THE Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (MASI) is having a backpack drive to help children living in direct provision get the school supplies they need.
Members of the public can donate copy books, folders, stationery, shirts, trousers, skirts, jumpers, backpacks, and other school-related items.
Cork’s collection points are at the reception desk in One Albert Quay, and Cork Flower Studio at 104 Douglas Street. The collection will last until Sunday, August 25.
The collection aims to help alleviate the cost of going back to school on families who live in direct provision. Currently, asylum seekers in Ireland face employment restrictions which advocates say creates a “financial strain”.
Roos Demol, who volunteers with people living in direct provision in Cork, says drives like these are very important.
“People living in direct provision don’t have the money to provide their children with uniforms, books, other items. I believe they get a €100 uniform allowance for going back to school, similar to people on social welfare,” said Ms Demol.
“[Their allowance is] €38 per week. This is not enough to get a full uniform with a crested jumper, school books, and other supplies.”
Ms Demol said because the crested jumpers were so expensive, she considered setting up a GoFundMe to help struggling families meet the cost. “I had people as far away as Mosney contacting me, asking for help. It is so sad this is happening.”
According to Ms Demol, local principals have made allowances and said that children who can’t afford crested jumpers can wear plain ones. However, Ms Demol said people, especially children, don’t want to feel different.
She also said it was important to support these children’s education. “These kids have potential. You look to Germany, they have invested in [immigrants] and they have contributed to the economy.”
“Locally, there is is an Indian takeaway that has been set up by people who were living in direct provision... we shouldn’t say ‘they are taking our jobs’, they are offering us their skills.”
“All of the children [who will benefit from this backpack drive] have potential.”