On 26th June, to mark UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, SPIRASI (the Spiritan Asylum Services Initiative,) held a ceremony in St Mary’s College in Rathmines. The keynote address was given by the Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald TD.
The second part of the ceremony involved the presentation of education awards to 124 students who have successfully completed English language classes at FETAC levels 3, 4, and 5. The students, aged between 19 and 70 years old, come from a diverse range of countries. Integration involves learning a new language and, for some, learning a new alphabet and a new way of learning.
CDETB has been proud to be part of the SPIRASI Education and Integration of Migrants Programme since 1999. CEO, Jacinta Stewart paid tribute to the superb efforts these adults have shown in regaining their lives again through education, empowerment and integration into Irish society. She described them as inspirational students. She acknowledged the importance of inspirational teachers in all of our lives and paid tribute to their teachers. She spoke about one of her favourite poets Paula Meehan, who, herself an inspirational teacher, has spent time teaching in the CDETB Education Service to Prisons. She concluded by reading a poem of great hope by Paula entitled ‘Seed’, which begins:
The first warm day of spring
and I step out into the garden from the gloom
of a house where hope has died
to tally the storm damage, to seek what may
SPIRASI provides rehabilitation services for survivors of torture, has worked with over 3,600 people who have suffered trauma, torture or persecution from 117 different countries since its inception in 1999. For more information visit www.spirasi.ie