End of Ramadan celebrated at Kilbride event
Roscommon LEADER Partnership in association with Roscommon County Council and other local groups hosted an AIM (Accessibility and Inclusion for Migrants) event to celebrate the end of Ramadan recently in Kilbride Community Centre.
Families from the local Syrian communities were invited to the centre to celebrate the festival of Eid and enjoyed a number of events taking place throughout the day.
There was a ‘Fun and Frills’ corner for children including a play area and face-painting, as well as a lego demonstration by Sean Fleming of Foróige.
Roscommon LEADER CEO Martina Earley welcomed those in attendance before Roscommon County Council CEO Eugene Cummins addressed members of the Syrian community.
“I can only imagine what each of you have been through on your long and difficult journey to Ireland…I can only imagine the pain of having to leave Syria for a strange land and leaving loved ones. It must have been very, very difficult.
“I hope you feel safe in Roscommon and when you go to bed at night I hope you feel secure. I hope you feel part of this new community – a community that will allow you a new opportunity,” he said, before speaking of his pride when travelling around Roscommon and seeing children of “all different nationalities and colour playing together”.
Following a delicious meal, which was provided by The GROW Truck, SICAP Coordinator with Roscommon LEADER Partnership, Linda Sice, explained the reasons behind the event.
“Some of the newly-resettled Syrian refugees together with ourselves in Roscommon LEADER Partnership and Roscommon County Council put together this event which is celebrating the end of Ramadan. We’re having some nice food supplied by the community centre and the GROW Truck and some Syrian music and dance as well as activities including the play bus for the kids.
“We wanted this event to be family-friendly and to provide the people of Roscommon with more information about the culture of Eid and the Syrian culture in general. I think that’s the best way to support integration where we learn about each other’s culture. This is our way of celebrating their festivals.
“I think the Syrian families want to engage, but language is a challenge. Many of them are going to English classes provided by the GRETB and you can see a massive difference in their language skills.
“We have the help of Ghassan Shamet, who won a ‘People of the Year’ award last year, and he’s a great motivator and a great young man to engage in the community. We also have Ghadder Alhendi in Athlone, a young woman who is deeply involved as well,” she said.
The recent event featured panel discussions as well the launch of Accessibility Inclusion for Migrants (AIMS), which Roscommon LEADER Partnership’s Paul Clabby described as a European project which had been organised in conjunction with LEADER’S technical partners, Momentum Consulting, as well as other stakeholders including Roscommon County Council and GRETB.
“We all came together to see what we could do to promote inclusion in the county for these resettled families, so we said we’d celebrate Eid.
“Today at the launch of AIM we discussed the new Intercultural Integration Plan for Co. Roscommon. That’ll be where we will all be joining together to implement this plan and to get feedback from refugees and Syrians.
“We also launched some tools for educators to use and we hosted the national launch of AIM, which will equip the youth workers and educators of the region with tools and resources to be able to socially integrate refugees and migrants in the classroom environment,” he said.
Mr. Clabby said that with the opening of the Emergency Reception and Orientation Centre in Ballaghaderreen, stakeholders such as LEADER have had to “pull up their socks” and come up with new ideas to enable refugees and asylum seekers to integrate into local communities.
The Eid celebration on June 6th in Kilbride Community Centre was the latest in a long line of events to be celebrated by Syrians and locals alike.