Irish Refugee Council running for Education Access at this year’s VHI Women’s Mini Marathon

Posted On: June 1, 2018

Press Release , 1 June 2018

Support #EducationAccess

This Sunday over 60 women from Monaghan, Sligo, Killarney, Athlone and Dublin will join the Irish Refugee Council and participate in the VHI Women’s Mini Marathon. The group consists of women currently living in Direct Provision, refugees, IRC members, staff from Gibney Communications, the UCD Welcomes Refugees network and members of the public. Their aim is to raise awareness about the difficulties of education access for people in the asylum process and to raise funds for the Irish Refugee Council Education Fund.

Charlotte Byrne, Education Officer with the Irish Refugee Council said, “Education is such a beacon of hope for everyone. Upskilling and education helps people to prepare for work and is also an important part of a person’s integration into our society. Yet people stuck in the asylum process in Ireland have very limited opportunity to access further education or training regardless of how long they have been in the system. Our Education Fund, with the help of generous donations from the public and private sector, has been able to help many people to complete further education courses.”

“However, each year we receive more applications than we can support and we have to say ‘no’ to more people than we get to say ‘yes’ to.  This is why we need to raise funds. Every single euro raised goes directly to education costs, such as fees, transport, and books.”

Pride, a beneficiary of the IRC Education Fund said, “For me education has become my escape where I find hope, meaningfulness and relevance; a place where I rediscover my confidence, my dignity, and my true self. Being in class makes me feel alive and relevant. Not only this, but also, in a system that has infected people with dependency syndrome, education is the only thing that brings self-dependency and a decent life.”

“I believe I speak for many when I say that education plays an important role in the transmission of national culture and breaking language barriers. It is the only means through which new arrivals like me and people from different backgrounds and cultures can truly learn and integrate with the Irish culture and in so doing prepare ourselves to be purposeful citizens with civic responsibilities.”

Ada, a beneficiary of the IRC Education Fund said, “My sincere thanks and appreciation to all that contributed to send me to college, words are not enough. I am very grateful to be given this privilege. It makes me forget I am an asylum seeker. My self-esteem is built, and I felt love and belonged throughout my studies. Hoping other people will be given the same opportunity, it will be a great help. Thank you all.”

To find out more about the IRC’s Education Access work you can email Charlotte on education@irishrefugeecouncil.ie