Asylum seekers enjoy JRS summer activities
For the first time in two years, the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Ireland Summer Programme was run during July and August 2022 with the aim of improving the physical and mental well-being of children seeking asylum in Ireland. It offers opportunities for children in Direct Provision to participate in sports, educational and other recreational activities during their school holidays.
Emer Connor, JRS Projects Officer, reports on the programme: “It was run despite a very challenging context with a huge increase in the number of international protection applicants arriving and an associated accommodation crisis. JRS Ireland directly delivered an exciting Summer Programme of activities over six weeks – with more than 300 children and parents living in Direct Provision and Emergency Accommodation centres in Dublin and the Midwest participating in activities and trips.”
Weeks were action packed and involved: Kayaking along the Strawberry Beds with Canoe Ireland; making summer wreaths and beachcombing at Bull Island with Flossie and the Beach Cleaners; meeting furry friends at St. Anne’s City Farm; sampling edible flowers and digging up potatoes at the Rediscovery Centre; exploring archery, building woodland shelters and roasting marshmallows in Turvey Nature Reserve; conquering fears at Dún Laoghaire West Pier; and the science of making slime!
A series of beach trips for families living in Emergency Accommodation also featured in this year’s programme with over two hundred children and adults enjoying miraculously sunny days at Portmarnock Strand. JRS Ireland were also delighted to support a trip for over forty children and their guardians to Tayto Park from the Slaney Court centre in Baltinglass, Wicklow.
In Dublin, JRS Ireland were kindly assisted by volunteers Naima Forde, Phoebe Moore, Maryrose O’ Connor and Molly Callan Cassidy and would like to thank the wonderful staff and volunteers at Canoe Ireland; the Rediscovery Centre; Flossie and the Beach Cleaners; St Anne’s City Farm; The Children’s Nature Charity (OWLS); Junior Einstein’s Science Club; MaSamba Samba School; Moontour; the Dublin Gaeltacht experience; and dance teacher Taylor Mooney.
In Clare, JRS Ireland supported a series of summer activities and trips for 48 children and 20 parents in Knockalisheen Accommodation Centre. This included day trips to Lahinch, Fota Wildlife Park and a weekly calendar of activities including bowling, swimming, playtime, fun day and barbeque. A day trip to the Aran Islands was organised for a group of 22 adult residents.
Also, JRS Ireland funded the delivery of a total 230 camp opportunities for migrant young people from across Limerick, with the majority of participants forcibly displaced children from Ukraine. The camp opportunities facilitated by Limerick Sports Partnership included: Kayaking – Limerick City; Mountain Biking – Kilfinnane; 3 Day LSP/FAI Soccer Camp – Shelbourne Park; Climbing Wall – UL Sport Arena; and Adventure Multi Sport Camps – UL.
Across all 2022 JRS Summer Programme activities directly delivered or sponsored, more than 500 forcibly displaced young people and adults benefited. JRS Ireland would like to acknowledge the generosity of many in funding this year’s summer programme of activities, including the Irish Jesuit Province, Dublin City Council, CDYSB, Fingal County Council and donors supporting JRS’s work with Ukrainian refugees.