Social disadvantage, or social deprivation, is an issue very close to my heart. I don’t know why, considering I only learned of the true extent of social inequality this year. I think it began when I noticed a little boy on the Luas last September. He caught my attention because he looked similar to my nephew. Then I noticed his mother. She was rolling a joint on the Luas. He was saying ‘Ma put it out quick before they catch you’, and she didn’t even hear him. She was swaying back and over, and then she fell. He helped her up, and she stumbled off at the next stop. I heard a man next to me say ‘She’s back on the gear’, (I am presuming he meant drugs of some sort). The worst part of this whole sorry tale was the fact that a guard got on, (shortly after she dropped her illegal substance) and saw the state she was in, and didn’t intervene! Now how that child had dinner that night, or help with his homework, I’ll never know.
I’ve met them on the Luas several times since, and little has changed. It leads me to question how she still has custody of her six children. I have never seen her in a lucid state. And, I have been told there’s worse out there. It is simply appalling. I know social workers in Ireland are over-worked and under-staffed, but surely something could be done to remove these innocent children from such precarious situations?
If parents are unfit to look after their children due to alcohol or drug abuse, then who is responsible?
I was briefly involved in an after school facility in my area which was very rewarding, but I ‘m ashamed to admit the DIP took precedent and I was just too busy to continue with it. I am however hopeful to start it up again this summer.

 

 

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I worked briefly in a school where some of the children came from a troubled home, and it was heartbreaking. I just couldn’t switch off. I was always wondering if they were okay or being looked after, I still do think of them and worry about them. In a way the teachers in that school were part teacher part social worker in my opinion. I was truly in awe of the work they did with these children and their families.

 

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Children are just so vulnerable, and it makes me so mad to think their success in life depends on their parents. Is it the child’s choice whether they end up a drug addict sitting on O’Connell Bridge, or a high flying business person in the IFSC? In my opinion they don’t have a choice. That may sound far-fetched to some but I think it is the true extent of the problem. Some children just draw the short straw and it is quite simply, not fair.
There are many charities which help children. I tend to go with Barnardos because their website is great with loads of teaching resources, so to me it is the most accessible. My class and I have been raising money for Barnardos since January. So far we have raised sixty euro. We will be hosting an event in our school in June where we hope to have a little gathering to raise awareness for Barnardos and the work they do. The children are planning a disco and they hope to sell some of the beautiful creations they made in art. I think it’s great to get them involved, and to see how those less fortunate than them live.

 

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Also, 100% of the sales of my Caitheamh Aimsire Irish resource on my website will go directly towards Barnardos. It’s so easy to host an event for Barnardos in your school, and they send out a pack too with collection buckets and balloons and such. The work they do for disadvantaged families and children is outstanding. And from a slightly selfish point of view, it’s a worthy exercise for my class too.[pb_builder]

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