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Summer Programme for migrant children

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This summer the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Ireland offered an exciting four-week Summer Programme of activities for children and teenagers living in four direct-provision centres in Dublin. During the month of July, the children… experienced the African Savannah at Dublin Zoo, advanced through Dublin on the Viking Splash Tour (complete with Viking helmets!), and discovered the Secret Garden at Glenroe Farm. Everyone got to hold a guinea pig and pet a lamb… and a deer… and a Jersey Cow! At the cinema, they enjoyed Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, and cheered on Manny the Mammoth in Ice Age 4.

Children were welcomed to craft days held alternatively in the JRS Ireland Office (Gardiner Street) and onsite in direct-provision centres, where they made personalised cards and a variety of masks decorated with crepe paper, glitter pens, stickers, and markers. The talented Interns assisted with requests for Spiderman masks and jewelled crowns and royal (crepe paper) capes for the Princes and Princesses in attendance!

On Fridays, teenagers living in direct provision went on trips in Dublin and Wicklow. They climbed Bray Head in mixed weather and saw a helicopter take off from the hill, preparing for the Bray Air Show the following day. They enjoyed lunch at a seafront restaurant and admired the view from the DART on the way back to Dublin. We saw Spiderman in 3D at the cinema in O’Connell Street. The last event planned for the teens was a cultural excursion to the Gate Theatre to see an afternoon performance of “A Woman of No Importance” by Oscar Wilde.

JRS Staff Kate Putney and Marta Hernandez were ably assisted by an international group of JRS Summer Programme Interns including; Haley Rademacher, a college student majoring in African Studies from the United States; Jonathan Molony, an Intern with the Limerick Integration Working Group from Co. Clare; and Radosław Borawski and Jacek Domanski, Jesuit scholastics from Poland.

Kate Putney, JRS Communications and Projects Officer, said: “The JRS Summer Programme 2012 aimed to improve the physical and mental well-being of the children of asylum seekers residing in direct-provision centres in Dublin by providing opportunities to participate in sports, educational and other recreational activities during their school holidays.”

The JRS Summer Programme 2012 was generously supported by Dublin City Council, CDYSB, IMPACT Joe Lucey Fund, CYC, and the Irish Jesuit Province.