St. Catherine’s Community Services Centre supports 13 programme refugee families to adapt to their new life in Carlow. The aim of the project is that the families will be able to support themselves and access mainstream services independently. The group of families, who belong to Burma’s Rohingya minority, had been living in refugee camps in Bangladesh since 1992. Following a selection mission by the Resettlement Unit of the Office of the Minister of Integration, the refugees were accepted for resettlement in Ireland in 2009.
The project is based in Carlow town. A wide range of actions are funded including:
- Drop-in service
- Interpretation services
- Home visits and meetings to support independent living
- Youth groups, youth camps and homework support groups
- Men and women’s support groups
The resettlement project is facilitated in partnership with a number of agencies in Carlow.
St. Catherine's Community Services Centre is the lead agency and delivers the majority of the activities. For more information about the agencies involved in this process, please read the case study below.
This project completed in August 2012
A Resettlement Steering Committee was set up in advance of the arrival of the Rohingyan families to support the resettlement process. The purpose of the Committee was to oversee the resettlement process and to collaborate at an inter-agency level to provide supports.
Committee members, past and present include:
St. Catherine’s Community Services Centre, Carlow Local Authorities, Carlow Regional Youth Services, Carlow County Development Partnership, Gardaí, Carlow County Childcare Committee, The Integration Centre, Carlow VEC , Carlow Adult Learning Centre, HSE, Community Welfare Officer, Department of Social and Family Affairs, Carlow Citizens Information Centre, Primary Care Team, Psychology Service, National Education Welfare Board.
Our Resettlement Committee ensured that ‘arrival plans’ for the families were put in place before the families arrived. We have met every six weeks since then to oversee the development of the programme. At each committee meeting, the resettlement worker updates us on the work that has taken place. The meetings also provide a forum to discuss important matters such as mainstreaming, education and health and then to agree a co-ordinated response to any issues.
When required, we form sub-committees to oversee different aspects of the resettlement programme. For instance, we set up a befriending sub-group to support the work of the volunteer ‘befrienders’. The volunteers provided valuable assistance and moral support to the families in the first year of their arrival. We have also established a finance sub-committee to oversee how ERF project funding is spent.
As the project is coming to an end, many of our committee members have been involved in the development of the mainstreaming and exit strategy. Once again, our Resettlement Committee will oversee this strategy to ensure that members of the Rohingyan community will continue to access services and remain involved in the local community after the project ends.
Our Resettlement Steering Committee has been an essential part of the management of the resettlement programme. It has provided a formal structure for local agencies to work together to support the Rohingyan community. Our committee has been a great support to the development and implementation of the project.