County Tipperary Welcomes Syrian Refugees
Shatila refugee camp Beirut, Lebanon.
Ireland has a long tradition of providing sanctuary to refugees dating back over 60 years to when Hungarian refugees first came here fleeing political persecution. More recently, under the Irish Refugee Protection Programme, we have focused on refugees from the Middle East. These refugees have been living in UNHCR camps in Lebanon and Jordan. Under the IRPP, Ireland has committed to welcoming up to 2,900 Syrians between 2020 and 2023.
In 2000, County Tipperary was chosen as a resettlement venue and TETB immediately began working with its community partners to welcome the refugees and provide English language classes
Widespread ongoing COVID 19 restrictions have hampered the arrival of many participants, slowing the pace of the programme, however 17 families are currently settled in Tipperary, and plans are in place for a further 28.
Thirty -nine adult Syrians now attend intensive English classes with TETB. Most of the students have low levels of English, with many having little knowledge of the Roman alphabet. Materials for this level are difficult to find, especially for adults, and initially a lot of time was invested in creating and putting together materials to teach reading, writing, listening and speaking to pre-A1 language learners.
Due to the third wave of Covid 19 face-to-face classes have been interrupted temporarily but with the help of the Technology Equity Scheme, the resettlement workers, and our excellent tutors we have managed to go online.
TETB are delighted to be making a difference in the lives of these Syrian refugees and looks forward to welcoming other families soon.