STUDENTS at a Limerick school are learning about the causes of poverty, crime and homelessness before putting their skills to use to help people affected.
At Crescent College Comprehensive SJ, a Jesuit-run school in Dooradoyle, transition year students are using a website to find out about social justice issues affecting citizens here and in other countries.
The initiative of the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice is also available for schools around the country to help focus young people on the problems facing families around the world and the level of inequalities in global societies.
“We’ve learned loads about human rights and how everyone deserves a fair chance in life. It’s something we could look into and try to change, but it’s more up to whoever’s in government, they have the power to do things,” said Crescent Comprehensive student Jack Varley from Raheen.
Classmate Lauren O’Meara from Ballyclough said using a website to learn these things made it far more interesting, with a range of videos and fact sheets informing students about issues such as homelessness and crime, and profiles of people working in Ireland with citizens affected by social injustice.
Another transition year student, David O’Leary, found the use of quotes from people like Bob Dylan and Gandhi to be one of the site’s main appeals.
The school’s co-ordinator of ethos Dermot Cowey said the service is a great preparation for students for their social placement programme, which gives fifth year students a chance to spend time in workplaces such as homes for the elderly and a hostel for the homeless.
“The Jesuit philosophy is about getting young people to go out and do things about injustice, it might not be straight away but the things they learn here will help them to question injustice and inequality through their lives,” he said.
Eoin Carroll who helped develop the website at the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice said the aim is to help young people learn about things going on around them in a tough economic and social environment.
“In relation to homelessness, for example, we are explaining the causes are not just social issues like drug use but also things like access to employment,” he said.
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