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Author: Maruof
Category: News

St Geralds College Embarks on Mural Project at Safe Ireland Mayo Refuge

St Geralds College has taken on a heartwarming project to paint a vibrant mural on an outside wall of the women’s refuge center, Castlebar. The project aimed to bring colour, positivity, and hope to the residents of the centre while showcasing the artistic talents of the students involved.

The initiative was part of the student's participation in the Young St. Vincent de Paul programme. The Young SVP Programme aims to teach young people about the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, its ideas and how the SVP works towards social justice. The Young SVP programme plays a very significant role within the society. It gives students the opportunity to get involved in positive social justice action within their local community.

women's refuge muralThe students decided in their brainstorming session that they would like to do something to stand up to violence against women and to do what they could to help. Students worked tirelessly to design and execute the mural, which features uplifting imagery and messages of solidarity and empowerment. ‘We decided to go with nature and open green spaces, we wanted the mural to be peaceful, the mural includes trees, rivers, mountains and images of nature that we hope will evoke a sense of peace and hope in the lives of those who are staying in the refuge’ explained Aaron one of the members of the Young SVP group. ‘We were very aware of the space that we were in and that we had to show respect during our time there’ continued Aarron.

The local SVP Education Conference St Aloysius Conference funded the project and welcomed the collaboration between SVP, Safe Ireland Mayo and the local school.

Safe Ireland Mayo is under the governance of Safe Ireland and is the front-line agency in County Mayo working with women and their children experiencing domestic abuse & coercive control.  ‘Thank you so much to the TY students of St. Geralds and everyone involved for creating this colorful, bright and fun mural.  It is a very welcome additional ray of sunshine here. - Safe Ireland Mayo

Safe Ireland Mayo offer a range of supports in County Mayo:  Refuge Accommodation - Crisis refuge accommodation located in Castlebar.  5 units of self-contained accommodation, 4 family units and 1 single unit.Outreach Supports – at various locations in the County to meet with women face to face to offer support & information on the rights and entitlements. Outreach locations are in: Achill, Ballina, Ballinrobe, Belmullet, Ballyhaunis, Castlebar, Charlestown, Claremorris, Louisburgh, Kiltimagh, Swinford, Westport. Children’s Supports - support for children in outreach and refuge including individual programs of support and group work

The local Society of St Vincent de Paul built the Refuge with the help of the Archdiocese of Tuam that donated the site and the local Sisters of Mercy who contributed a substantial donation. However, it is Safe Ireland that manages the Mayo Womens Support Services (MWSS).

The St Aloysius Conference is a group of SVP volunteers that supports students (for example with bursaries, Occupational Therapy, psychology assessments, etc.) up to and including third level.

‘I think this is a very important project within the community. Understanding the seriousness of violence against women and coercive control is crucial for young men as it empowers them to break the cycle of abuse, promote healthy relationships, and contribute to building a safer and more respectful society for all. This project not only makes the space nicer aesthetically but also signifies that people within the community are there to help. In the SVP we try to help people to participate fully in society and reach out to people who may be on the margins of society and so for us this project was a really beautiful way to show women and families who are dealing with this situation, that we are here and want to help’ explained Helen Ralph, Youth Development Officer for SVP in the West.

It is hoped that this project will inspire other schools to get involved with the Young SVP programme in their area, and organisations to undertake similar initiatives that promote inclusivity and compassion.

Contact Details for the above services:

Safe Ireland, Mayo:  Tel numbers:  094 90 25409 / 087 6569672


St Aloysius Education Conference:

Young SVP: 0861438675

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