LIMERICK-based non-profit organisation Doras is planning a major online event on December 9 to mark its 21st anniversary, while also reflecting on 21 years of the Direct Provision system and the campaign to end it.
Doras was established by a small group of dedicated volunteers back in 2000 as a response to the need to support migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, particularly those in Direct Provision.
The name Doras, the Irish for door, was chosen to symbolise an open welcoming door for new communities to Limerick and Ireland. Since then Doras, which is based on O’Connell Street in Limerick, has become one of the biggest organisations of its kind in the country with a growing regional and national reach.
John Lannon first got involved with the organisation as a volunteer back in 2006 and is now the CEO. He says the 21st anniversary is a hugely important milestone.
“We feel it’s important to honour the vision and dedication of the original founders of the organisation, and all those who have worked so hard to get us to where we are today. Doras is very much a community, and we belong to the community. Most importantly we are here to serve and protect the rights of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, who are among the most vulnerable in our society today.
“They are always front and centre in everything we do, and they are also our inspiration. Seeing the challenges that they face every day, and all they have had to overcome to be here, it powers us on. Ireland has a rich history of migration across the world. We left these shores in our droves and it’s so important we do all we can to support those who come to these shores seeking refuge, protection, and a better life.”
Doras is funded by fundraising, community donations, and from grants and support from various organisations.
The organisation is appealing for ongoing funds, as well as asking people to support its Christmas Appeal, which will help provide vouchers for food, clothing, and phone credit to the over 300 children and adults living in Direct Provision in the Limerick region.
On Thursday December 9 at 7pm Doras is holding a major anniversary event, which will reflect on the past, look to the future, and focus on the campaign to end Direct Provision.
The people of Limerick and beyond are invited to the online event. Guests include Doras co-founder and Life President Ann Scully, Dublin-based Syrian Journalist and former Limerick resident Razan Ibraheem as host, filmmaker and campaigner Caoimhe Butterly. There will also be a contribution from Minister Roderic O’Gorman, and further guests to be announced. Registration is free via Eventbrite and the link is at Doras.org.
From the early days when the focus on English language classes, outreach visits and charity donations, Doras has grown to provide a broad range of information, integration, and support services, as well as a dedicated advocacy and policy unit. Anti-trafficking programmes and combating racism is also part of this work, as is research into migrant mental health.
Doras also works with partners on refugee resettlement and community sponsorship programmes, supporting people from war-torn countries such as Syria and Afghanistan. The organisation is also very focused on the ongoing campaign to highlight concerns with the Direct Provision system, while working to ensure the government honours its commitment to end the system by 2024.