ERANO, the Omagh based refugee support group is sharing the love this Valentines with a ‘One Love’ – ‘Love for Humanity’ drop-in event planned to engage with local members of the refugee community, new communities, and visitors.
The occasion will celebrate a love for humanity with music, food, kids’ workshops, pancake flipping and a light lunch for every one that comes along.
The event will take place in the ERANO office at Omagh Community House, from 11am – 2.00pm. Visitors to the drop-in and in the area can add to a ‘One Love- Love for Humanity’ poster campaign, adding messages of support for the campaign whilst enjoying coffee and pancakes, the children can enjoy craft works creating their own heart themed crafts and face painting. Afterwards there will be a light lunch served and everyone is welcome to stay and mingle. ERANO staff will also be present if anyone needs advice or more information.
Speaking ahead of the event, Mary Lafferty, Project Manager with ERANO, said; “We are really excited about having this event on Valentines day, sharing the love from our community to each other, helping our refugees, asylum seekers, and new communities who are a key part of our community settle further knowing they have a lot of help and love around them.
“It is not easy for anyone to settle here and make the area home for them and their families, given how difficult the journey many have had to endure, displaced from their families, and leaving their countries through war, politics and financial hardship. When people arrive here, we have to show our humanity and support those needing that support and that is what our organisation does. The support received through the local Council for this project helps us counteract many of the negative stories out there and highlight those positive stories that never make it into mainstream media.
“The FODC area has welcomed and supported refugee, asylum seekers and new communities that arrive here proactively. I have heard so many times about the good neighbours and friends the refugees have made among the residents, and it is so positive and uplifting. ERANO is a huge part of the support network but without funding and backing we could not provide the services we do that promotes a diverse, safe, and integrated community that we can all share in and feel a sense of belonging too.”
“Now we have a functioning executive again I would urge our new Ministers to really think about the importance of all of our population in their decision making going forward and get beyond our tribal politics. We call on the new Executive to step up and take notice of the new migrant communities as a key community here, adding value to our region, economy, education and lives, and we want to continue to support them and assist their ability to smoothly and harmoniously settle here.”
Mary added, “Sadly, in recent months, there has been rising tensions against refugees and asylum seekers, we only have to look at the terrible atrocity in Dublin before Christmas as an example. ERANO want to work in harmony to ensure better engagement and understanding for our refugee community, we have to ensure this rhetoric doesn’t penetrate our areas, and we empower mutual understanding and respect for all our communities. It is essential we embrace and support refugees who are a growing percentage of our population and treat them as equal, not second-class citizens or we are at risk of creating unnecessary barriers and divisions, where harmony should be encouraged.” Mary concludes.
The ‘One Love’ ‘Love for Humanity’ event will be held at ERANO offices at Omagh Community House, from 11am-2pm on Wednesday, February 14 2024
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