Jubilant scenes from UCC Spring Conferring Ceremony where 21 women from the Traveller Community graduated having completed the Level 6 and Level 7 Leadership in the Community programme. Graduates were joined by family, Traveller Advocacy Groups and programme lecturers to celebrate their success.
Anne Burke of the Southern Traveller Health Network said the course will be life changing for those who took part:
“We need people within the community to show leadership, and this empowers them to do that. This course will change lives. The rate of second level education among Travellers is atrocious, so to have these women avail of third level education is life-changing – not just for them but for their families and their wider communities. Here we have women who never benefited from education but who had the ability to go on and achieve this. It shows that people, with the right support, can achieve things” she said.
Developed in response to community need, the Level 6 and Level 7 Leadership in the Community programme was co-created by the Southern Traveller Health Network (STHN); Adult and Continuing Education (ACE), supported by Access UCC and funded by the SOAR Project. It serves as a model of innovative practice in creating an inclusive learning environment that enables Traveller participation in higher education as noted by Anne Burke:
“ACE in UCC were phenomenal to us. They let us design the course and classes, they listened to our voice and acknowledged that we are the experts on our own community. Without them, and the funding from the SOAR Project, this wouldn’t have happened.”