Muhammad Ijaz is from Pakistan. He writes in Urdu then asks friends in his hostel to translate his pieces into English. He’s a constant source of support to other people in Direct Provision, encouraging them to go out and engage with Cork people, even if they are scared and lonely. He is also an excellent chef.
Deborah Oniah is a Nigerian mother of four. She has a law degree and she is also a certified life coach, Deborah is a writer, speaker, and intercultural dialogue facilitator. Her positive attitude is remarkable and this is clear from her writing.
Miriam Shanti Counter is from South Africa. Ireland is now home to her and her family. She says: “It was a tough journey to get where I am. I’m grateful and thankful to God. Thank you Ireland for giving me the greatest opportunities and a place to call home.”
Zovi Zoni is from Pakistan. She is a beautician and works voluntarily in the accommodation centre. Zovi’s writing and poetry is published in two books published by Cork City Libraries namely,and . She is also part of Citadel, a vibrant musical band, consisting of asylum-seekers. She is a member of Fine Gael and wants to help create change.
Asad Mahmud is a lawyer and activist from Pakistan. Since coming to Ireland to seek asylum, he has been involved in activism relating to the rights of people living in Direct Provision. His writing has appeared inand , published by Cork City Libraries. He is part of the band whose members live in Direct Provision in Cork, and he is Legal and IT executive at Fine Gael Intercultural Cork. He blogs at www.asadmahmud.ml
Senzeni Mpofu is 31 and from Zimbabwe. She came to Ireland in October, 2015, leaving her two children behind in the care of her mother. She describes living in Direct Provision as her ‘most challenging journey’.
Nqobizitha Vella was born in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. She came to Ireland in September, 2015 with her son, who is now aged 10. She’s currently writing Volume 8 of her( ) novel series, published in Ndebele/English. Her work has appeared in the anthology .