Témoignages - 9 October 2015

en - Dun Laoire Refugee Project

I was invited to help with the project in 2002 shortly after I returned from my 34 years mission in New Zealand .

Dun Laoire Refugee Project is operating for the past 15 years.

There was an average of 20 volunteers, with active roles, very committed to “Befriending our new Irish”. In general they were young and came from 35 different countries. It touched me to see the diversity of cultures in my homeland. The two hostels in my parish were blessed with generous and friendly caretakers. These hostels were overcrowded and unsafe in ways!

A great joy when families were awarded more independent accommodation. I recall one morning driving a mother and her three young children to a large and safer place.

On our arrival the first gesture was to pray together in thanksgiving. John, aged 10 was told to lead the prayer. His spontaneous prayer from the heart lasted several minutes, all very moving.

Mother suffered serious eye injury from severe beating by military in Kinshasa. Soon afterwards, her eye was totally removed in hospital. Both she and her husband were devastated. In time a new artificial eye was implanted. I accompanied Constance to several appointments to see her ophthalmic specialist . He was most attentive in matching an identical eye colour.

Generally , doctors and medical services are very generous to our refugee people. Our own Celtic history and background struggled with Famine, starvation and inevitable emigration.

Many of those same young people have now achieved professional and creative status in Ireland. It is touching to see how often they invite former volunteers to join them in their celebrations of recognition and achievement.

Ongoing regular gatherings are available for those who wish.

 Bridget Shannon LSA Ballybrack Co Dublin

( For more details see WWW.DRP.IE - Irish Refugee Council.ie with lots of information, Go down & click ABOUT, ( see Annual Reports 2015)