In recent years, a growing collective of UCC staff and students have been developing connections with people living in Direct Provision locally. Some of these members are affiliated with Anti-Deportation Ireland, which is a national network of activists, asylum seekers, refugees, community workers, trade unionists, and academics who campaign against forced deportation in Ireland, and for the abolition of the Direct Provision system. Since government policy denies asylum seekers the right to education beyond the age of 18, we seek to counter this state-sanctioned exclusion through developing partnerships between asylum seekers, UCC staff and students.
Although these activities have a human rights focus, many are social and are organised for the benefit of asylum-seeking children, most of whom were born in Direct Provision and have spent their entire childhoods there. Some are these are now 9 and 10 years old. This means that social occasions are important in offering brief respite to parents and fun-filled activities for children. For example, last December we organised a Family Fun Day in UCC, which was attended by about 160 people and generously supported, in part, through a fundraising campaign. UCC students from the BSc in International Development and Food Policy and the Societies Guild took lead roles in organising the event. The students organised gifts for each child, created a Santa’s grotto, laid on a magnificent feast, and entertained the children with boundless enthusiasm and energy. Children and families living in Direct Provision have few resources, so this was a particularly heart-warming festive event.
|Staff members involved||Various