Saturday, 18th December marked International Migrants Day. Approximately 281 million people or almost four per cent of the global population were designated international migrants in 2020. The Religious Sisters of Charity founded the Haven Adult Education Centre just over a decade ago to help adults with second chance education opportunities and to help migrants with English Courses. We spoke to Sr Rita Wynne about how the centre contributes to the local and wider community.
The work of the centre
A place of welcome for adults of all ages, nationalities, and religions, the Haven Adult Education Centre is located at Basin Lane, Dublin 8. The non-profit centre was founded in 2008 by Sr Rita Wynne to commemorate 150 years since the death of Venerable Mary Aikenhead. An oasis in the inner-city, the centre provides services such as English classes as well as computer courses, art and craft, personal development and gardening. In 2015, a small garden was opened to mark 200 years since the foundation of the Religious Sisters of Charity.
The centre works with all in the community, not just migrants, and those attending come from all walks of life. Some may be unemployed on low income, homeless or living in direct provision. A range of free classes are held in the Haven Centre with an average of 25 students attending each day. There are 11 tutors altogether with 4 engaged in teaching English. English language classes are held 4 four days a week, with levels ranging from beginners to advanced. Art classes and computer courses are also offered, with students able to attain QQI qualifications.
But the centre provides so much more than just education. The mix of migrants and Irish citizens attending classes, aides the integration of migrants into the local community and provides opportunities to make friends. Cross-cultural art classes host a mix of local Dublin residents and migrants, and offers a chance for those learning English to improve in a relaxed, conversational setting.
Covid-19 restrictions led to the closure of the centre during lockdowns, however, when public health advice allowed, gardening classes were held as normal, and provided a green oasis for students who did not have gardens at home. The centre reopened fully in September 2021, with health protection measures in place and it looks forward to a bright 2022, working with those most in need in the community.
Arts & Crafts class
The Mary Aikenhead Garden at the Haven Centre