“Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board centres are providing me with the confidence I desire to integrate in the Irish communities.”
I am Innocent Umezuruike Iroaganachi and I am an asylum seeker residing in Ennis, Co. Clare.
Prior to reaching out to the International Protection Office (IPO) in Dublin to seek asylum, most of the information I came across stated that asylum seekers have to wait until they receive a positive reply from the state before they can be allowed to have access to educational and training opportunities in Ireland.
While in Miltown’s Centre of Limerick Clare Education and Training Board, I enrolled for the Creative Writing and Local History Courses. This contributed to giving me the courage to write and get some of my writings published in some Clare based newspapers. (You can read one of Innocent's writings in the The Clare Champion). Through the local history course, I know the basic history of Irish people, especially Clare County. The tutors and trainers I have encountered are just lovely.
The opportunities I am currently receiving through Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board are providing me with the confidence to integrate in the Irish communities, as well as skills to have better chance of accessing the labour market in Ireland.
The fascinating thing about all the educational and training opportunities I have undertaken and am currently undergoing is that they are being offered to me for free. Who pays for them and how they are being financed, I do not know, but I am very grateful. The tutors and trainers I have encountered are just lovely. Sometimes I feel like giving each of them a warm hug. They do not expect much from me, except to show that I am capable and ready to internalise what they are offering.
Currently, I am enrolled in the Cambridge English Course and Introduction to Information Communication Technology/Computer Application Course in Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board’s Ennis Centre. The ICT/Computer class is making my already fair knowledge of ICT and computers more efficient and effective. Even though my level of English is fairly okay, being part of the Cambridge English class is having a big impact on me. For instance, I am much more aware of some grammatical errors. Thus, conversation and writing has been made much easier and more fluent.
"Not being able to afford the cost of some important services you desire and need for personal development, especially with regards to education, can be very frustrating."
I still intend to pursue my PhD in media studies in the future. Moreover, I still desire to continue teaching, for which the above two courses are very important steps in the right direction. I feel lost when some people ask me ‘what will you do if and when the Irish government gives you a positive response on your application for asylum?’ After a pause, I respond ‘nothing’. This is because I am already exploring opportunities that are beneficial to my future aspirations. It will make no difference having the document bearing a positive response. In fact, it will be an added advantage, because I will not be going back to start learning.
Not being able to afford the cost of some important services you desire and need for personal development, especially with regards to education, can be very frustrating. The mere thought of not being able to pay for education can make you abandon your dreams. But that seems not to be the case. Even though I do not have it all as I would have loved to, at least there are accessible basic steps that I can access, which will contribute to fulfilling my ultimate desire of contributing to knowledge. I have heard about sanctuary Universities in Ireland, assisting and offering scholarships to asylum seekers. That is compassionately brilliant! In addition to the confidence I have gained, the local and international publications I now have under my name will be a boost to granting me easy access to doctoral studies in the future.
Thinking of returning to education as an adult? You may find the following resources useful:
Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board: https://lcetb.ie/
One Step Up: www.onestepup.ie
Fetch Courses: https://www.fetchcourses.ie/
To find out more about Universities of Sanctuary Ireland, go to https://ireland.cityofsanctuary.org/universities-and-colleges-of-sanctuary