Young people in Direct Provision say 'happiness is seeing life without struggle'

Young people in Direct Provision say 'happiness is seeing life without struggle'
Icons of Mosney. Pics: Seamus Farrelly

'My happiness does not come from money and fame. My happiness comes from seeing life without struggle,' is just one of the powerful messages by 17 young people living in Direct Provision who have launched a new book.

The young people from Mosney, Co. Meath devised 'The Icons of Mosney' to celebrate integration with new skills and emphasise that no-one is defined by where they are from or where they live.

The participants are all between the ages of 14-35 and their heritage covers nine different countries.

Through the book, all 17 demonstrate new skills such as photography, public speaking and stage production learned during the project as well as their own existing skills of fashion and graphic design, dancing and music.

Young people in Direct Provision say 'happiness is seeing life without struggle'

The work is a culmination of six months work between the Mosney Direct Provision Centre and Youth Work Ireland Meath and is funded by the Department of Justice and Equality Community Intergration Fund

"This project is about celebrating the abilities and talents of the young people and about the new skills, through photography that they learned," said Nicky McDonnell of Youth Work Ireland Meath.

"Integrating the participants with our other services and young people, showing them the various projects and groups that they can be part of.

"What the project found was that despite differences in their backgrounds, integration can still happen and be embraced.

"We wanted to show that it doesn't matter where you are or live in life, it's about enveloping all the opportunities that are available to them through Youth Work Ireland Meath

"It was hard to get some of these people in pictures as their own self-esteem is so low that they didn't think they were worthy of being photographed.

"We chose Trim Castle as the location as we felt it encompassed the new Ireland with the old Ireland."

All those who took part have origins in Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Angola, Ghana, Liberia, Zambia, Libya, sudan, Egypt and Malawi.

Young people in Direct Provision say 'happiness is seeing life without struggle'

Icons of Mosney is filled with thought-provoking messages from each of the young people such as Precious Shamiso Matumba who says: "My struggles have sharpened me into this rare gem of a woman I am. I rise! I am right where I'm supposed to be and if there is anything I have discovered about myself in my journey, it is that I matter and self love is the beginning of all healing."

Mary Adjayi wrote: "There's nothing so beautiful than a smile that has struggled through tears" while Esther Tyam said: "I feel like God has given me a second chance to live my life. I feel like an African Queen.

"I'm just a young girl but I had to leave my country to change the course of my life," said Fatima Contreiras who continued: "Understand that you are not more or less than anyone by being where you are or by having or not having something."

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