Kildare and Wicklow ETB Newsletter Issue 9 Inclusion - Page 36

ACTIVE CITIZENSHIP COURSE

A KWETB Community Education Active Citizenship course ran from May to June 2016 in Newbridge.

The course participants were asylum seekers from Eyre Powell Hotel, the Direct Provision Centre in Co. Kildare.

Direct Provision was introduced in 2000 and it is the system in which people seeking asylum are accommodated. Asylum Seekers receive accommodation with full board and utilities. However, they are not allowed to work or to cook for themselves. They have full access to the health care system and adults can access education up to QQI Level 4 standard.

Since 2000 KWETB staff have engaged with Asylum Seekers in Eyre Powell informing them of KWETB courses and assessing their needs, to enable KWETB provide suitable courses to help them integrate into Irish society. Asylum Seekers in this centre have availed of a diverse range of courses including English as a Second Language, Computers, Sewing, Art and Horticulture.

The McMahon report on Direct Provision was published in June 2015 and called for a reduction in the length of time applicants wait for a decision.

Around this time an increase was noted in numbers being granted asylum, many of whom had been waiting between five and eight years. Following this positive development an Active Citizenship course was designed, with input from the Asylum Seekers to help them cope with the transition from Direct Provision to living in society.

The course included the following areas:

Getting to know Ireland

Getting to know your Locality

Form Filling

The Health Service

How Ireland is governed at national and local level