We Are All Human: Largy scoops silver

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This group of transition years were inspired by the difficult journey faced by one of their fellow students, Lilav, who fled the war in Syria, eventually gaining asylum with her family and settling in their hometown of Clones, Co Monaghan.

Focused on improving the support and solidarity that their community shows to asylum seekers and refugees such as Lilav, this ambitious group developed the ‘We Are All Human’ project as part of their Young Social Innovators programme.

“We knew of the horrendous journeys asylum seekers undertake in order to be safe,” said the Monaghan teens. “We were upset that young people in our school had to suffer in this way and we wanted to make them feel welcome and included.”

Recognising that change should start within their own school, the young innovators held a whole-school tutorial on refugee issues and worked to develop their school’s tutoring system in a way that supported a role-model culture in the school. The team gave a performance at their Christmas show and at the local Direct Provision Centre. They held a number of events, which included a toy drive, mural painting, fundraisers, and language lessons for newly-arrived students from overseas.

The team held a flagship event, ‘Flight to Freedom’, which raised awareness about refugee rights by simulating the journey that refugees take when they flee.

They also created and printed a children’s book called The Gingerbread Man’s Flight to Freedom in an effort to explain the issue to children in an accessible way.

A board game called ‘Lilav’s Journey’ was produced by the young changemakers, and the team has plans to distribute the game to primary schools all over Monaghan.

The group also created an app called ‘Monaghan Welcomes You’, designed to provide essential information about local services in a variety of languages.  They were awarded €1,000 by Monaghan County Council to further develop this aspect of their project. 

They worked hard to spread their message throughout the community, spreading their message of inclusivity through social media and a poster campaign, and by participating in various media interviews.

The ‘We Are All Human’ team worked with various local and national groups, including local media and community organisations and the Irish Refugee Council.

Asked about the difference they made in their community, the students said

“We helped our school and our primary schools to be embrace refugee children new to our community. We tackled underlying negativity head-on, helping our community to understand that we are all only human and that everyone’s rights must be protected and promoted.”

Their efforts were further recognised when the Clones innovators scooped the silver award at the Young Social Innovators of the Year Awards 2019. The team was further recognised at the ceremony when they received the Global Citizens Award 2019 which is supported by World Wise Global Schools.