Press Release Date: July 25th 2019
AkiDwA is in Monaghan this Saturday to celebrate diversity and to discuss the many ways that migrants contribute to life in the border county
Embrace Our Diversity, now one in eight of the Irish population is a migrant
AkiDwA, Ireland’s network for migrant women will be in Monaghan Town on Saturday 27th July to host a cultural celebration Embrace our Diversity, organised in collaboration with Monaghan Integrated Development and Wezesha, a Dublin-based charity that supports migrant integration.
AkiDwA’s Diversity celebration will take place at St Joseph’s Pastoral Centre in Monaghan Town on Saturday, 27 July from noon to 5pm.
The day will kick off at Monaghan United Football Club at 11 am with a friendly football match between Zim Dublin, a migrant team from Dublin and a local youth team.
Speaking ahead of the events, Salome Mbugua of AkiDwA said that diversity in Ireland has greatly changed the make-up of the Irish population over the last 20 years and that Irish society needs to accept the changed reality that means one in eight of our population is now from a migrant background.
“Discussions about meaningful integration are more important than ever now,” said Ms Mbugua, who paid tribute to the years of work done by Monaghan Integrated Development’s Community Integration Team, which includes Team Leader Francis McCarron and his colleague Mary O’ Rourke. “There are more than 800 migrants now living in Monaghan Town. They are from a wide varietyof different backgrounds and cultures, and migrants make up more than ten per cent of people in the county as a whole. Some work in agriculture, while others are UN programme refugees or asylum seekers. All of them bring a wealth of diversity and cultural attributes which enrich Irish society.” said Ms Mbugua.
Monaghan’s Community Integration team has been organising a wide range of integration activities and projects to help migrants integrate in towns across the County for more than a decade. There are five Failte Isteach groups established in Monaghan towns which offer free English classes to migrants, and the county has done some ground-breaking work to support migrant integration through respite schemes like Damien House and the Cultural Chaplains Program, where migrants who have been living here longer are linked through organisations like Tusla with younger people who may be experiencing difficulties.
Wezesha has been working with young refugees affected by conflict and violence who came to live in Monaghan from war zones in Syria and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Most now have dual citizenship but the majority still experience social isolation and some of them have expressed a desire for more integration support. Wezesha’s engagement with young refugees began through sports and they identified a need for greater engagement and dialogue with Monaghan’s indigenous community. Mr Egide Dhala of Wezesha said that most of Monaghan’s resettled refugees have yet to recover from the traumas they experienced in war and that engaging with local people could do a lot to help them heal from wounds inflicted in their past lives. “Communities have a huge ability to help refugees with the process of healing,by engaging with them through sports and other cultural activities, and by learning about how conflicts have changed their lives. A bit of dialogue can begin big conversations,” said Mr Dhala.
AkiDwA has spent the last 20 years advocating for an inclusive society in which everyone is treated with respect and dignity. The organization recently launched its strategic plan for 2019-2021, which aims to develop partnerships with other organizations in order to make the 2030 agenda of Leaving No One Behind a reality in all parts of Ireland.
- Saturday’s celebrations kick off with a friendly football match between Monaghan United FC and Zim Dublin at Monaghan United FC grounds from 11 am to 1 pm
- The match will be followed by a celebration of diversity and inclusion, with crafts, music, dance and food tasting at St Joseph’s Pastoral Centre from noon to 5 p m
These events are being supported by the Department of Justice and Equality under the government’s Integration funding scheme.
AkiDwA is Ireland’s national network representing migrant women
Registered Charity Number 20063641; CHY 17227
Address: Unit 2, Killarney Court, Buckingham Street, Dublin 1
Telephone: 01 8349851
Contacts: Salome Mbugua, AkiDwA Chief Operations & Strategy Officer
Background Established in Dublin in 2001, AkiDwA is formally known as Akina Dada Wa Africa (Swahili for sisterhood). AkiDwA is a national network that has been representing all migrant women living in Ireland for almost two decades. In 2018 AkiDwA evaluated our work and developed a new Strategic Plan which outlines our priorities over the next two years. AkiDwA aims to promote equality and justice for all migrant women living in Ireland by ensuring equal opportunities and equal access to social, cultural, economic, civic and political resources for everyone. .