Ennis Educate Together nominated for aid award
Written by Dearbhla Acheson
|THE Ennis Educate Together National School on the Gort Road is one of only 11 primary schools nationwide to be shortlisted for this year’s Our World Irish aid Awards.The awards ceremony will take place in Dublin Castle on February 17, where the overall winner will be announced.
The Our World Irish Aid Awards is an annual primary schools initiative, which encourages children to create projects around global development issues. These projects include art, drama, essays, poetry, film and music.
The Educate Together National School project entitled Education is The Key has earned them a much coveted place on the shortlist.
The project was undertaken by pupils of the school’s fifth class, under the supervision of their teacher Clair Hahessy. She told the class about the Irish World Aid Awards when the information about the competition came to the school in the autumn. “Both the children and I were very interested in the awards and agreed that we would put together a project for the awards. This is the first time I’ve entered a project into the competition,” she commented.
A spokeswoman for the awards explained that the Our World Irish Aid Awards is an annual primary schools programme, now in its sixth year, which encourages pupils across Ireland to consider the lives of children in developing countries. “With the help of their teachers, the students explore the day-to-day challenges faced by children of their own age in other countries. They then create projects on their findings, using a huge variety of mixed media, from art, drama and essays to poetry, film and music,” she said. The theme of this year’s awards is A Better Future for All the World’s Children. The programme is run by Irish Aid at the Department of Foreign Affairs. The core aim of the Our World Irish Aid Awards is to broaden the knowledge and understanding among young people of the Millennium Development Goals, as well as the work of Irish Aid in partnership with developing countries.
More than 17,000 children from 700 primary schools across Ireland participated in this year’s awards.
Ms Hahessy explained they decided to work on a project based on the second of the Millenium Development Goals, which has the objective of achieving universal primary education.
“Education is about creating a better future. We researched this topic and decided how we would demonstrate the theme. The children wanted to make a film for their project. They devised the short film, scripted it and performed it themselves, while my role was behind the camera, overseeing their work,” she said.
She added that they showed the past, present and future in their three-minute film, which is broken up into five short scenes, depicting a scene in the Irish Aid office where education in Zambia is being discussed, a scene with a girl in Zambia talking about how she’d love to go to school, and a scene set in a classroom in Zambia. One of the scenes brings viewers to 2015, to show the impact of primary education for children in Zambia. “Pupils from my class acted all of these scenes themselves and I think they did a really good job. Each student brought the film to their family and friends for them to watch, thereby spreading the message and goals of Irish World Aid among our community. We also put together a book explaining our project and methodology,” Ms Hahessy remarked.
She added that the children thoroughly enjoyed the project and learned a lot from completing it. “It was an extremely worthwhile project for the children and it really opened their eyes to the importance of education for children and to the hardship that many children worldwide live with every day. Children in Ireland mainly take education for granted and often wish they didn’t have to go to school but this project definitely showed them that they are very lucky to get to school. It made them realise that children in developing countries aren’t sitting at home doing nothing because they’re not at school but instead are out working very hard to provide for their own families and communities. Many of the children didn’t know that, so it taught them some very important lessons,” the teacher said.
She commented that it is wonderful encouragement for her class that their project has been shortlisted as one of the top 11 projects in the awards scheme.
The awards ceremony will be held on Thursday, February 17, at Dublin Castle. Popular RTÉ TV presenter Rob Ross will act as master of ceremonies. One outstanding entry will receive the Our World Irish Aid Award, with runner-up projects receiving highly commended prizes.