank of resources for all staff.

      • #203832
        Pauline Cahill
        Participant

        I really like the way in which Aoife’s school has been so active in helping Ukrainian refugees to settle into the community. The sunflower seed idea allowed the class to take a really involved and positive approach in raising money and enabled the children to gain a real understanding as to what this money would be used for. The donations would also have been very useful as many people had to flee their homes and could not bring much with them. Employing a person who is fluent in Ukrainian and Russian must also be very comforting to the children as the language barrier can be a significant obstacle at the beginning and it can be quite frustrating for those who have recently arrived as well as those who are trying to assist them. It really sounds like the school community has come together and provided a welcoming environment for refugees.

    • #199506
      Deirdre Seery
      Participant

      I work in a school in the inner city of Dublin. Last year I had 5 students who had refugee status in my class. There is an opportunity for the school to demonstrate its commitment to diversity and inclusion. By working together we can create a supportive and welcoming environment that helps all students thrive.

      I did some research and found that the Irish Refugee Council is an organization in Dublin that works with refugees. They provide a range of services including legal information, support and community development initiatives. As a school community, there are many ways, we take action to support refugees and welcome them into our community. One approach is that we organise a cultural exchange programme where students from different backgrounds can share their experiences and learn from one another. We also work with links with local organizations to provide support and resources to refugees such as language classes, job training, and mental health services. additionally, we could organise events and fundraisers to raise awareness about the challenges faced by refugees to provide financial support for organizations like the Irish Refugee Council. It’s also important to create a welcoming and inclusive environment within the school this could involve providing support to refugee students such as tutoring or mentoring and promoting diversity and inclusion through the curriculum and school activities.

       

      • #199535
        Kate McCarthy
        Participant

        Hi Deirdre,

        In regards to your mentioning of ‘tutoring/mentoring’, I saw it to be very effective to allow older Ukrainian children with more knowledge of English to be given opportunities to mentor a younger, less capable Ukrainian student within the school. We saw this to be beneficial to both students involved as well as to the teachers.

    • #199534
      Kate McCarthy
      Participant

      Through my research I discovered a few small local organizations that worked towards helping Ukrainian refugees.

      -A local cycling club held a spinathon, whereby all donations were given to the Irish Red Cross Refugee Appeal

      -A local business women who owns a cake shop travelled to her homeland in Poland where she provided food supplies to the families arriving there.

      -The local SVP shop in my community have advertised the type of items they accept and need in order to support Ukrainian families arriving in Ireland.

      Although I could not find any large organisation in my area, I think the work of small groups and individuals is also important to recognize. We had many Ukrainian families join our school this year and I was glad to see them welcomed and supported by the community. The school was very efficient in providing the basics for the children such as uniforms, books, stationary. I believe small things like this can make a big difference to the families and children who are arriving to our country.

      • #199547
        Profile photo ofpbrennan_jy7f6fe0Pat Brennan
        Course Facilitator

        Hi Kate,
        I think the work done at local level is critical as it’s instigated and driven by people in the community, the same community that welcome, host and support refugees when they arrive and it’s great to read the genuine and practical efforts local community groups have done to help displaced Ukrainians, real compassion and solidarity in action. The work done is your school as you’ve outlined is again practical and highly commendable, making sure that school basics like books, uniforms etc are provided, one less thing for already traumatised families to worry about as they grapple with displacement and a new country.

    • #199569
      Deirdre O’Brien
      Participant

      ‘Wicklow Community Directory’ is a local organisation which is working with refugees in my community in partnership with ‘Wicklow County Council’. They are also an organisation which I had not heard of previously despite the huge volume of media coverage about the refugee crisis. The organisation is trying to provide a community led response to provide support for Ukrainian refugees in my County. I think it is very important that we try to welcome these people into our communities. Several organisations are providing free English language courses such as Bray Area Partnership and the KWETB which would be very useful. I think that there are several things we can do to support and welcome these people into our communities such as community groups, school integration and project work, involvement in local sporting organisations, food drives where necessary but above all simply treating these people with the respect and dignity they deserve and making them feel part of the community.

    • #199716
      Ellen Stack
      Participant

      The Irish Red Cross in Dublin 15 would also be our closest organisation as a resource for asylum seekers and refugees. The recent enrolment of Ukrainian children in the school has opened up a discussion that hasn’t been had on such a relevant level to the school in some years. As a result, it is more important than ever that we are educating our students in terms of awareness and understanding and the upholding of rights for these children. There are many fantastic EAL resources available to us as teaching aids, however I think the most important thing that we can do is create a safe environment. School should be a safe haven where children feel secure and at ease, feeling part of a community and I think there are many different ways we can do this as a school community. The school has been involved in ongoing appeals for resources for local families which has been very successful.

      • #205162
        Deirdre Maye
        TeachNet Moderator

        Hi Ellen,

        Thank you for your post.  I have to agree with you that as educators we must try and create a safe environment.  The school is a place of learning and somewhere where we can feel secure.

    • #199733
      Louise Brosnan
      Participant

      Schools and students can take various actions to support refugees and welcome them to the community. Firstly, schools can create a welcoming environment by promoting diversity and inclusivity through cultural awareness programs, celebrating different traditions, and fostering understanding among students. They can also provide language support and cultural orientation programs to help refugee students integrate into the education system. Schools can establish buddy programs, where local students are paired with refugee students to provide support and friendship. Additionally, schools can organize community events and fundraisers to raise awareness about refugee issues and support local refugee organizations. Students can also engage in volunteer activities, such as tutoring or mentoring refugee students, organizing donation drives, or participating in advocacy campaigns to promote refugee rights. By taking these actions, schools and students can play a crucial role in creating a supportive and inclusive community for refugees. This has been significantly demonstrated in many communities in Ireland during the Ukrainian/ Russian war.

      • #203338
        Shona Barrett
        Participant

        Hi Louise, I love the idea that you posted about the school holding a fundraiser and community events to support local refugee organizations. Having a buddy system would be very beneficial for both parties as it would help students to integrate into the education system and this would also help the local child to understand the plight of the refugee and to break down any pre-conceived notions about what refugees are like.

    • #200282
      Naomi Curran
      Participant

      In my community a local organisation organised a clothes collection for the refugees who are living in the community hall. Locals even kindly donated money and items that were of use to the refugees. Local GAA coaches got these children and their parents to come to their house and teach them how to play hurling so they could feel part of the Irish culture.

      In my school the student council organised a bake sale. Parents and staff baked homemade buns and cakes to be used in the bake sale. Everyone in the local community was invited to come and support the cause. The money raised was for the Ukrainians living in the local community. By carrying out these actions this can lead to a very supportive and inclusive community for refugees. It is obvious that we have such wonderful local and school communities in Ireland willing to do whatever they can on a voluntary basis to help the refugees. It would make you proud to be Irish.

      • #200305
        Eoghan O’Neill
        TeachNet Moderator

        Hi Naomi,

        It has been heartening to read so many posts on this forum that have highlighted the great work being done by so many communities across the country. Local GAA clubs have really stood up in this regard, and like yourself, I have witnessed this in my own community too. Getting the student council involved in events that promote positive actions toward migrants and refugees is a great move. Too often, events that are teacher-led or parent-led can leave children unsure about what they are doing or why they are doing it. Giving them such a central role allows them that sense of ownership of the event, and provides them with a grounding in ‘why’ they’re doing it and why they need to do it.

    • #200316
      Kathleen Murphy
      Participant

      <p style=”box-sizing: inherit; border: 0px; font-size: 12px; margin: 0px 0px 1.6em; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #163c42; font-family: ‘Hind Madurai’, sans-serif;”>Research if there are any organisations working with refugees in your community. Post a reflective piece (150 words minimum) on the forum as a reply to this post, on how your school and students could take action to support refugees or welcome them to the community.</p>
      <p style=”box-sizing: inherit; border: 0px; font-size: 12px; margin: 0px 0px 1.6em; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #163c42; font-family: ‘Hind Madurai’, sans-serif;”>Please also comment on at least <span style=”box-sizing: inherit; font-weight: bold;”>one</span> other participant’s post</p>
      It is great to see our communities becoming more welcoming and accepting of different cultures and ethnic groups. At the beginning of the summer there was an event in Letterkenny called Party in the Park. This was run by Donegal Youth Services. This was an event that was a fun family event that ran from 12-6 PM. It showcased a lot of rising local talent and included children from all different back grounds. One of the acts was a group of children from Africa who preformed traditional dance, I was at the event with my own children are they were amazed by it and were asking where they could learn  to dance like that. I think events like this help communities mix and learn about each others cultures in a fun and friendly way. Donegal Youth Services provide and excellent service and support to all youth in out area.

      Within our schools we could have a similar day where we showcase different cultures through song and dance and allow all children to be proud of their back ground and heritage.

    • #200783
      Frances Walsh
      Participant

      I teach in a town in west county Limerick. An organisation that plays an important role in supporting refugees locally is ‘West Limerick Resources’. This organisation supports refugees across a number of areas – housing, healthcare, education.

      This year our school began our participation in the ‘Yellow Flag’ programme. This programme is about promoting diversity in school and celebrating all the different cultures in a school setting.  As a school community we link in with West Limerick Resources on a regular basis to provide support to the organisation in anyway possible. Likewise this organisation supports our endeavours in relation to the Yellow Flag.

      As well as this our school participates in charity fundraising events through out the school year. This year we raised money through non-uniform days for the Ukrainian Refugee Crisis and for the Red Cross.

      • #201018
        Eoghan O’Neill
        TeachNet Moderator

        Hi Frances,

        Thank you for your post. Having such a string connection with a local organisation doing such work can only be of huge benefit to your school. It really sounds like the relationship between both parties is having a positive impact on children’s experience in school. Recognising and celebrating diversity, as well as campaigning for inclusion and equality, is so important. The ‘Yellow Flag’ campaign is such a positive way of involving the whole school community in this and you should all be commended.

      • #202398
        Joanna Hughes
        Participant

        We have loved doing the yellow flag programme in our school and found it has added so positively to our school community and environment.

      • #201424
        Dervilla Ryan
        Participant

        Hi Frances,

        The yellow flag campaign sounds great, thank you for sharing this.

    • #200970
      Keelan Conway
      Participant

      In my school’s community, a welcome project was developed by the local parish in 2019. This project is an initiative which combines efforts from the Church of Ireland and also Catholic parishes to welcome and support refugee families arriving to Ireland for the first time.

      This project is largely based on fundraising in order to support families, however I would contact the organisers of the project to explore other avenues of support which could be provided for these families. I would offer a number of suggestions which could assist these families settling in to our community. Perhaps a coffee morning could be organised by the Parents Association of our school, whereby the parents and children of refugee families are invited to partake. This relaxed, informal atmosphere would allow the parents to make connections with other parents within the community, whilst the children would be enabled to meet and play with other children of their age within their new community.

      • #201505
        Dara Feiritéar
        Participant

        Hi Keenan,

        An informal coffee morning would be a great idea. It would be very relaxing and a good way to get people talking. It is often through talking in informal settings that we can discover a lot about people, their likes and dislikes and it also adds a personal touch.

      • #202812
        Kate Liston
        Participant

        I love this idea of an informal coffee morning for parents. Education starts in the home and breaking down barriers and connecting parents is what it’s all about. A coffee morning is a lively way to help welcome all newcomer parents to a school, be it refugees or otherwise, It would help to make people feel more connected to the school community.

    • #201416
      Dervilla Ryan
      Participant

      Research if there are any organisations working with refugees in your community. In the forum reflect on how your school and students could take action to support refugees or welcome them to the community (150 words min.) and comment on at least one other post.

      I live and work in South Dublin County which has become home to many refugees. There are many organisations working within the communities. The St Vincent de Paul, Foróige, Irish refugee council, Jesuit Refugee Service and Concern provide invaluable supposts in accommodations housing migrants, asylum seekers and refugees in Tallaght, Clondalkin and Citywest.
      Some other specific services I found during my research were:
      The Intercultural migrant drop in centre in Tallaght. It is a first point of contact and support for individuals and families from new communities moving into the Tallaght area. The centre provides a safe environment for people to meet. It supports them in making links with local organisations and services, and provides English language tuition to facilitate participation in Irish society.
      Tallaght Adult Education Service runs information sessions on English language courses and education and training options available in the local community.
      South Dublin CYPSC TAllaght: The South Dublin Community Response Forum provides information on local supports available to refugees and displaced persons living in South Dublin County. They also provide resources and information through social media.
      Shamrock Rovers lead a campaign which invites people in direct provision to their football games.
      Crosscare runs youth groups in their Round Towers centre.

      In our schools we can encourage our pupils to take action to support refugees by educating them through the series of lessons provided in this course. They can then take their own action through awareness campaigns and organising welcome events to help people to integrate into the community. Coffee mornings, fundraising drives, language exchanges, and clothes swaps where the whole community is involved are a great way to foster an environment of safeness, acceptance and inclusivity. Language can often be the biggest barrier so there are free language classes available in our school to students.

      • This reply was modified 6 months, 4 weeks ago by Dervilla Ryan.
    • #201504
      Dara Feiritéar
      Participant

      In my area their is the New Horizon group which help and support international protection applicants. They are voluntary, unpaid workers who are not in receipt of state funding. They are a fully registered charity.

      I think one of the first things that a school could do is to educate the school community on the situation that refugees find themselves in. While it may seem obvious from the msm, some people don’t realise that they leave their homeland with very little. When the devastating earthquake struck Pakistan in 2008, our school organised shoeboxes for the people of one of the villages that had been badly affected. These were organised by age, boys and girls and male and female adult. This was done through a parent in our school who worked for a charity in the region. An initiative like this would help refugees in our community to get the very basics. I think also extending the hand of friendship can be very welcoming, involving our friends in the local community through sport, music and culture.

      • #201509
        Eoghan O’Neill
        TeachNet Moderator

        Hi Dara,

        I think you’ve hit the nail on the head when it comes to providing adequate education in this area. I often see social media posts that show no awareness of what is actually happening or the struggles that these people are actually going through. As you have said, they can leave their homelands with little more than the bag on their back. The shoebox appeal you have described, in the wake of events in Pakistan in 2008, is a perfect example of small steps that can be taken to make the lives of refugees that little bit easier. If we can adequately educate the children in our schools about the reality of life for refugees, we would be taking a great step forward.

    • #201881
      Declan Hogan
      Participant

      Refugees are people who have been forced to flee their homes due to war, conflict, or persecution. A school and pupils can take action to support refugees and welcome them to the community by educating about refugees, volunteering, raising awareness, collecting donations, and being welcoming. You can also host cultural events, write letters to refugees, start a pen pal program, and advocate for refugees. By taking action, you can make a difference in the lives of refugees and help them to rebuild their lives.

      Here are some of the key points to consider:

      Some ways to support refugees include educating about refugees, volunteering, raising awareness, collecting donations, being welcoming, hosting cultural events, writing letters to refugees, starting a pen pal program, and advocating for refugees.
      By taking action, you can make a difference in the lives of refugees and help them to rebuild their lives.

    • #202315
      Maire Stokes
      Participant

      <p class=”MsoNormal”><span style=”font-family: ‘Comic Sans MS’;”>The small rural town I live in is, on the whole, an extremely welcoming place. I remember having our first involuntary migrants in our school some 20 years ago. They were welcomed & supported in our school in many ways & were encouraged to integrate into the community through joining sporting clubs. The G.A.A. club in particular helping with lifts to training & matches for those who were interested. This has continued in recent times with the arrival of more migrants be they be voluntary or involuntary & refugees. </span></p>
      <p style=”background: white; vertical-align: baseline; margin: 0cm 0cm 19.2pt 0cm;”><span style=”font-size: 11.0pt; font-family: ‘Comic Sans MS’; color: black; mso-color-alt: windowtext;”>At present we have refugee families living in our town, with just one Ukranian pupil attending our Boys’ school. Local organisations such as St. Vincent de Paul & Blayney Blades have assisted us as a school. This boy came to our school just before Easter 2022. He joined my 4<sup>th</sup> class. As a school community we made sure that relevant staff members met with his parents & the boy himself, a member of Blayney Blades<span style=”mso-spacerun: yes;”>  </span>& a translator. We wanted to welcome him & to explain that he would be safe & well looked after by us. In class using gestures, google translate & every other means possible we learned basic facts about Ukraine, found it on the map. We found out about this boy’s journey to Ireland, time line wise & route. He was very happy to partake in these lessons & I felt he was very proud hearing about his country in his new school. <span style=”mso-spacerun: yes;”> </span></span></p>
      <p style=”background: white; vertical-align: baseline; margin: 0cm 0cm 19.2pt 0cm;”><span style=”font-size: 11.0pt; font-family: ‘Comic Sans MS’; color: black; mso-color-alt: windowtext;”>In Co. Monaghan there are facebook groups Migrant Support Monaghan & Co. Monaghan Refugee Support Group Ltd. I only found out about these groups by reading my colleague’s post! </span></p>
      <p style=”background: white; vertical-align: baseline; margin: 0cm 0cm 19.2pt 0cm;”><span style=”font-size: 11.0pt; font-family: ‘Comic Sans MS’; mso-bidi-font-family: ‘Hind Madurai’; color: #163c42;”> </span></p>
      <p class=”MsoNormal” style=”box-sizing: inherit; outline: 0px; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; orphans: 2; widows: 2; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; text-decoration-thickness: initial; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial; word-spacing: 0px;”></p>
      <p class=”MsoNormal”></p>
      <p style=”background: white; vertical-align: baseline; margin: 0cm 0cm 19.2pt 0cm;”><span style=”font-size: 9.0pt; font-family: ‘Hind Madurai’; color: #163c42;”> </span></p>

    • #202396
      Joanna Hughes
      Participant

      I live in north Dublin city, and there are many different organisations working with asylum seeker and refugee children. The one that I found was the NCP youth project which organises teachers to provide homework support to children with English as an additional language in order to help them access the curriculum at home. I think this is an amazing initative, and one that could be replicated within my own community, as language and lack of parental support can be a block to a child achieving in education. For my own final year research project I investigated the blocks to asylum seeker children accessing education. Across the board parents, teachers and the students themselves cited language as a barrier.
      One thing I do feel though is that we should avoid having clubs that are only for asylum seeker/and refugee children as another barrier commonly cited by the children and parents I interviewed was difficulty integrating into the community, particularly those who are held in direct provision centres which may not be close to the school the children attend.
      To help integrate students, I like the idea of maybe establishing a buddy system, setting up lunchtime clubs to ensure they can attend and dont have to get a designated bus. Organising an intercultural day to allow their parents to take part and get involved in the school community if they wish to.

      • #203211
        Anderley Kooner
        Participant

        Hi Joanna,

        the NCP youth project sounds like a great resource to use. Language barriers with migrant families is an important hurdle to consider and support them with. It is very difficult to have effective home-school communication and working relationships without this type of support.

    • #202598
      Eleanor Curran
      Participant

      Our local hotel is housing refugees from the Ukraine, some of these people are working in the local hospitality industry… shops, coffee shops restaurants. Every Saturday morning there is a community cafe in the hotel where the refugees are living, people come together from all walks of light both from the Irish and Ukrainian community. Here they sample traditional pastries and bread etc. The local GAA club hosts camps for the Ukrainian children where they can learn and try our traditional sports with dance and music classes also available. In our school last year on the first Wednesday of every month we held a culture night where people from the community were invited to take part in music dancing singing etc. This was a huge success and I look forward to it continuing this year. All these groups are helping to foster a sense of community and togetherness in welcoming these people to our area.

    • #202681
      Ronan McGrath
      Participant

      Our local area has been very welcoming and accommodating to local immigrants over the years and have done a lot for Ukraine families looking to find help. At the moment, the local hotel is housing 40 families and many people have given up rooms in their homes and their own homes to help support these people. There are also a few holiday home parks in the area and people have offered up their places to help out. In addition, the local GAA club have been terrific in welcoming refugees into the community for many years. They are very encouraging in getting children and adults involved. They organise different events throughout the year to help show how welcome everyone is in our community. As teachers, we could follow this and try to really encourage any refugees in our schools to participate on school teams and encourage the parents to come in and help out at different events in the school, such as bake sales. In my school, we also work with UNICEF and try to raise money and goods that we can send over to places that are worse off then ourselves, this has been very rewarding to all the kids that take part as well.

    • #202688
      Barry Wall
      Participant

      A group in my locality that work directly with refugees and migrants are the North Tipperary Action for Ukraine group. They support refugees from the war in Ukraine who have settled in Tipperary. They collect donations of clothes, food, toys and other items for the refugees. They also organise events and activities to help them integrate into the local communities in the county. They provide assistance for more or less any issue that the refugees encounter. They also liaise with similar groups from neighbouring counties.

      I feel that as teachers that are working in Irish schools which are more diverse than ever that we have a fantastic opportunity to teach our children about why there are refugees in the world and the differences between refugees and regular migrants. The majority of children in my school come from migrant parents that moved with the expansion of the EU in 2004. We also have children which have fled from war torn regions. The Irish famine is taught throughout the senior cycle in our primary schools, teaching our children about how we were allowed enter the U.S.A., Canada, Britain and other nations seeking refuge. Teaching about the famine may help create linkage with the refugees of today.

       

      • #203213
        cristina bermudez
        Participant

        HI Barry,

         

        I think teaching our children about the famine is a very good opportunity to help children make connections with Ireland and our own history.

    • #202809
      Kate Liston
      Participant

      The local library in our town is supporting refugees through the Failte isteach initiative which helps refugees to develop their language skills through conversation classes. According to the fáilte isteach website they are currently oversubscribed for volunteer tutors which is very heartening to read. The town has has a refugee centre in it for at least the last 10 years and the local community, especially the schools, have been extremely welcoming to them. There has been a significant influx of Ukrainian refugees into the town since the war in Ukraine began, as the town is a seaside resort and has many local hotels. There have been a number of drives to support these families. The school put out a request for bikes for the children when they initially arrived and many local people donated bikes that their children had outgrown. Schools have been phenomenal in their support of these families up and down the county and the care that is shown to the children by other children in their class is a testament to both formal and informal SPHE that happens in schools.

    • #202922
      Danielle Phillips
      Participant

      I work in a DEIS school with a very diverse community with families from all around the world. There is an organisation called ‘the intercultural drop-in centre’ in the local village. It’s aim is to address the integration needs of migrants living in the area. It is a point of contact and support for families and individuals moving to the area. It provides a safe environment for people to meet and make links with local organisations. It offers english language tuition to encourage participants to get involved in society.

      In our school we have a newly appointed role of a designated home liaison officer who works directly with children and their families. This is a fantastic addition to our school and they are able to make the connection between these type of services and families in need. Also we could invite a member from this centre to come in and speak with staff/parents.

      • #203248
        Yvonne Newman
        Participant

        That is  avery good idea to have a speaker come into the school to speak . I would consider asking a speaker from Doras to come into our school and spoeak to the children at assembly and give us suggestions on how we as a school could help DORAS in helping them achieve their aims .

    • #203210
      Anderley Kooner
      Participant

      The Laois Integration Network is an organisation working voluntarily with refugees in my community. They are currently spending the most of their time and resources on helping Ukrainian refugees that have settled in Co. Laois having previously spent the majority of their focus on those in direct provision centres. One such way they have provided assistance to refugees is by establishing a “zero cost shop” for all Ukrainian nationals, not only does this provide essentials like food and clothing but it also provides an opportunity for refugees to speak with peers and make friendships.

      It is very important and fairly simple that we, as educators in our communities, ensure that the children we teach understand the differences between voluntary migrants and refugees especially in the diverse classrooms in which we teach.  Helping the children to understand other people and communities and the many reasons for migration will only aid in creating understanding and empathy for a future generation.

      • #203322
        Eoghan O’Neill
        TeachNet Moderator

        Hi Anderley,

        The work being carried out as part of the ‘zero cost shop’ sounds absolutely amazing. While it offers a fantastic service in terms of the provision of supplies, I’m sure the social aspect it offers may triumph this. Being able to meet those who are experiencing similar hardship and turmoil must provide some crumb of comfort to these people. As educators, we can highlight the benefits brought about by the work, and attempt to discuss what we can do as a school to complement the great work being done by organisations such as the Laois Integration Network.

      • #205843
        Ann-Marie Ronan
        Participant

        Hi Anderley,

        The ‘Zero Cost Shop’ sounds great! As you have mentioned, not only is it providing essentials, it is also providing opportunities for social interactions. Really a lovely idea!

    • #203212
      cristina bermudez
      Participant

      Hi, I live in a small rural town and there are no organizations set up to support refugee families but from a local level the community has completed some support. I know the women’s shed are and have been very proactive in supporting refugee families in helping them gain access to host families and they set up donations and clothes bank to support the few families. They have organised coffee mornings and supported mothers with young children to become part of our community.

      The women’s shed is just one aspect of the community that is amazing and supportive of the needs of the community.

      within the school that I work in, we have supported families and the children that attend our school. From a curriculum perspective, we have incorporated the learning to help raise awareness and empathy among the students. last year a parent came in with her child and went around the classrooms to read a lovely story I cannot remember the book but the children were very respectful and had lots of questions to ask.

      • #203536
        Sinead Moore
        Participant

        I love to hear some localities have a women’s shed, in my locality we have a men’s shed but I am interested in getting a women’s shed going. Its a great way for people to connect and gain a sense of belonging in the community.

    • #203247
      Yvonne Newman
      Participant

      Doras Luimni is an independent non-profit organisation, working to support and promote the human rights of asylum seekers, refugees and migrants in Limerick and the wider Mid-West region. It was founded by a small group of dedicated volunteers in the year 2000, in response to the establishment of the Direct Provision system by the Irish government. The name Doras was chosen to symbolise an open door, welcoming new communities to Limerick and Ireland, and as an acronym for Development Organisation for Refugees and Asylum Seekers.
      As a school the first thing we could do is to debunk the myths and lies about refugees by showing Rania’s video at a whole school assembly . The lesson plans from ‘Plan International Ireland’ could be taught to 5th & 6th class through Geography time . Stories about the famine ‘Under the Hawthorn Tree’ and songs ‘Ellis Island’ and ‘Isle of hope,Isle of Tears ‘ could be taught to develop empathy in pupils that Ireland once was a country that people had to leave and irish people were refugees in America , Australia and the UK.
      A collection point could be made in the school where unwanted smartphones , unwanted birthday gifts , unwanted Christmas gifts could be gathered and given to Doras . Each year the school organises a shoebox appeal for children in Chernobyl but this year the shoeboxes could be given to Doras for children seeking asylum in the Limerick area . The parents council and student council could organise a Welcome coffee morning in the school gym where the school choir and school band could provide entertainment . 6th class pupils could provide English language classes . I also liked the idea of donating unwanted musical instruments to the refugees waiting at the Port of Calais

    • #203337
      Shona Barrett
      Participant

      There are a number of organisations in my area working with refugees including the Irish Red Cross, Crosscare, Plan as well as MASI which is an independent platform for asylum seekers.

      I believe that is very important in school to educate children in terms of people seeking refuge and the important role that we play in it. The school that I teach in has over 80% non-nationals with a number of children who are refugees. I think that it would be an excellent idea to invite a guest speaker, possibly from one of the organisations mentioned above, into the school to share real information and help educate our students about the experiences and challenges faced by refugees. I feel that this would break down any stigma or pre-conceived idea surrounding the stereotypes of refugees both in Ireland and around the world and it would aid in welcoming refugees into the community.

      I think that it would also be a great idea to invest in texts and resources that emphasise the plight of refugees and that would help the children to realise that children who are fleeing a different country are no different to them or any of their friends. I also think that hearing a first hand experience of someone who has gone through the process, if they obliged and were comfortable with this, would be an excellent way of connecting the lived experiences of all children in the class.

       

       

      • #203395
        Eoghan O’Neill
        TeachNet Moderator

        Hi Shona,

        Thanks for your post – you are correct to point out the importance of educating children around the need to support migrant and refugee children. You are teaching in quite a unique context, but I’m sure the diversity of your school community offers many valuable learning experiences. Inviting in guest speakers, or partnering with other local schools of different contexts, could be a very useful endeavour. The use of picture books can be a very powerful tool for exploring themes like this – ensuring adequate investment in school resources like this is a key initial step.

    • #203435
      Niall Fitzgibbon
      Participant

      Although there are many organisations in Dublin providing support and assisting refugees, I found it difficult to find any working specifically in my local community.

      I know many of the local sports clubs have come together to support migrant communities such as local GAA clubs, soccer clubs and Athletics clubs. A local running club organised a collection of running shoes for sanctuary runners. This enables Irish residents to run alongside and in solidarity with asylum seekers and refugees in Direct Priovision bring greater awareness to the migration system.

      Personally, I am a keen Glasgow Celtic supporter. Every Christmas our local supporters club runs a collection drive where presents are bought for children in Direct Provision. They also organise trips over to see games through the Kano foundation. I believe this is something that our school community could get involved in to support refugees. The school could hold fundraising events or donation drives to collect essential items for refugees.

      • #203471
        Eoghan O’Neill
        TeachNet Moderator

        Hi Niall,

        The work being done by sporting organisations in communities across the country is amazing, and often taking place ‘under the radar’, as such. The collection of running shoes in your local athletics club is an example of this. I have heard of a nearby GAA club organising the collection of old helmets and hurls for refugee children, while my own club has offered free access to Easter and summer camps. Sport is a great way for these children to assimilate into their new communities, forge friendships, develop language and have fun at the same time. The work being done by your Celtic supporters club is brilliant, and a testament to the kindness and generosity of those involved.

    • #203534
      Sinead Moore
      Participant

      Having researched my area, I discovered there are no organisations that specifically to work with refugees. However, many schools in my locality welcomed Ukrainian refugees into their schools and the local community. My own school welcomed 24 students from the Ukraine. I found this experience was enriching for all involved as it brough the whole community together, the majority of locals loved getting involved in organising a clothes collection, second hand school uniforms and supplies such as toys and books.

      Some additional ways to support refugees within the school community that my school is enforcing and all schools can are;

      • Raise awareness: We could organise awareness campaigns or events to educate students about the refugee crisis, the challenges faced by refugees, and the importance of welcoming them. Guest speakers can be a nice way to achieve this.

      • Fundraising and donations: The school can hold fundraising events within the local community to raise money for essential resources from basics like food, toiletries

      • Language support: Students can volunteer as language tutors or conversation partners to support refugees who have joined the school.

      • Link in with community organisations and local authorities: Partner with local refugee support groups such as GOAL, The Irish Red Cross and the local County Council. They can provide valuable resources and support for both our school and the refugees.

       

    • #203560
      Caroline Walsh
      Participant

      Our local Adult Education Service provides language support to eligible adults for whom English is not their first language. These courses are available to people with refugee status, asylum seekers and migrant workers.

      I would discuss with the children that some refugees may not speak our language and we may not speak their language so how will we communicate? It will be interesting to see the ideas the creative ideas the children have with this. It could lead to a exploration of language phrases that we could learn to help with this or what language phrases would be helpful in a school situation and create a ‘school phrase book’ with different languages.

      We could make an audio book with help from volunteers who natively speak each phrase and have other classes learn the phrases also.

      We could brainstorm what local area information would be important to someone new to the area and create a help guide with bus stop locations, bus times, shop locations, shop opening hours, doctors location and phone number, playground location, things to do etc.

      I think holding a poster competition in the class with the title ‘(Placename Welcomes Everyone’ might be a nice idea. We could send some of these to the local newspaper with permission to see if they could get published.

      The children would also come up with some really good ideas too of how to make people new to the area welcome.

    • #203681
      Darragh Greene
      Participant

      Schools and students can play a crucial role in supporting refugees and helping them integrate into their new communities. Schools can provide language classes and cultural orientation programs to help refugees adapt to their new environment. Older students can volunteer as mentors or tutors, offering academic and emotional support to refugee peers. Organizing cultural exchange events and workshops can foster understanding and friendship among different backgrounds. In my School we celebrate all the different Nctionalities by inviting the entire school community in usually late november, where the pupils and parents get to sample foods, see national dress and discuss history, education and sports etc in those countries.

      • #203743
        Eoghan O’Neill
        TeachNet Moderator

        Hi Darragh,

        I agree with you in terms of the role schools can play in supporting migrant and refugee children. It is very often schools that provide the stability and care that allows these children to settle and prosper. Like so many other schools, you speak of events that celebrate the diversity and different nationalities within the school. This is such a powerful way to show inclusivity and really helps to promote a positive school climate and atmosphere.

    • #203764
      Peter Gillooly
      Participant

      I have found no particular organisations that work closely with my school however I am aware of multiple hostels and hotels in the area that are working closely with some of the refugees. I am also aware of a number of local businesses and centres that do volunteer work with these refugees and they take part in a number of activities with them.

      In relation to things that we can do in the school to include the refugees and make people more aware of them could be as follows;

      • Create local campaigns and fundraisers to help these people.
      • Teach about refugees in our local communities and spread awareness around who they are and why they have had to move.
      • Cultural days and or lessons
      • Get them involved with local iniatives- for example, the GAA.
      • Language involvement- Help them to learn English.
      • Be welcoming- One of the biggest things that can be done in the schools is to create a wonderful, learning and welcoming environment for the children to be apart of.
    • #203830
      Pauline Cahill
      Participant

      In Galway, there are multiple agencies supporting refugees. They include:

      -Galway Refugee Support Group (GRSG) – Full time community development organization working with social, cultural information and health projects.

      -Refugee Information Service (RIS) – Free confidential specialist information, advocacy and referral service for refugees and asylum seekers.

      -Support Project for Adolescent Refugee Kids (SPARK) – Project for 12-18 year old refugees and asylum seekers, including unaccompanied minors, living in Galway city, providing information, social activities, individual, group and family work support.

      -Intercultural Focus Group – Provides supports for families of minority groups in Galway, to enable greater integration and access to childcare services.

      (Source: New Horizon Athlone)

       

      Our school has welcomed refugees from different countries over the years. The children are encouraged to welcome and support new children. In the younger classes, the children are always very accepting of new children and they integrate very well into the classes. In the older classes, the children are more aware of what is happening in the world and may have some information on what is occurring in various countries. However, it can be important to have a discussion with the classes beforehand to clarify what is actually happening and why the children have been forced to relocate. The lessons provided in the Plan International Teacher Handbook provide a good starting point. I have seen children in my class help others by ensuring that they have someone to play with and assisting them with books and the activities in the class when there is a language barrier. Allowing the children to share information or activities from their own country can also help in settling in, although they may need some time before they are comfortable to do so.

      As well as welcoming refugees to the schools themselves, schools can also provide links to local GAA clubs, arts clubs, athletic clubs etc. which all provide excellent opportunities for people to get to know others who live in the local area. The sharing of skills can also help in settling in such as assisting in learning English or continuing music lessons that they might have previously started.

       

    • #203890
      Aoife Dorrian
      Participant

      Unfortunately, there are no organisations very close to my school. However, there are some that are not too far away. We have not worked with any of these organisations before. However, I do think it would be great to get in contact with some of these organisations next year so that the children can learn about and understand the amazing work they do. It would be great to get a guest speaker from one of these organisations into the classroom. The children could research all about the organisation first. Then, in groups they could make a list of questions they wanted to ask the speaker. It would provide a much more engaging and meaningful lesson for the children if they knew someone who worked with the organisation would be coming into the school.

      Some organisations that I found from my research that help refugees are:

      1. Crosscare Information and Advocacy Services.

      2. Irish Refugee Council.

      3. IASIO (Irish Association for Social Inclusion Opportunities.

    • #204137
      Michelle Ryan
      Participant

      Our local sports club started an initiative to help Ukrainian refugees this year.

      They helped pool resources and gathered a huge support for the refugees in our local community. Volunteers helped to provide emergency supports such as bedding, towels, clothes and 3 meals per day. They also offer advice and linkage on medical issues and social supports. The community centre became a Ukrainian centre where refugees could meet with others in the community.

      Our school welcomed students from Ukraine this year and supports such as English classes were set up to improve language skills.

      We completed projects on Ukraine and explored different types of sports, music and traditions which were popular in Ukraine so the children had conversation starters to get to know the new children. It is important to respect diversity in the classroom and ensure each child’s culture is explored and cherished in the classroom.

      • #205844
        Anna O’Gara
        Participant

        I really like the idea of completing projects on UKraine/ other countries so that current pupils in the school are able to talk to incoming new students about their country/ heritage and culture.

        Another great way to help refugees feel welcomed/ included is to teach your class some words of their language and to have pieces of their language represented on the walls of the classroom.

      • #206689
        Patrycja Mazurczak
        Participant

        I love the ideas you have mentioned above. Schools play such a vital role in supporting migrants and refugee children and it is lovely to see so many schools welcoming them. Schools can provide stability and care to those children and allows them to settle.

    • #204252
      Éadaoin Garrigan
      Participant

      There is an organisation in our community working to support those who have been displaced in Ukraine. It was established by a couple of local people at the start of the conflict who decided to try and assist those in Ukraine and also those who have come from Ukraine to Ireland in any way they could. They managed to gain use of a vacant premises next to a number of shops and used this as a collection point. They then liaised with aid organisations in Ukraine to determine what was required in terms of provisions and they then used social media to request that people donated these items. They were then sent by truck to Ukraine and also distributed to refugees in the local area. Over a year and a half later they are still continuing their work. In school we have discussed this group and their importance and have also held our own collections to assist their work.

      • #205427
        Sarah Coughlan
        Participant

        Hi Eadaoin,

        Its great to hear how your school are raising such awareness and education to students.

    • #204365
      Darragh Greene
      Participant

      .

    • #204655

      In my area we do not have an organisation that specifically works with refugees. Last year we warmly welcomed over 200 refugees into our local community. It was amazing to see the whole community gather together  to create a welcoming environment for migrants. Two local hotels were repurposed into accommodation for the refugees. Local groups like the GAA have been fantastic as they have given the refugee families the opportunity to become integrated and immersed in the local community and culture.

      Our school also recently welcomed 30 Ukranians refugees into our school . Our goal was to make the children from refugee families feel welcome into our school community  and feel safe in it.

    • #205265
      Jamie Owens
      Participant

      From researching this topic of my area I actually had no idea how many clubs got involved in supporting refugees in the area. Having worked abroad for many years I may have missed when all these clubs were starting the fundraising and support. It’s been so nice to read how the local tennis club, shops, schools and Gaa club all got involved in supporting. It really does give you a great sense of pride about your local community and how such amazing things can be achieved once a community pulls together.

      In saying that my school at present doesn’t have anything organised to support refugees. In saying that I would say 90% of the children are involved in GAA and it is something that they may have helped or supported without even realising. I feel as a school it’s important to educate children on refugees and give them the tools needed on how they could support them when they join the school. Let them decide what they think the challenges( language barrier, shyness) for the children joining might be and how they could help them with these challenges.

      I find it very interesting reading over the posts on what some schools have done and its so great to see them being supported.

      • #205298
        Eoghan O’Neill
        TeachNet Moderator

        Hi Jamie,

        I’m sure that many people on this forum have also had a similar experience. It is truly amazing to see and hear the work that is going on to help people settle in communities up and down the country. Very often, this work is done outside of the public eye, and without the desire for credit on the part of the volunteer organisations. Providing a degree of education around the plight of refugees and what constitutes being a refugee is hugely important in schools. Greater awareness and education around the plight of refugees will develop a deeper sense of empathy among the students.

      • #207321
        Sarah Farrell
        Participant

        Jamie makes some great points about allowing the children autonomy in their understanding of challenges and barriers with regards to children being included. This allows to engage with their peers from other backgrounds and emphasises the need for empathy

    • #205331

       
      <div class=”bbp-reply-author” style=”box-sizing: inherit; float: left; text-align: center; width: 115px; color: #163c42; font-family: ‘Hind Madurai’, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;”><span class=”bbp-author-name” style=”box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px 12px; overflow-wrap: break-word; display: block; clear: left;”>BRÍD-SÍLE Ní Fhlatharta</span>
      <div class=”bbp-author-role” style=”box-sizing: inherit; font-size: 11px; font-style: italic;”>Participant</div>
      </div>
      <div class=”bbp-reply-content” style=”box-sizing: inherit; margin-left: 130px; padding: 12px 12px 12px 0px; position: relative; color: #163c42; font-family: ‘Hind Madurai’, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;”>
      <p style=”box-sizing: inherit; border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-weight: inherit; margin: 0px 0px 1.6em; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; vertical-align: baseline;”>In my area we do not have an organisation that specifically works with refugees. Last year we warmly welcomed over 200 refugees into our local community. It was amazing to see the whole community gather together  to create a welcoming environment for migrants. Two local hotels were repurposed into accommodation for the refugees. Local groups like the GAA have been fantastic as they have given the refugee families the opportunity to become integrated and immersed in the local community and culture.</p>
      <p style=”box-sizing: inherit; border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-weight: inherit; margin: 0px 0px 1.6em; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; vertical-align: baseline;”>Our school also recently welcomed 30 Ukranians refugees into our school . Our goal was to make the children from refugee families feel welcome into our school community  and feel safe in it. This experience has been enriching for the students and teachers in our school. It has been heartwarming to see how welcoming and caring the children in the school have been towards their new friends.</p>

      </div>

    • #205413
      Sarah Coughlan
      Participant

      After researching for organisations that work with refugees in my community I came across quite a few that I was unaware of. The local GAA and soccer club got involved with supporting refugees by doing a clothes collection. The community have also organised coffee mornings, bake sales etc.

      I am unaware if my school currently has anything organised for refugees as I am only returning this year after a few years abroad. I think it is very important to educate children on refugees and how to welcome, support them and make them feel safe should they join our school at any time of the year. It would be great to organise for a guest speaker to visit the school and give a talk to the students about the war in Ukraine and how we as a country and community are willing to offer our support in any way we can.

      Another way in which our school could take action would be to hold a fundraiser to raise much needed funds to support the refugees.

    • #205842
      Anna O’Gara
      Participant

      <span style=”color: #163c42; font-family: ‘Hind Madurai’, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;”>The Irish Red Cross supports refuges in our local community. One of the aims of the Irish Red Cross is to help refugees integrate into Irish society. Students and schools can take action to support refugees by participating in national refugee day which takes place in June each year.</span>

      <span style=”color: #163c42; font-family: ‘Hind Madurai’, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;”>An organisation was also formed in the local community to welcome Ukrainian refugees into the community. They helped pool resources and gathered a huge support for the refugees in our local community. Volunteers helped to provide emergency supports such as bedding, towels, clothes and 3 meals per day.</span>

      <span style=”color: #163c42; font-family: ‘Hind Madurai’, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;”>As well as welcoming refugees to the schools themselves, schools can also provide links to local organisations such as art clubs, flower clubs, athletics, GAA  clubs. This would provide refugees with plenty of opportunities for people to get to know others who live in the local area. The sharing of skills can also help in settling in such as assisting in learning English or continuing music lessons that they might have previously started.</span>

    • #205857
      Ann-Marie Ronan
      Participant

       

      The local GAA clubs have supported refugees in numerous of ways. They have had to date; coffee mornings, clothes collections, food collections and monetary donations to purchase necessary essentials.

      Many people came together in our local village to set up a ‘Shop’. In this shop, items were new or in near mint condition. Refugees were welcomed to chose items from the ‘Shop’. The only difference between this ‘Shop’ and a regular one, was there were no tills at the end!

      In our school, we have many Ukrainian children now attending. The school, staff and children went above and beyond to ensure these children felt welcomed. For children to provide support, I find it is important that they have a knowledge and understanding as to why we are providing this support, who we are providing it to, what are we providing etc.  Knowledge is key. There are many ways children can be educated and many resources have been provided throughout this module. DevelopmentEducation.ie has compiled a list of resources.

       

      • #206040
        Niamh Flannery
        Participant

        the idea of setting up a ‘shop’ is  a super way of allowing refugees to pick items that suited them. really good idea

      • #206509
        Vivienne Doyle
        Participant

        Hi Ann Maire –

        I love this idea. It would be a brilliant resource for the people who may require this service.I think a senior class could really work together to organise this and engage with the local community in the process.

      • #207376
        John Merrins
        Participant

        Great idea getting the local G.A.A. club involved this in turn may result in some children who have moved to the area becoming involved in the club allowing them to make new friends and ease the transition to a new area.

    • #206024
      Niamh Flannery
      Participant

      Since 2017 we have an Emergency Reception Orientation centre in our town. This EROC centre is home to war torn Syrian refugees. The local community are very welcoming and offer great supports including local business sponsorships, GAA clubs, Soccer clubs and other organisations. As these children are integrated into the local schools there is still a stigma associated. I think an excellent way of promoting inclusion would be if the school held a coffee morning and encouraged all parents to attend. This would give the adults time to interact with each other and chat while the children were let play together. Children don’t see difference unless it is pointed out so it is vital that adults model how to show respect and equality to others.

    • #206508
      Vivienne Doyle
      Participant

      In Cork, there are a lot of organizations working with refugees. One that really struck me was The Fermoy for All group. This group opened its welcoming arms to refugees and began including these refugees in their local clubs, Tidy Towns and many more. They are leading example and are providing a useful blueprint for communities nationally that want to help refugees and asylum seekers arriving in their towns.
      In my school’s community, we recently became a school of sanctuary. Becoming a school of Sanctuary means welcoming refugees into the school, helping families and children feel safe and ensuring that every child in the school can say and believe that they belong.
      The school and students should take action to support refugees and welcome them to the community as Ireland is becoming increasingly culturally and ethnically diverse. We believe that our students’ backgrounds are something which should be showcased and celebrated. During this process the school had to adopt three key principles. The three principles are:
      Learn: What it means to be seeking sanctuary; this may include hearing refugees describe their experiences first hand Action: Decide on actions that are needed in the school to help develop a culture of welcome and inclusion and: Share our findings with the wider community and other schools.
      One action that was decided on was a project that was developed by the school in 2021.This project is an initiative which combines efforts from the school, staff members, each student and some famous past pupils to welcome and support refugee families arriving to the school and to the community. We used a blank wall by the entrance of the school and each student got to paint their hand and place this on the wall. This project is largely based on developing the sense of belonging to the school community and every student being seen as a equal. Teachers can use the I belong document within the classroom.
      I hope in the coming school year this would include parents. It is important to explore other avenues of support which could be provided for these families, for example a coffee morning could be organised by the Parents Association of our school, whereby the parents and children of refugee families are invited to partake. The school could look into English lessons for the parents to support their child’s learning.

      • #206611
        Deirdre Maye
        TeachNet Moderator

        Hi Vivienne,

        Thank you for your reply.

        It has been really heartwarming seeing the welcome  that many new families have received in local communities. It really shows the best of humanity when people rally around to support in this regard.

        As a school of sanctuary you are providing a a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment for all students.

         

      • #207101
        Lorraine Cleary
        Participant

        Hi Vivienne.
        I really admire the initiative and efforts of your school within this community program. Even the term “School of Sanctuary” would make the current students feel proud and the newcomers feel warmth and welcome. You have taken great strides at inclusion and are an excellent example to us of actions we could take moving forward.

        Thank you

    • #206681
      Patrycja Mazurczak
      Participant

      After completing research on organisations that work with refugees in my community I came across quite a few that I was unaware of prior to completing this research. For example, an organisation I came across that do amazing work are a local group who work with Fáilte. This group provides a voucher system which allows refugees to purchase clothing, organises a coffee morning during which refugees can meet and connect with other people and provides training and support to new volunteers amongst other things.
      <p class=”p1″ style=”margin: 0px; font-stretch: normal; font-size: 17px; line-height: normal; font-size-adjust: none; font-kerning: auto; font-variant-alternates: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-position: normal; font-feature-settings: normal; font-optical-sizing: auto; font-variation-settings: normal; caret-color: #000000; color: #000000; -webkit-text-size-adjust: auto;”><span class=”s1″ style=”font-family: UICTFontTextStyleBody;”>I think it would be great to get in contact with some of these local organisations so that the children can learn about and understand the amazing work that they do. Children could learn about this work through a guest speaker or by doing research projects based on local organisations. As well as that, schools could provide links to children and their families to local clubs eg GAA, athletics, dance etc, which would allow refugees and local people to connect. This would also provide help with language learning. The possibilities for schools and children to get involved are endless.</span></p>
       

    • #207119
      Lorraine Cleary
      Participant

      <p class=”MsoNormal”><span style=”font-family: ‘Georgia’,serif; color: #333333; background: white;”>In our community we have worked with the Irish Red Cross. The Irish Red Cross work</span><span style=”font-family: ‘Georgia’,serif; mso-bidi-font-family: Helvetica; color: #464b4e; background: white;”><span style=”font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; widows: 2; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; text-decoration-thickness: initial; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial; word-spacing: 0px;”>s to enable refugees in Ireland to integrate into Irish society and achieve their potential. Some of the ways they do this are through enabling and assisting with private pledges of accommodation, while providing a wraparound service such as engagement with schools, jobs, health services and counselling. </span></span></p>
      In conjunction with the Red Cross, Community Sponsorship Ireland program, several parents in our school opened their homes to families providing accommodation for refugees from the war in Ukraine. Our school welcomed Ukrainian children of all ages and worked diligently to provide support, counselling, friendship, safety and of course education. Our Parent Teachers Association in conjunction with the school organised collections of clothes, toys, food packages, books. We held coffee mornings to raise money for their ongoing support and also to introduce our new families to the rest of the school community.

      However I do feel, this past year we have been lax in our actions and that we need to rejuvenate our efforts. I will encourage our staff to use the lessons included in this module to refresh childrens education in these areas and encourage classes/school to see what actions we can take to ensure continuity of support. I would like to invite an Irish Refugee Council speaker to give talks in our school. I’ve requested more information about the Irish Red Cross Youth to see how we can promote it within our school. Hopefully we will make more of an impact this year.

    • #207329
      Sarah Farrell
      Participant

      It is vitally important for schools to introduce the topic of refugees and migration to the school and its pupils. Inside the classroom, there are many opportunities to engage with the topic and it would be very beneficial to engage in projects to discuss how best to welcome potential refugees to the class. A very simple way would be to compare Ireland to the child’s home country with regards to food, culture, dress etc. On a school level, apart from raising funds through different activities, I feel like posters, presentations and awareness of refugees and migration is a very important step to engage the school community. Of course, there is no better way to empathise with refugees and their situation they find themselves in, other than to invite them in to speak in fron tof the school. It would also allow children to ask questions that they would feel important. As mentioned by others, groups like the Irish refugee council are available to invite guest speakers to school to raise awareness.

    • #207375
      John Merrins
      Participant

      Kildare integration network are my most local organisation working with refugees within my local community. I teach within this area also; I feel there are many opportunities for us as a whole school community to link with this organisation and help people who are using this network. I feel the first step which should be taken would be to ask a guest speaker from this organisation alongside someone who is getting support from the organization to come and speak to some of the older classes within the school. the site where many are seeking refuge is clear to be seen within the town however, I feel many students don’t have a clear understanding of the terms associated with the integration network. I personally feel this would be a big step in breaking barriers and allowing those who move into the area become more involved in community life in turn allowing children to settle quicker in the area by getting involved in clubs and societies. Finally, we as a 6th class group we regularly organise cake sales to fund different events or donate to local charities, we could organise a bake sale and donate the funds to the integration network to aid their work.

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