A not-for-profit organisation empowering young people, including members of migrant and refugee communities, to take part in youth development initiatives has put out a call for transport assistance.
Safe Haven Ireland has launched a new project this year with three Direct Provision centres in Cork whereby children will be integrated with Irish children at summer camp-style watersports activities in Kinsale.
For the last five years, Safe Haven has sent children and teenagers from migrant and refugee communities on tall ship voyages around Ireland and now the organisation plans to send children on courses at the Oysterhaven Centre in order to get qualifications to work towards becoming sailing instructors.
The aim is to integrate children of different nationalities into the sailing world and follow through for five years until, they hope, at least one of them becomes an instructor.
The organisation recently put out a call on Twitter for transport from Cork to the activity centre in Kinsale on the week of August 10 which was answered by the Cork Life Centre who have lent them a minibus.
The organisation still needs help getting four children from a Direct Provision centre in Millstreet to Oysterhaven on the week of August 17 after the Oysterhaven centre’s own dedicated bus service was cancelled due to Covid-19.
Director of Safe Haven Ireland, Shauna Gillan told The Echo that although the centre in Millstreet has the largest number of children in Direct Provision the country, that they are really shut off and they are drawing a blank on how to get the children “who are completely isolated” from Millstreet to Kinsale.
“We have a group from Mallow going the same week who have sorted their own transport but they can't go to Millstreet because it adds an hour each way to the journey,” she said.
The hope is that if transport becomes available, even more children from the Direct Provision centre in Millstreet can be accepted onto the summer camp-style activities.
“Normally, this wouldn't be a problem because the Oysterhaven centre would have a bus running from Cork themselves but because of Covid, they cancelled it and access to things like garda community buses has become very difficult due to the virus. We need to space out the kids, so for five kids you need to have them in a 12 seater at a minimum.”
“The children from Millstreet needs to be in Oysterhaven at 9.30am and picked up at 4.30pm for the week of August 17. We’ve no transport for them currently and we’ve been holding off on making the group larger because at the moment there’s no way to get him there but if there was someone who could do that run then we could potentially get more kids from Millstreet involved,” she said.
A total of 14 children so far are taking part in the activities with the call for transportation for five children from Cork city and five from Mallow already answered.