Irish NGO wins EU prize for migrant integration project
2015-12-15 11:27:16 -

Third Age CEO Áine Brady speaking at the EESC Civil Society Prize presentation



An initiative by elderly support NGO Third Age aimed at integrating older migrants has won an EU prize for outstanding projects combating poverty and social exclusion.


Fáilte Isteach won the Civil Society Prize of €9,000 awarded by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), an EU body based in Brussels.


The Irish project was one of five – including schemes in Germany, Finland, France and Poland – chosen from a longlist of 100 based in countries all over the EU.


The Third Age-run project is community based and sees older volunteers working with new migrants and refugees to Ireland by giving English conversation classes.


Started 10 years ago in Summerhill, Co Meath, Fáilte Isteach is now a national movement. Each week more than 2,200 students – migrants, asylum seekers and refugees – benefit from tuition from over 750 volunteers.


Speaking after receiving the award, Third Age chief executive Áine Brady said: “I am delighted that the programme and the benefits it is bringing to communities across Ireland are being recognised. 


“I am proud of the response of the Irish people to our initiative and I am accepting this award on behalf of our 800 volunteers whose commitment, enthusiasm and good will make the programme the success it is.


“Each week they give freely of their time to extend the hand of friendship to others and it is great to see them receiving the applause they deserve. It is most significant to have our project validated at European level.”


According to the EESC, all the winning initiatives present snapshots of what is being done by thousands of voluntary groups and NGOs across Europe.


Each of the projects tackles the 2015 theme of ‘combating poverty’ in its own way and demonstrates that poverty undermines all aspects of well-being in society, including education, long-term health, housing, access to employment and family relationships, it adds.


“In awarding the 2015 Civil Society Prize, the EESC rewards outstanding initiatives aimed at combating poverty in Europe by improving economic and social inclusion,” said EESC president George Dassis. “I am proud to be able to congratulate the honourable winners of the 2015 EESC Civil Society Prize on their achievements.


“I also take this opportunity to commend, on behalf of all my colleagues representing European civil society vis-a vis the institutions, all the women and men fighting courageously to alleviate suffering, to reduce the impact of poverty – or banish it altogether – in their own countries.”

TAGS : NGO NGO Third Age EU European Economic and Social Committee EESC
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