Because of the lockdown, social enterprises have been unable to collect donations for Direct Provision centres. Now, they've launched their Christmas campaigns, collecting clothes, vouchers and other contributions.
This year has been difficult and fraught at times, but there have been positives to come from these struggles. Following the death of George Floyd and the global Black Lives Matter protests, Direct Provision Centres were brought to the front of Irish conversations about racism. However, the result of these conversations and outpourings of support has been a government roadmap to ending Direct Provision by 2023.
In the meantime, a number of social enterprises have been set up to collect donations for people living Direct Provision. They aim to improve the daily lives of those living in Direct Provision right now by providing centres with the essentials so they don’t have to spend their weekly stipend on things like nappies and hand wash.
Two of Ireland’s biggest social enterprises collecting Direct Provision donations – Lets Help Direct Provision and Direct Provision Donations – have just launched their Christmas campaigns, which are desperately needed. Due to the second lockdown, they have had to pause all their usual collections, where they’d normally provide inhabitants with basic necessities like toothbrushes, soap, sanitary products, masks and clothes.
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Direct Provision Donations are looking for new toys and coats, and also plan to buy some Christmas presents from small Irish businesses. Due to COVID restrictions, they can only accept new items.
People living in Direct Provision have said that vouchers to do their own shopping would be very helpful. One 4 All vouchers that can be used in multiple places would be ideal.
Once lockdown has lifted, they have Dublin drop-off locations in Raheny, Rathmines, Ballsbridge, Stepaside, Kiliney, Clontarf, Fingal, Walkinstown, Harold’s Cross. Nationally, there are also similar donation spots in Galway, Mayo, Wicklow, Meath, Kildare, Laois, Louth, Limerick, Cavan, Clare, Sligo, Offaly and Cork. Just get in touch via Instagram and they’ll be able to give you specific details.
If you are unable to donate items at the minute, there are two Go Fund Me pages (here and here), where you can donate whatever amount you like to help pay for the purchase of gifts and vouchers for those living in Direct Provision.
Lets Help Direct Provision has also set up a Patreon where all the funds will go towards Christmas presents this year. The starting rate is €3.20, all of which will go to children’s presents. Donate €8.25 and Let’s Help will give a €25 Leap Card to a centre, while a €29.80 donation gives a €50 One 4 All voucher to a person living in Direct Provision.
If these things seem small, you need to remember that so many of the freedoms we take for granted are not available to people living in Direct Provision. They can’t currently hold a driver’s license and gaining employment is difficult due to additional requirements placed on the employers if they would like to hire someone who is living in Direct Provision.
These gifts, vouchers and travel cards go a long way to giving a sense of independence to a group of people who have already been through so much.
Read more: This is what you need to know about direct provision
Read more: What would the end of Direct Provision look like? New report lays out a roadmap
Read more: Bang Bang cafe raise €20,000 in 24 hours for Christmas presents for children in Direct Provision