WHILE the majority of parents earning a wage or on social welfare payments struggle to meet the costs of sending children to secondary school, families in Direct Provision have no hope of doing so on less than €39 a week.
The Limerick-based charity, “Every Child is Your Child,’ has set up a GoFundMe appeal to help 45 children in asylum seekers centres in Limerick and 700 around the country buy what they need to go to school.
A spokesperson for the charity told the Limerick Post: “there is no way that parents living in direct provision can meet the cost of providing for their children in second level.
“Children are going to school with out the books they need or where the school runs a book rental scheme, parents still have to try to pay the rental money and buy the workbooks which aren’t part of the scheme.”
The spokesperson said that it is “the child who is being affected. Some teachers copy pages of text for the children and some have to share the books but when it comes to homework assignments, they can’t do them unless they have the text books. They are losing out.”
“The children living with all the issues that come with direct provision tell us that the one place they feel like everybody else is when they are at school. We want to do all we can to make sure that works for them and they do feel different of they can’t have schoolbooks like everybody else.”
People living in Direct Provision are not entitled to any social welfare payments, the once-a-year back-to-school allowance is a small drop in the ocean to cover all back-to-school-related costs. It is a huge burden and challenge for parents living in Direct Provision as they must manage these expenses on a living allowance of €38.80 a week.
The average cost for a secondary school child is €1,400 according to research by Barnardos.
“Our goal is simple: to provide each of these 700 students with a €30 gift card to help cover back-to-school essentials. By doing so, we aim to ease the burden on parents and empower these students to focus on their education.”
Donations can be made on the ‘Empower School Students in Direct Provision‘ page.