Youth Release is a voluntary run Irish organisation that was established in 2007 by a small group of students from Dublin City University Ireland. The organisation was set up in response to the dire poverty that thousands of children live in, in Ethiopia. Millions of children make their way through life impoverished, abandoned, uneducated, and malnourished, discriminated against, and neglected and vulnerable. For them life is a daily struggle to survival. Whether they live in urban centers or rural out posts, they risk missing out on their childhood. They are excluded from essential services such as hospitals and schools, lack the protection of family and community, and are often at risk of exploitation and abuse. For these children, childhood as a time to grow, play, learn and play safe is in effect meaningless (UNICEF, 2006).The main aim of the organisation is to support local organisations in the developing world to provide services to marginalised and vulnerable youth through the provision of educational and psychosocial support programs.
Youth Release is currently working with a local partner in Ethiopia providing an outreach service to disadvantaged and vulnerable youths. Services providing educational support, youth outreach, and social support are few and far between in the region. Youth Release is working at addressing this gap in service provision through the establishment of a youth centre and outreach service working with orphaned and vulnerable children from all backgrounds. Essentially Youth Release, together with our local partners, aims to give these children the opportunity to develop their own talents and areas of interest which they can use to build and channel their own future.
In August 2011, Youth Release in partnership with local partners opened a youth centre in Dire Dawa, Ethiopia. Since its establishment there are 275 children and adolescents enrolled in the programs being offered at the centre. For many of these children, it is the first time they have a place to go where they can play and just enjoy being children.
Youth Release is an entirely voluntary run organisation, there are 6 committee members that operate and run the organisation. There are 15 local staff members employed at the youth centre, they are responsible for the overall running of the programs on a daily basis. Youth Release members travel to Dire Dawa each year with a group of volunteers to meet with the staff and see how the centre is progressing.
Niamh, originally from Waterford, Ireland, has always been heavily involved in charitable work. She chaired the Dublin City University St. Vincent de Paul Society for two years. During her time as chairperson she established a soup run for the homeless in Dublin City and worked as a youth worker with vulnerable youths. Niamh also worked abroad on volunteer projects in Ethiopia and Zambia before conceiving the idea for Youth Release. Now a qualified Mental Health Nurse, she has dedicated herself to the project and is determined to provide for the needs of children who are marginalized in society.
Laura originally from Waterford, Ireland is a graduate of International Relations from Dublin City University, where she was heavily involved in and eventually chaired St. Vincent de Paul Society in 2007-2008. During her time as chairperson she coordinated a tutor program for disadvantaged children in North Dublin which continues to run on a weekly basis. Lauras experience of humanitarian work has empowered the project and kept the focus grounded on the needs of people in the developing world and how to work within these communities.
Lisa Connolly also from Waterford is a Freelance designer and the creative talent behind all Youth Releases marketing material on our site and our social networks.
Clare Walsh studied in LIT and is a qualified Social worker now working in Kilkenny. Clare manages our sponsorship program and keeps our sponsors up to date with the progress of kids in the programme
Daithi O Lionaird from Meath has background in business IT and worked on volunteering projects at
home and abroad, including homeless support and education projects.
We work in the second -largest city in Ethiopia; Dire Dawa. There are over 20,000 registered orphaned and vulnerable children in Dire Dawa.
The youth centre provides social, educational and health support for 275 orphaned and vulnerable children.
Youth Release has a small team of five volunteers who voluntary run Youth Release along with local staff who run the centre.
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