Collaborations & partnerships are key to psychosocial work and in this respect, CMC collaborates with other stakeholders to deliver quality services and share best work practices. In this respect, the following initiatives have been made.
Collaboration with UCC: UCC, School of Psychology offers a post-graduate 5 credit module in Critical Community Psychology (AP 6177). The module’s focus is on examining how issues facing individuals are considered in relation to social processes, social structures and institutions across multiple levels of risk and resilience. The aim is to address community and social issues and to promote social justice and social inclusion. In a ground-breaking initiative, five service users of the Cork Migrant Centre, are currently participating in a 10 – week module of Critical Community Psychology (September 11th – November 27th 2018) in a mutual beneficial undertaking with benefits to both parties involved. The five participants are all women from the CMC’s women coffee mornings. Four of the women are asylum seekers and reside at the Kinsale Road Accommodation Centre and one of them resides in cork city. The women’s age mirrors that of the UCC course participants. As part of the module, AP 6177 class, inclusive of these five women, undertake three community visit which comprises participating in three of CMC’s women coffee mornings, as a way of bridging the distance between the students and asylum seeking population living in direct provision centres. This initiative is beneficial to both UCC, Psychology students, migrant women and to CMC in that: For the psychology students, it is an opportunity to engage with individuals from diverse ethnic migrant individuals provides them with a rare but critically important platform to unpack and reflect on risk and resilience processes embedded in the day to day lives of these mothers and their children that then feeds into culturally sensitive psychological practice. For CMC participants, at an individual level, they gain the skills and knowledge to reflect and research on critical issues that impact on themselves, their families and their community with the aim of being participatory players in designing a research/case study/intervention project on an issue and/or problem that pertains to them. At a social level, they get an opportunity for fostering and nurturing social networks towards community connectedness. At a psychological level, they are empowered as a result of being given a voice and agency to influence their lives and that of their community. For CMC Organization, along with all the benefits to its group members, CMC benefit by having an evidence-based research project that can then inform its activities/programs. The program is in progress
Collaboration with Lockdown PR and Modelling Agency: CMC is collaborating with this Cork based Public Relations and modelling agency to deliver weekly workshops to the hip-hop youth group. The workshops include: teaching the youth model walk, make-up masterclasses with renown make-up artists; hair masterclasses; styling masterclasses; and working towards supporting the youth to put on their own mini fashion show. This is a pertinent issue because these teenagers are at a developmental stage (13-16) in which body image is a big deal and issues of beauty are very much driven by the media with implications on self-esteem and confidence depending on the goodness of fit between one’s body specifications, whether in weight, height, skin colour, hair style or dressing style and that which is upheld by the media or society. These workshops are about teasing out these issues in an empowering way.
The youth who attend the hip/hop/modelling workshops have also formed a youth group that engages in discussions on issues that pertains to them based on lived experiences. Their youth leader, a former asylum seeker herself, recently applied and was accepted on an EU Long-Term Training Course – ‘Youth Together’ at the European Youth Centre in. The plan is for the youth worker to engineer partnerships with other migrant youth leaders from other European programs for the purpose of applying and delivering European funded youth programs at CMC.
Collaboration with UCC Netsoc & Blizzard Entertainment: CMC has recently formed a collaboration with Blizzard Entertainment and UCC Netsoc Society & UCC staff engaged in City of Sanctuary movement advocacy group to set up a codordojo club for asylum seeking youth (mainly from Drishane Castle, Millstreet who experience great isolation). Blizzard is one of the most popular and well-respected makers of computer games. They create well-designed, highly enjoyable entertainment experiences. They have developed games like Diablo, World Warcraft, Over Watch, StarCraft, Heroes of the Storm and Hearthstone among others. Netsoc is UCC’s networking and gaming society (Gamers & Tech Nerds) who have experience in running Codordojo program for school children in the local Cork community. In this collaboration, Blizzard will provide fully equipped rooms, expertise in the form of coders and lunch. Netsoc will set up the Codordojo club and provide support in the form of volunteers to co-facilitate the Codordojo sessions. The facilitators will also play a key role of acting as mentors for these young girls and boys.
The program is scheduled to commence on in January, 2019 and continue with no scheduled end date. Part of the plan is to engage the CMC Codordojo club on a project towards participating in a national competition
Collaboration with Crowley Opticians: CMC is collaborating with Barry O’Driscoll & Emer O’Mahony from Crowley Opticians by facilitating them to provide over-all eye health (inclusive of eye-tests) to all the five direct provision centres in Cork. There has been an overwhelmingly huge indication of interest in this service and currently the eye testing logistics are underway. In addition, Crowley opticians have made an undertaking to get involved in one initiative in support of direct provision children or families per month within reason, identified by CMC. They have also made a commitment to provide developmentally appropriate toys to the babies and toddlers in our mother and baby/toddler group.
All these programs and initiative support the psychosocial wellbeing of asylum-seeking children living in direct provision centres ranging from babies & toddlers (mother & baby/toddler group), middle childhood (8-11 visual arts group) and teenagers (13-16) by enhancing their human capacity (physically through creative activities, emotionally by experiencing positive emotions and having an outlet for negative emotions, cognitively by learning new things and skills, problem solving, team work, exhibition/performance skills etc in structured activities and also availing mentorship opportunities. The activities also enhance social ecology by creating opportunities for social engagement and community participation therefore enhancing social inclusion opportunities.