Mallow students win Young Citizen award

Published 24/04/2014 | 05:26

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Students from Davis College, Mallow became the first Irish recipients of a prestigious Rotary International Great Britain and Ireland Young Citizen award for their work highlighting the plight of the families of missing people in Ireland.

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Students from Davis College, Mallow became the first Irish recipients of a prestigious Rotary International Great Britain and Ireland Young Citizen award for their work highlighting the plight of the families of missing people in Ireland.

The students were presented with their award at the RIBI conference in Birmingham which was filmed live on the BBC news channel on Saturday, April 12.

Their innovative work on the issue of missing people came about through their involvement with the Young Social Innovators programme. The project entitled 'Forget Me Not' was awarded the overall title of Young Social Innovators of the Year 2012.

The national 'Forget Me Not' campaign developed by the young people was a continuation of the work begun by the school's previous YSI team, 'Missing Persons'. It aimed to highlight the plight of the families of missing people and to support organisations that help in searching for missing people.

From 275 entries from throughout Great Britain and Ireland, the Mallow students were unanimously selected by all judges as deserved winners. The team were presented with a trophy, certificate and £500 for a charity of their choice. The money will be donated to the Mallow Search and Rescue.

Rachel Collier, CEO, Young Social Innovators commended the team on being the first Irish people to receive an RIBI Young Citizens Award. "This is an incredible achievement for an inspirational group of young people and we are delighted that their work has received such international recognition. It shows the impact that youth-led social innovation projects have and the positive change in Irish society," said Ms Collier.

"The work done by this team, with the support of their YSI Guide and school community, in consistent and passionate lobbying on behalf of families and friends of missing people, has resulted in making a huge impact for families. "

The Davis College project was awarded the prestigious title of Young Social Innovators of the Year 2012, judged the best project out of over 300 projects submitted to Young Social Innovators by 5,500 teenagers throughout Ireland.

The project highlighted the plight of the families of missing people and supported organisations that help in searching for missing people.

The team introduced an innovative Exit Point Strategy bringing public attention to the issue of missing people through a poster and placement campaign in Irish airports, ports, and ferry terminals.

A further strong feature of the team's campaign was a call for a national day of remembrance for missing persons to be introduced in Ireland. They lobbied at all levels for this to happen and on December 4, 2013 the Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter launched Ireland's inaugural Missing Persons Day at Farmleigh House. That day hundreds of relative of missing persons came together to remember their loved ones at Farmleigh House. Minister Shatter pledged that day to promote the idea of a European day of remembrance following the example of Ireland.

The fundraising efforts by both teams to support organisations involved in searching for the missing contributed to the recovery of the body of a missing teenager in Galway in January 2012.

Corkman

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