The organisation manages and supports seven youth projects in Galway, Mayo, Donegal and Meath, engaging with over 1,500 young people aged between 10 and 25 every week. One such project in Meath has participated in Erasmus+, an EU-funded programme that offers the chance to study, train, volunteer or get work experience in another European country.
“Erasmus+ saw some young Irish people obtain their first Irish passport, go on a plane, leave their country and for some, leave their families for the first time,” says Kay McCabe, Senior Project Worker at Involve Youth Project in Meath.
Erasmus+ is managed in Ireland by Léargas. Kay says this support is vital in helping to tackle social exclusion in the travelling community and marginalised communities,
“It’s vital because we are still the only Traveller youth project taking on youth exchanges and European Solidarity Corps programme opportunities. Without the support, we never would have taken the Erasmus+ plunge.”
Kay says through the exchanges, young people explored what it meant to be a young person in Europe, but also what the label of Irish Traveller meant to them.
“We have seen the eyes of ‘tough’ 16-year-old Traveller boys light up while on a bus, driving through the cities in Spain, or the delight at trying to surf in Portugal.”
One of Involve’s staff, who is a member of the travelling community, was also part of a group of youth workers who worked in conjunction with National Youth Council of Ireland, and several other European partners, on a toolkit called‘Outside In’. Kay says,
“This helps combat hate speech on all levels. Being from an ethnic minority group, it was very important to have our staff member’s voice heard on this issue.
“Another young person, who was from a high-deprivation area, lost her father to suicide. She says that being supported by Involve has helped her get through one of the hardest times in her life. She is now going into her second year of college to become a youth worker.”
Kay says the project was all about mental health for young Travellers and the importance of coping skills and seeking help.
“Our group also devised their own mental health campaign for young Travellers called ‘No Shame’.
“Erasmus+ will open the minds and possibilities to the travelling community, by the wider community seeing what positive things young Travellers are capable of. It will make our society more inclusive.”
- Áiteanna an tionscadail
- Co. Galway, IrelandCo. Mayo, IrelandCo. Donegal, IrelandCo. Meath, Ireland