The Gift of Coffee
This year, why not give the best gift to all – coffee for 300 members of our community! At a cost of 50 euro, this gift will bring neighbours together to discuss important issues affecting the community and give our youth workers an opportunity to reach out to the guardians of the most vulnerable children in our community.
Volunteers are the heart of Youth Release and the running of our programs. They are an invaluable resource and a huge asset to the communities we work in. The volunteer program not only brings support to the people that we are working with but is also hugely important in raising awareness about the problems facing young people in the developing world.
"I really enjoyed my experience volunteering with YR in Dire Dawa this August. Even though it was tough at times with some eye opening experiences, and cultural differences that were hard to understand, I found it very rewarding. I especially enjoyed the time I spent with the kids and even though it was short, I feel we made an impact on their lives. It is an experience I will never forget. Personally I have learned a lot from this trip and since I've been home I have been seeing and experiencing things a lot differently; I am more appreciative and grateful for all I have. The opportunity that Youth Release gave me this year was amazing and I'm very thankful for all the help and support I have received from Niamh and Laura and of course all my family and friends. I hope to help Youth Release in any way I can in the future to help them continue the amazing work that is being done in Genda Tesfa" -Aisling Kennedy
Mairead O Donovan
Despite all the research and meetings with YR, I could not have been prepared for what was to greet me during my time in Dire Dawa. One of the main issues that left me reeling was the lack of basic necessities and everyday resources that we take for granted. Despite the lack of basic resources and facilities there is huge sense of community and everyone is willing to get involved. The community are working together in a very positive way to promote education and the overall development of the area. During my stay I found the home visits most difficult; large families are living in poor conditions but despite this are making the very best of life with the little they have. On return to my Ireland I hope to make my learning experience in Dire Dawa relevant and create awareness of the developing world with Irish children. It was a very worthwhile and humbling experience for me knowing I was able to offer my knowledge and experience in early childhood education to the staff at the centre and to the children through art, music , dance, English language, sport and play.The children were very grateful for us just being there - working along side them and teaching them new skills and games. This was my reward from volunteering, the staff, children, community and myself have earned many memories from the experience
Deirdre O Sullivan
You'll never meet children as happy and loving as the street children in Dire Dawa - and these are children who have dealt with more hardships and difficulties in their short lives than most do in a lifetime. The weeks I spent volunteering with Youth Release were the most rewarding and fun filled of my life! Although at first it was difficult to deal with the extreme poverty of the region, I found that the positives of the trip soon helped with that, especially as the children were so upbeat and grateful for our time and attention. I realised that, even in my short time there I had the opportunity to make a difference to their education and give them lasting memories of a happy childhood. At the same time I knew my fundraising was being invested in their futures and the future generations. Youth Release is a fantastic group to volunteer with. No one knows Dire Dawa as well as they do, their vision for the region is inspiring and they were brilliant in helping us with all aspects of the trip - preparation, fundraising, travelling, volunteering and maintaining lasting relationships. Dire Dawa and Youth Release will always have a place in my heart and I can't wait to go back to see how the project and the children are progressing.