MIA women’s group held a very successful silk painting workshop recently in Ballyhaunis. The workshop was facilitated by Brid Kivneen and was a great success. Each woman dyed and made their own silk scarf.
The group, made up of residents from 'The Old Convent' Direct Provision Centre in Ballyhaunis has been meeting for more than six months now on a weekly basis in Ballyhaunis. They have participated in leadership training; information sessions on rights and entitlements; women’s health; stress management sessions as well as a variety of arts and crafts activities over the last six months.
Recently, they completed a communal quilt under the guidance of Carmel Balfe. This is now on display in MIA offices in Castlebar.
Felicia, a member of group said: "I liked everything ... so I cannot say for sure which one of them I liked best - everything has been good but still sewing was really perfect - how I wish we can do that again! It’s so great to commune, interact and also have fun! It makes our lives here much better and reduces our stress"
Thérèse Ruane, Co-ordinator of MIA said: "This is an amazing group of women; more than 30 women come together on a weekly basis; they never miss it.
Living in a direct provision hostel is very difficult; it is very stressful and many people are waiting for 3 or 4 years waiting and waiting indefinitely. During that time, they are not allowed to work and receive 19.10 euro per week per adult. This is an intolerable existence.
A women’s group like this is so important. It gives them the strength to go on; it builds solidarity and reduces their sense of isolation. And it’s great fun!"