Including everybody: ‘If language is a barrier, use a smile’
On November 19, the community of Ballymahon and its environs came together in celebration of all the different cultures and Nationalities living in the area for World Integration Day.
There was an array of food, music and dance from different countries. This event was funded by Longford County Council under the Community Grants Fund.
“Ballymahon is not unique in the fact it has now became a cosmopolitan town,” stated Grace Kearney, Project Coordinator of Bridgeways Family Resource Centre.
“There are a minimum of 28 different cultures living in Ballymahon.
The theme of the celebration this year was to celebrate TCKs (Third Culture Kids). These are children that are living in Ireland, have made Ireland their home but their parents have a different Nationality.
Natalia Bialoszewska, Maks Napieralski and Midia Khalaf spoke about their experiences of being a TCK and how they hope to live, study and hopefully one day work in Ireland. Natalia aspires to be a teacher, Maks aspires to be an engineer and Midia aspires to be a dentist.
“TCKs can and will make a massive impact and improvement in our community. However, integration is key; we must integrate all communities in order to live harmoniously,” Ms Kearney explained.
“Bridgeways FRC works with all members of the community, however a sense of belonging comes from participating and getting involved in the community.As a community we need to be embracing all new cultures and learning from each other.
“If language is a barrier, use a smile or a simple handshake to break the barrier between the cultures.”
Bridgeways FRC hosts conversational English Classes on a Thursday from 11am to 12.30pm. These classes are free and are open to anyone who wishes to improve their conversational English skills.
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer tutor please contact Fiona or Barbara on 0906432691.