How social farming and Google translate helped Syrian olive farmers get back to their roots in Mayo
For two olive farmers from Syria, integrating into the rural town of Claremorris, Mayo, was not necessarily going to be easy.
But the main problem of a language barrier was easily overcome with Google translate, according to Brian Smyth, the Deputy CEO and National Project Manager for Social Farming in Ireland.
Finding work for the Syrian men in an environment they're familiar and comfortable with and barriers such as language soon fade, he says.
It's through the Social Farming project that the Dixon family in Mayo, opened their organic farm to a 10-week placement for 73-year-old Abdul and fellow Syrian refugee Faisal.
The Resettlement programme for Syrian refugees in Mayo is delivered by South West Mayo Development Company under contract with Mayo Co. Council and supported by the Department of Justice and Equality through the European Union Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.
Through this, the two Syrian men were offered a chance to work and exchange skills with local farmers.
According to Brian, their housing was taken care of and grandchildren went to school and the two men started working on the farm last October. One, he said, had reasonably good english, the other didn't but with the help of a interpreter, Google translate and some sign language the common farming language was soon understood between all.
As well as taking care of apple trees, Abdul and fellow Syrian refugee Faisal feed the cattle, cut firewood and tend to the gardens and plants that grow in a polytunnel.