St Vincent de Paul – Homework Club aids young asylum seekers
Children in direct provision face stressful living circumstances for years at a time, with as many as six people living in a single room
The St. Vincent de Paul through their Croí na Gaillimhe Resource Centre based in the city are one of the few organisations that have stepped in to help these children.
Croí na Gaillimhe’s manager Loretta Needham explained how a Homework Club, run entirely by volunteers was set up to help these children integrate into our educational system. “Our current volunteers range from their early 20s to their late 70s and because of their time and effort, we’ve seen great results.”
Cabrini McDaid, coordinator of the homework club said “In the seven months that the Homework Club has been operating, teachers have indicated there has been a noticeable improvement in the students’ academic performance, and perhaps even more importantly, we’ve seen an increase in the children’s self-esteem”. She said a formal survey of teachers in Galway City is under way to gain a better understanding of the Homework Club’s effect on the children’s progress.
On average 25 children and young adults ranging from age 5 to 17 attend the club Monday to Thursday from 3-7pm at the direct provision centre in the Eglinton Hostel in Salthill. There isn’t a proper place for them to study or do their schoolwork. The Homework Club attempts to provide that proper space.
More than 4,300 people, including 1,600 children, are living in limbo – some for more than a decade – in 34 direct provision centres throughout Ireland while seeking governmental approval to remain in the country. About 300 asylum seekers from Nigeria, Albania, Pakistan, Iran and other countries are housed in Galway City at the Eglinton and the Great Western direct provision centre in Eyre Square.
Without the right to work, families must subsist on weekly allowances of €19.10 for adults and €9.60 for children. Children are given free access to education through secondary level, but must pay for third-level education.
SVP’s Croí na Gaillimhe said the Homework Club is actively seeking volunteers. Current or retired teachers would be warmly welcomed; people who have the passion to guide students in completing their homework assignments. This in turn will give the children an opportunity to advance through education and integrate fully into Irish society.
Anyone interested in volunteering is urged to contact Croí na Gaillimhe at 091 895203 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.