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Here's how you can make Dublin a City of Sanctuary

You can get involved – it’s simple, say the organisers, who hope it will spread throughout the country.

CAN YOU MAKE the city you live in a sanctuary for everyone there?

That’s the aim of City of Sanctuary Dublin, which gets its official launch today at 4pm at the Garda and Camogie Grounds, Phoenix Park, Dublin 8.

It’s taking place in conjunction with the SARI SoccerFest and will see a multicultural entertainment line-up, with drummers, dancers, and more, and things to do for children.

What is a City of Sanctuary?

The idea of Dublin City of Sanctuary (DCOS) is to offer “a positive vision of a culture of hospitality for those in need of safety – refugees and asylum seekers”.

City of Sanctuary encourages communities to take pride in offering a place of safety for people whose lives are threatened.

“It’s a concept that at this point is spreading globally,” said Victoria Fradgely, one of the volunteers. “We felt it was time for it to start in Ireland. It’s starting in Dublin and hopefully it will spread. All we’re asking is for people to endorse the concept of City of Sanctuary.”

The organisers say:

We want to recognise their positive contribution to our towns and cities; to let them know they are welcome. We wish to make this a public welcome. The focus is on those people who are forced to seek sanctuary rather than voluntary migration or diversity in general. At the same time we intend that the process of working for a culture of hospitality will also benefit other migrant groups, as well as host communities.

Lassane Ouedraogo, a refugee living in Dublin said:

I believe this exciting initiative will bring people together – making new connections and creating understanding between existing communities and new ones.

Daniel Ayiotis, a local Dubliner and the Secretary of COS Dublin, explained:

“Its strength lies in the way that anyone can get involved – individuals, community/social /faith groups, the arts and business communities, health and information service providers, educational and advocacy organisations.”

Anyone can be a part no matter how much or little they have to offer. Simply by making a pledge to extend a welcome and include people seeking sanctuary in their daily activities anyone can play their part.

It’s an international movement whose concept is to create a place of safety for people whose lives are threatened and who are seeking protection. There are already over 30 COS locations across the UK.

It works by creating opportunities to build relationships between local people and those seeking sanctuary.

To make Dublin welcoming to all, the organisers want to create a network of people and organisations across the city.

There is a programme of events organised for Dublin COS for the coming year – such as a Halloween event and seminars -  and volunteers are being sought.

How does it work?

  • Local groups and individuals make a public commitment to welcome and include refugees and people seeking sanctuary in their lives.
  • Anything goes: from a coffee morning, to a toy swap shop to children’s playdates in the local park.
  • Organisations can offer apprenticeships or sponsor an event or group outing.
  • You could display a sign, join a befriending scheme, or just smile at people you don’t know.

People and organisations are invited to sign the COS Promise of Support and get involved in whatever way suits them. There are between 20 and 30 people already volunteering.

You can find out more by visiting the website or by liking COSD on Facebook.

Read: Community rallies to save ‘our Sean’ from unmarked burial in England>

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