BetterTogether is a local charity that works to empower women who are seeking asylum in Cork City and County. BetterTogether has been working directly with women living in direct provision since 2016. Here’s a list of what we do:
In spring of 2018, BetterTogether hosted our first accessing employment course for women living in Direct Provision. Approximately 40 women took part in this course. As part of this course women learned about accessing the Irish labour market, how to build a website, CV writing skills, interview skills, volunteering in Cork, how to access work experience and an introduction to setting up your own business in Ireland. A unique element of this course is that it also addressed two chief barriers which generally prevent women living in Direct Provision from accessing educational services – childcare and transport. Togher Family Centre kindly provided childcare for children ages 1-5 years old and the BetterTogether Summer Camp team entertained all children aged 6+ while their mothers took part in the course.
We welcomed support from a number of organisations within UCC: UCC Library, UCC Careers Service, Blackstone LaunchPad, STAR Society, The Glucksman, UCC Dance Club and Quercus. We also received support from community organisations: Togher Family Centre, BRIJ, Clowns Without Borders, Community Support Resources, Cork Volunteer Centre and Cork Adult Guidance Centre.
BetterTogether summer camp:
BetterTogether organise an annual summer camp for children living in Direct Provision. Over the past two years we have invited children from Kinsale Road and Ashbourne House accommodation centres to attend our camp. This year we will be extending our welcome to all children living in the new Direct Provision centre in Mallow, Davis Lane. Children take part in arts and crafts, sport, messy science experiments, drama and games. To find out how you can get involved click on our “summer camp” section on this website.
BetterTogether ‘Lets Dance’
BetterTogether will be running a weekly dance class for women living in Davis Lane Direct Provision centre in Mallow. Every 4 weeks women will have the opportunity to learn a new type of dance to encourage social and emotional well-being. To facilitate social integration the classes will be open to all women living in Mallow. This approach will be used to facilitate the health and well-being of all women in the local Mallow community.
This event will be in collaboration with The Mallow Community Health Project and Le Cheile.
Each Christmas we take a trip to the city to enjoy the GLOW festivities. Families enjoy a trip around the GLOW park, a spin on the ferris wheel and a trip on the carousel for the smallies. The event is topped off with hot chocolate and treats. This event is in collaboration with BRIJ who provide the transport for this outing.
In 2018, BetterTogether conducted research in collaboration with UCC ocupational therapy students. The research aimed to identify the skills needed by women living in Direct Provision to transition into Irish society and whether women were given the opportunity to practice these skills within the centres. Our research showed that employment skills were at the top of the list of skills needed by women to transition. From these findings, we organised a 3 week accessing employment course in April of 2019. The second course will be launched at the end of 2019 with the help of the women who took part in April’s course.
Yoga Social Group:
From 2016 to 2018 BetterTogether ran a yoga group for women living in Direct Provision centres in Cork. The group met on a weekly basis at the Himalaya Yoga Valley Centre to practice yoga to aid social and emotional wellbeing. The class was followed each week by a different recreational activity chosen by the women taking part – these included drumming, knitting, salsa dancing etc. The group would also take outtings to places of interest in Cork City and County. We would like to thank Sofia Kaas who thought our weekly yoga class. We would also like thank the Himalaya Yoga Valley Centre for giving us access to their beautiful space and also holding fundraising classes for our Christmas outtings.
We’re hosting a table quiz! Get a team ready for the 26th of September and join us in the Spailpín Fanách for a table quiz and raffle with some amazing prizes from The Gate Cinema Cork, Rising Sons Brewery, Pink Moon and more!
Follow the event on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/events/472634206866240/ for updates on new prizes.