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Community Links project achieves goals

Ruth Diaz Ufano (centre) co-ordinating a Community Links projectJesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Ireland is holding an event this Thusday to mark a successful end to the work of the Community Links project over the last five years. Initially created in 2002 as a JRS response to the needs of refugee and migrant families arriving in Dublin’s inner city, an external evaluation concluded that the project had, in fact, achieved many of the aims for which it was established. JRS will continue the work of integration for immigrants and asylum seekers through other projects, and is organising the event to thank the Community Links staff and volunteers.

Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Ireland is holding an event this Thursday, May 15th, to celebrate the work of Community Links over the last five years. Established in 2002 as a project of JRS, Community Links sought to respond to the needs of refugee and migrant families living in Dublin’s inner city. The overall purpose of the project was to promote the integration of newly arrived communities and to help them become part of the local community.

Changes in the needs and location of the target group of beneficiaries in addition to changes in the European Refugee Fund funding regime prompted a specific review of the work of Community Links earlier this year. An external evaluation conducted as part of this review concluded, “The work of Community Links has been effective, efficient, relevant and has had a positive impact on the beneficiaries and the community at large”. However, the evaluation also highlighted that Community Links had achieved many of the aims for which it was established. Thus, it was decided Community Links will finish at the end of May 2008.

Nevertheless, JRS Ireland remains committed to working for integration in the areas of education (School Integration Programme), employment (Information Service on Employment Rights), and intercultural dialogue (Intercultural and Interfaith Resources). JRS Ireland aims to expand its services to asylum seekers in Direct Provision centres including: one-to-one English language classes; personal development and confidence building activities; and individual outreach and psychosocial support services. JRS Ireland will also continue its services in the area of immigrant detention. JRS Ireland will continue to advocate for the rights of asylum seekers and migrant workers, for a fair and transparent asylum process and for a just and socially inclusive society for all persons residing on the island.

JRS Ireland would like to acknowledge the excellent work carried out by the Community Links staff and volunteers for and with the many project beneficiaries over the past five years. In particular, JRS Ireland would like to express our deep appreciation to Ruth Diaz Ufano, Community Links Project Coordinator, for her dedication, skill and dilligence in developing and overseeing the activities and services of Community Links over the past three years.