Financial constraints and language a big barrier for young asylum seekers

Published 16/01/2014 | 05:26

At the Young Scientists exhibition at the RDS were Millstreet Community School students Michael O’Keeffe, Stefan Healy and Keith Dineen.

THE presence of a direct provision centre in Drishane in Millstreet and the asylum seekers attending Millstreet Community School inspired students to undertake a project, which was selected to go forward to the BT Young Scientist exhibition.

Student Stefan Healy along with Keith Dineen and Michael O'Keeffe sent out surveys to principals and asylum seekers in the 34 direct provision centres in Ireland.

Stefan told The Corkman that there are six asylum seekers attending Millstreet Community School and he said they discovered that there was a 0% take-up of these students doing Transition Year.

He said 100 surveys were sent out but they only got back 20.

"We felt that many did not do any of the extra curricular activities, which would be activities like football, music, basketball, as there is a cost involved and there was financial hardship in trying to find the money to do such things," said Stefan.

Since the completion of the project, he believes that there would be greater participation by asylum seekers in secondary schools if they had translators of their native language.

He said of the six asylum seekers in his school, three have a different dialect, and one only started school last Monday, while the other five have been at the school for about five years.

"We all found the project very interesting and we started it in September and put in long hours. We were all taken aback at the low pick up of asylum seekers doing transition year," he said.


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