Ministers of State Catherine Byrne and David Stanton launched the HSE’s National Intercultural Health Strategy 2018 – 2023 and celebrated the achievements of JRS Ireland’s Fáilte Project. The strategy seeks to address the health needs experienced by persons from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds who live in Ireland. The Ministers jointly launched the Intercultural Health Strategy for the next five years, in January 2019.
Representatives of the Jesuit Refugee Service Ireland also attended the launch where JRS Ireland’s Fáilte Project was recognised as a model of good practice for supporting and enhancing the mental health and wellbeing of asylum seekers. Since 2017, the project has benefited over 1,000 individuals in the Balseskin Reception Centre through the provision of psychosocial services, education and training opportunities and the running of integration initiatives.
Speaking at the launch, Fatima Mofokeng (see photo), a beneficiary of the Fáilte Project explained to attendees; “When I first arrived to Ireland, I did not know what to expect or how I would be received. The Fáilte Project helped me to feel like this was home and that I was welcome here.”
Funded by the HSE National Social Inclusion Office, the Fáilte Project is an example of how to progress one of the 5 key goals of the new strategy, namely to strengthen working in partnership in order to enhance intercultural health. Áine Lambe, JRS Ireland’s Intercultural Project Worker told Irish Jesuit News, “The collaborative nature of the project has enabled JRS to draw on the resources of local community groups, NGOs, statutory agencies and asylum seekers themselves to deliver a diverse range of activities and supports.”
Ms. Mofokeng concluded concluded her address to those gathered for the launch by saying that “The Fáilte Project was the beginning of my story in Ireland but I am now hopeful for my future here.”