A New Project, A New Beginning

International Ciommunity Dynamics is now a Company Limited by Guarantee. And it is time we look over what we have done so far and our plans for the future. A big part of this, is the up and running social enterprise, Recruit Refugees Ireland, which has become our trading name.

We met in 2017 and had the idea of starting to collect guitars for people in Direct provision, we created ICD as a grassroots organisation, and helped International Protection Applicants (IPAs) to find their way in Ireland, by giving them support with clothes, music and sport.

But one of the challenges that stood out is the issue of finding decent and meaningful work. We noticed that employers in Ireland are happy enough to help, but have no understanding or are not aware of the permission to work rules for IPAs.

This is what made me decide to set up Recruit Refugees Ireland. West-Cork Development Partnership has helped with creating the business plan. As I want this to be a paid service, I decided to set RRI up as a social enterprise, and as we already have a management board, I though it best to make RRI a project and the trading name of ICD.

We have over 300 candidates registered with us, and we are getting the first employers to sign up. We are partnering with educational organisations and other NGOs.

Our aim is to make Ireland a place where everyone can thrive. We want to create awareness among employers about the right to work for IPAs and why it is beneficial for a company to have a diverse workforce.

But that is not all. We are also going to schools to help pupils to combat racism, form integration fora, etc.

We also want to go and talk (once we can) to schools about migrants in Ireland, and especially those seeking protection.

So much to do, so little time. 🙂

A year of working on my dinner table has created this amazing organisation. We now have 9 volunteers and we are expanding more and more. ICD is here to stay!

Finding Sanctuary in Cricket

WE HAVE RECENTLY STARTED A CRICKET TEAM AT THE KINSALE ROAD ACCOMMODATION CENTRE. JUST LIKE OUR WORLD MUSIC BAND, CITADEL, CRICKET IS OFFERING REFUGE TO MANY OF THE RESIDENTS OF DIRECT PROVISION CENTRES, AND WE WANT TO SPREAD THE NEWS.

 

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It all started quite innocently with one of the young Pakistani boys asking me if I could help him to find a cricket bat. He wanted to join a local cricket club, and I had also noticed that many of the residents were playing cricket with a tennis ball and self-created wickets in the evenings.

I thought about it for a while and decided to put out an appeal for cricket gear on Twitter. The response was fantastic. Cricket is a minority sport in Ireland, not many people play it, so when I said on Twitter that there was much cricket talent in Kinsale Road Accommodation Centre and that helping out cricketers could be very beneficial to Irish cricket in the future, the response came fast. We received bats, balls, pads and helmets. The cricketers were very happy, and in all my enthusiasm, I mentioned we might organise a game against one of the local teams one day. That really struck a chord and soon a whole team of around 15 cricket players was training outside between the residents’ blocks, getting ready for the hypothetical game, every time the sun shone.50527384_10218429044576728_3103848392371994624_n

The beneficial effects of just having something to look forward to and a reason to get up and play were very obvious. Again, we managed to find a way to out the daily stresses to the side for a few hours, a week, and to re-discover hope.

Many of the Asian community in direct provision don’t have the right to work or are not finding work, and the days are long when all you do is worry about your case. Cricket offers a way out of that.

From asking for gear we asked for a training ground, because there is not enough space in the centre, and it is impossible to play with a hardball.

Through the City of Sanctuary Advocacy subgroup, we organised a meeting with UCC, Munster cricket and Harlequins cricket club and discussed the possibility of finding a training ground and organising some friendly games. At first, the cricket club delegates only thought about getting the good players involved with their own team, but that was not entirely what we were looking for. Mustak, our captain made it clear that while it would be nice for some to join local clubs, the residents of Kinsale Road also want to play together against other teams.

On the same day, we were interviewed by PJ Coogan of The Opinion Line of 96FM. He loved the idea of helping the residents to find a team to play them, and soon Harlequins challenged the team, now called KRAC11 to a game.

I will never forget the joy on the players’ faces, on the day. Some of them had not played on a pitch for ten years or more, but these men from Bangladesh, India and Pakistan are born holding a cricket bat. The game went well, we lost but not too badly,  We had supporters coming from the Kinsale Road Centre, but also from the city and even as far as Kinsale town. One local man who always played cricket has now bought some of the gear needed and has sponsored some T-shirts. He is the owner of Avoncourt Packaging, a company right next to the centre, another man came to check out the players, he is a member of a local cricket club of lawyers, they needed some help to score more runs, and a week later three of our own players did just that.

One payer was taking scores at that game, and I was sitting next to him when he said, “Roos, what you are doing is big, it makes such a difference and it should have been done years ago by the management of the centre. instead of sitting in our small bedrooms, which we share with others, we are here now, outside, playing cricket and making new friends along the way.

And that is what it’s all about, to find inner strength, and use it. Sharing the love of sport is like sharing the love of music, it creates a bond and it lifts the soul.

KRAC11 has now been offered the use of UCC’s cricket field in The Farm, 2 more games are on the agenda, and we are hoping to organise a cricket feast for other direct provision centres in the summer.

We also have a website here.

2018 Review

We had a meeting yesterday, reviewing what we have done and achieved so far, and I must say, we are a little chuffed.

Here are the details of our activities and achievements in 2018.

Guitars

  1. Our Guitars for People in Direct Provision project. We started collecting guitars in June 2017, by the end of 2018 we have collected 23 guitars, 7 keyboards, some percussion instruments and 3 violins. We also secured free guitar tuition, organised the musical part of the Celebration of World music and cultures of Cork in Cork’s Fitzgerald Park on June 16th, International Day of the African Child, and another world music day in Bull McCabe’spub on August 5th, which resulted in the formation of Citadel.

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2. Citadel48052367_2143240345726884_9096580517762957312_o.jpg

Citadel was formed after the world music day on August 5th, it came as a pleasant surprise to us that we generated so much press interest into what we were doing. We were asked to perform at a fundraiser for MASI in Limerick’s Dolan’s Warehouse and at the International guitar festival in Clonakilty.

That is when we needed a name and decided on Citadel.

Since September, we have performed at the MASI fundraiser in Limerick, the international Guitar festival in Clonakilty, Cork Culture night, Middleton Intercultural day, Myo’s in Cork to raise funds for Youth Work Ireland’s arts project for children in direct provision centres, The Friary in Cork, The Lodge direct provision centre in Clonakilty and at the Christmas Inclusive Arts gathering in Cork.

3. Co-operation with the St Raphael scouts of Bujumbura, Burundi.

We raised money for the ‘back to School’project in August and sent 600€ to Bujumbura, where the scouts provided the street children with school supplies to ensure their return to school.

In December we collected 300€ to send over for a Christmas party for the street children. This was the second Christmas party we helped to fund.

The co-operation with the St Raphael scouts is smooth and easy, we will keep working with them.

 

 

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4. Support of residents in Direct Provision

As during the previous year, we have kept our effort up to support the people who reside in direct provision centres, while waiting for an answer to their asylum cases.

we have:

  • Collected Clothes distributed them to Kinsale Road Accommodation Centre and Glounthaune DP; we would like to thank Mary O’Donoghue, from Mary’s charity shop in Bandon, who always puts some second-hand clothes to the side for us.
  • We helped and supported people looking for work offering help for creating CVs, setting up Linked In accounts and interview preparation.
  • Helped with acquiring school material, uniforms, etc50217208_313601099287919_5908076559050211328_n
  • Thanks to Social media actions, we secured donations of supplies for babies: prams, fridges, baby clothes, supplied uniforms for school children school books and phones for newly arrived residents.
  • We had a successful GoFundMe campaign to secure funds for tabla drums for our Indian tabla player.
  • We helped residents to integrate into the community and created awareness and made connections from the community with the residents of Direct Provisioncentres.

 

5. City of Sanctuary

We played an active part in the City of Sanctuary Movement in Cork, as members of the Communications, Advocacy and Arts and Culture subgroups, and linking organisations with the people in Direct Provision.

6. Public Relations

We secured interviews and appeared in The Evening Echo, the Irish Examiner, Newstalk and the Irish Times, each time creating a little more awareness.

 

As you can see, we worked hard and had some very good results. Our challenge for next year is to do even better, get organised with a charity number, keep working with the scouts in Bujumbura, keep supporting asylum seekers and refugees and maybe some other projects abroad. Onwards and upwards is the only way!

Many thanks to everyone who supported us and please keep doing so.

 

 

Killing Three Birds with One Stone. World Music Day at Bull McCabes.

By Roos Demol

It had been on our mind for a long time. We wanted to do something special, something that at first glance looked simple and innocent, but carried a lot of importance.

Norbert, at the same time, wanted to start collecting funds to keep up our work in partnership with the St Raphael Scouts and Guides group of Bujumbura to keep supporting the street children there, this time, by helping them back to school.

And we wanted to create more awareness about our guitars for people in direct provision project.

While sitting on the terrace of the BullMc Cabes pub, just across from the Direct Provision centre, it all came together.

We were sitting there with some friends chatting, when, out of the blue I asked the waiter of the pub if he realised how much musical talent lives across the road from the pub in the accommodation Centre. I suggested it might be an idea to let them come and play music in the pub, as in the summer they have a lot of live music. This is where the plan started growing. Our musicians all agreed to take part, the waiter spoke to his boss, who liked the idea, the plans grew from a small pub performance to an open-air world music day on the car park, with as musicians only asylum seekers. We took on the challenge and we never regretted it.

The news quickly spread through Twitter, and in no time we appeared in the local Evening Echo, the national Cork-based newspaper the Irish Examiner and we secured a small slot on the Newstalk radio.

It was heartwarming to get the attention. It showed how thinking has shifted in Ireland, direct provision has become a concern to many people, and the willingness to do something positive but thought-provoking was appealing.

The rehearsals became a pleasure to attend, and I soon noticed we were doing something very special.

 

 

We had musicians from Russia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Burma, Burundi, Ukraine, the USA( the tutor), and South Africa, a young Sikh came to ask if he could join us with his tabla and without really planning it we formed a fusion band of 6 nationalities, all playing together and performing songs from different countries. Where else would you find a Burundian singer, accompanied by an American fiddle player,  Indian tabla and a Ukranian guitarist with a Belgian woman on the backing vocals and a South African Bassist?

And so August 5th came and the musicians walked across the road from the accommodation centre.to the car park of the pub, where they could perform in total freedom for the neighbours, the people from Cork, fellow residents and anyone who wanted to attend.

We were lucky enough to have the Burundian drummers to come and open the event, and we filled three hours of music.  We had a barbeque, kindly offered by the pub owner, and we raffled some prizes.

We hugged and we laughed and the audience came to talk to the residents. Direct Provision became the topic of conversation, people brought more guitars and we collected money for the street children in Bujumbura. Our objectives were met. We created awareness in a pleasant and gentle way, astonishing the audience with the talent hidden in the prefab buildings of the accommodation centre behind thick bushes and walls, we raised funds for our Back To School project in Bujumbura and our Guitars project made the news and caught attention.

It doesn’t stop here. Since then we have been able to support many children in the direct provision centre with new uniforms and tracksuits for school, we made some great working connections. We have also been asked to perform in Limerick for MASI fundraiser and we are planning a gig for the Cork Jazz festival. We’ll keep you posted.

If you can think of a name for our fusion band, please mention it in the comments.

Bringing people together with music.

We celebrated world music and cultures of Cork, on the International Day of the African Child. The aim was to bring people together on this very important day of commemorating the horrible events in Soweto of 1976. We wanted to honour this day by bringing different communities and cultures together and to celebrate the beauty of togetherness.

People came, listened, learned and enjoyed. And everyone went home with the happy feeling that we did something special in Cork that day.

What has become clear to me is that to bring people together, you have to do it without mentioning too much of your purpose. The difference between a ‘solidarity concert’ and a ‘celebration of world music’ is that the first will attract people who want to be part of a solidarity effort, the second will attract people who want to listen to music and maybe never heard or thought about a solidarity movement or about any of the causes the first one fights for.

We worked together with Cork City Partnership, SHEP, CESCA, Youth Work Ireland, the Cope Foundation and the Travellers Visibility Group. Everyone did their own part of the work. I was responsible for organising the musical event, Norbert Nkengurutse was the event manager.

As we are now also working together with the City of Sanctuary Movement in Cork, it was especially important to us to involve asylum seekers and people from minority backgrounds in the event. And did we find the talent there!

The Burundian Drummers are a group of drummers from around the country. One came down from Dublin, two from Tralee, one took the bus from Millstreet, and one resides in Cork.  Four of the five drummers are seeking asylum.drum

Then there was the amazing Ethiojazz duo, Harmony, who reside in the direct provision centre in Killarney. ethio jazz

 

We had a Ukranian and a Burundian singing gorgeous songs, playing guitars from the ‘Guitars for People in Direct Provision’ project and accompanied by their American tutor.

The stewards on the ground, the photographer and the chefs for the artists were all people staying in the local direct provision centre who were happy to volunteer their time to make this event unforgettable.

Our MC was the amazing Salim Nze, originally from Tanzania, the event manager was the gorgeous Joanna Dukipatti, originally from India, the sound-engineer is Mark Mulvihill from Ireland.35703238_1924165664309760_7731809815705419776_o35815075_1924163274309999_7599538747272593408_o

All in all, the crew and the artists of the musical event came from Burundi, India, Tanzania, Ukraine, Bangladesh, Burma, Pakistan, Cameroon, Congo, Belgium and Ireland and England, together making up the new community of Cork.

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We had amazing Indian dancing performed by the UCC Indian Alumni and students who brought us a colourful show of Indian dances, the Fantastic Rappers guided by GMC, from Youth Work Ireland, and an ad-hoc dancer from Cameroon.35746946_1924160927643567_9096645431898669056_o35757886_1924161724310154_5722454175665618944_o

Other events on during the event was a cultural exchange corner, where members of the travellers’ community shared stories about their culture. A Moroccan and a Lebanese woman also exchanged stories around an object from their culture that they had brought. There was a kids corner, where Clowns without Borders entertained and Dowtcha Puppet makers did a puppet making workshop with the little ones. And of course, there was the face painting.35762275_1924158224310504_8893493745085841408_o

The day was wonderful, and we all went home happy, or to some extent, due to a very unfortunate incident at Sheila’s Hostel, where our main act, the Burundian Drummers, was not allowed to stay because they could not produce a passport ( which as asylum seekers, they don’t have). But more about that in another post.

We decided to do it again, be it on a smaller scale, but strategically in a much better place.

On August the 5th, we are organising a world music afternoon with Barbeque and raffle in the pub, just across the road from the Kinsale Road Direct Provision centre. It will be an afternoon filled with music, brought by residents of direct provision centres, hailing from Russia, Ukraine, Burundi and Ethiopia, and a traditional Irish band. One of the residents, a Venezuelan man, will also exhibit his artwork during the event. We are hoping to raise some funds for our guitar project and also to fund a Back to School project for street children in Bujumbura.posterbmc

The neighbours, who have often never spoken to any of the residents, will have a chance to meet, greet and admire their talents. We have informed them already and they are very enthusiastic about it all.

 

The best way to get people’s attention is by doing something they will look at, listen to, or sit down and read. We may just have found a way to make them listen.

 

World Music Family Fun Day in Cork’s Fitzgerald Park to celebrate the International Day of the African Child

by Norbert Nkengurutse

Since 1991, the world celebrates the international day dedicated to the African child on the 16th of June.

The 16th of June 1976 was a dark day for the black South African school children. Hundreds were killed and another thousand were injured in Soweto by the apartheid regime of South Africa. The children were killed when they protested against the Bantu education act and against Afrikaans being the official language of education.

Hundreds of boys and girls were hit by bullets and over the next two weeks another thousand were injured or killed.

Let’s grab this occasion to think about all those children who have become orphaned by war, the street children, the children who lost their lives during different conflicts in Africa, the child soldiers, the children who lose their lives or future working in the mines.
We also need to think of the many African refugee parents who have often been separated from their children and their families, and don’t know when they will ever see them back.

Shout it out, loud and clear, let’s fight for the children of the world, so they can enjoy their rights and let’s build a world free of hate.

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On June the 16th we are organising the first Family Fun World Music Day in Cork’s Fitzgerald’s Park, to celebrate the International Day of the African Child with music, a human library and fun games for children in collaboration with Cork City Partnership, CESCA and SHEP. and Summer in the Park in the framework of intercultural dialogue.

It will be the first time this day will be celebrated in this way in Ireland.

Cork en Irlande va cĂ©lèbrer la journĂ©e de l’enfant Africain avec un jour de musiques du monde pour les familles.

Par Norbert Nkengurutse

Depuis 1991, le 16 juin de chaque année le monde comémore la journée Internationale dédiée à l’enfant Africain en souvenir du massacre de centaines d’enfants.

La date du 16 juin 1976 a été une date noire pour les Enfants noirs sud Africains.
Date à laquelle des centaines d’élèves ont été tués par le pouvoir de l’apartheid et plus de 1000 autres blessés à Soweto en Afrique du Sud lorsqu’ ils manifestaient contre la qualité inférieur de leur éducation et pour éxiger que l’on respecte leurs droits à un enseignement dispensé dans leur propre langue.

Des centaines de garcons et filles ont été blessés par balles et au cours des deux semaines de protestations suivantes, une centaine d’enfants ont été tués et plus de 1000 blessés.
Saisissons cette occasion pour penser à tout ces enfants qui sont devenus orphelins de guerres, enfants de rues, ces enfants qui perdent leurs vies dans les différents conflits politiques en Afrique, tout ces enfants utilisés dans les groupes armés, ainsi que ceux qui sont utilisés dans les exploitation des minerais et y perdent leurs avenirs et leurs vies.
Agissons aussi pour ces parents refugiés Africains, et du monde entier en général qui sont séparés de leurs enfants et de leurs familles et qui ne savent pas quand se retrouver.
Crions haut et fort, battons nous pour que tous les enfants du monde entier jouissent de leurs droits et batissons un monde sans haine.

idac
Ce 16 juin 2018 nous allons organiser un jour de musiques du monde pour les familles pour cĂ©lèbrer la journĂ©e de l’enfant Africain Ă  Fitzgerald Park, Cork City en RĂ©publique d’Irlande en collaboration avec Cork City Partnership, CESCA et SHEP  et Summer in the Park   dans le cadre de la dialogue interculturelle et supportĂ© par Summer in the Park. Ça sera la toute première fois que cette journĂ©e ait cĂ©lèbrĂ©e en Ireland

Refugees in Sub-Saharan countries and our plans to offer help.

In June 2016 the number of forcibly displaced people in the world reached the number of 65 million, 21.5 million of them are refugees, the rest are internally displaced.

Many of these refugees ended up in camps, both in Europe and also in African countries. Sub Saharan Africa hosts more than 26% of the world’s refugees. In 2017, Africa hosted  5,531,693 refugees.  81% of the forcibly displaced people are internally displaced

Of the Sub Saharan hosting countries, Uganda (population of 41 million) has the most refugees (960,000). Rwanda, a small country in East Africa with a population of 11.9 million, hosted 172,000 refugees.  The top hosting countries are (according to numbers of refugees) Uganda, Ethiopia (791,600), DRC (459,650), Kenya (451,000) and Sudan (421,470)

The top ten countries of origin are: (total of internally displaced people and refugees in order of numbers).  Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria, DRC, Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Lybia, Eritrea and Burundi. As a percentage of the population, these numbers are frightening. In 2016,  over 408,000 Burundians were displaced, this is about 4% of the population. In Eritrea, that percentage is 9.8%.

To put it in perspective, in 2016, 2245 people sought asylum in Ireland, and there were 4,055 pending applications, that brings the total of asylum seekers to 6245 people in 2016. Compare this to Uganda, and you realise that Ireland can hardly speak of a crisis.

All these displaced people need the basics: a safe place to stay, clothes, food and access to care.

In International Community Dynamics we have been collecting clothes and distributing them to asylum seekers regularly.

 

Some of the asylum seekers we met here have had to leave their families behind, and of some of these family members, we know that they have ended up in refugee camps in Rwanda, Uganda or Tanzania.

We have now decided to start collecting clothes for refugees arriving here and also for refugees in Sub-Saharan countries.

If you would like to help out, please feel free to spread the word. We can be contacted on this site or on our Facebook page facebook.com/InternationalCommunityDynamics. We are looking for clothes but also for companies like industrial laundries or hotels who are willing to donate second-hand beddings for the clinics in refugee camps.

We will also organise fundraising events to finance the hire and transport of a container.
You can also donate by clicking on the ‘donate’ button in the side panel.

We will work together with scouts groups in the African countries to coordinate and organise the delivery of the clothing donations.

We have set up a Paypal account for those of you who’d like to help us by donating. Any amount, no matter how small, is welcome and gratefully accepted.

You can support us here.

Together as one!

featured image Photo: Laura Eldon/Oxfam, licence

Working together across borders

International Community Dynamics has not been sitting still. Over the last few months, we have continued with the music lessons, helped the start-up of the Cork Migrants Centre and supplied asylum seekers with clothes to stay warm in the cold Irish winter.

But what we are most proud of is the successful Christmas project, in co-operation with the St Raphael scouts in Bujumbura, Burundi.

We raised some funds here in Ireland, and some funds came in from the USA too, the scouts in Bujumbura organised more fundraising there and together we collected enough to organise a Christmas party for the street children from Bujumbura.

Here is a video of the fundraiser in Ireland, where we came together to sing for Bujumbura’s street children. This was the final song, Imagine (John Lennon), with performers from Ireland, The Netherlands, Burundi, Nigeria, Belgium and The United Kingdom.

 

 

You will see in the slideshow that the day was successful. The children were collected by bus and brought to the scouts’ premises, where they were treated to some games, dances, wonderful food, and even a visit by Father Christmas.

Let’s keep working together and help each other wherever we may be in the world.

Here is the slideshow.

 

 

Christmas Celebration with the Street Children in Bujumbura, Burundi.

As part of our objectives to support victims of war and natural disasters and to promote children’s rights, we have cooperated with the Scouts and Guides of St RaphaĂ«l in Bujumbura, Burundi, to organise a Christmas party for children of Bujumbura’s streets, victims of wars in Burundi.

 

A total of 69 children were collected by bus to come and share the joy and be part of social integration.

Activities included:

  • games with other young scouts and guides
  • share Christmas dinner with scouts and guides
  • dance with the other children
  • a visit by Santa who had a Christmas present for everyone.

The day was a success, and we would love to thank all those who participated and made this day possible. We keep counting on your support for our ongoing efforts and for the projects planned for 2018. We will soon post our plans for the coming year.

Here are some of the images of the day and one video that will give you a feeling of the joy and the input of many people.

You can contribute here.