Ashoka Ireland Changemaker Schools - Winter 2017

 

FROM SUN TO FROST - WELCOME BACK

Welcome to the 2nd edition of our Changemaker Schools Newsletter, where we give you the latest updates from our Changemaker Schools Network in the development of the Changemaker skills of empathy, creativity, leadership and teamwork. A lot has happened since our last publication in June, such as our Changemaker Schools Induction Evening in October and teacher exchanges in Francis St CBS in collaboration with PEPY in Cambodia.

Have a read of our updates below and, last but not least, we hope you have a great Christmas break and we'll see you again next Summer for the next newsletter.

 

NETWORK UPDATES: OUR CHANGEMAKER SCHOOLS EVENING

On October 3rd, we formally welcomed three new Changemaker Schools – Tarmon National School (Co. Roscommon), Scoil Bhríde Shantalla (Co. Galway) and Dalkey School Project National School (Co. Dublin).

The evening, hosted generously by Ashoka Support Network members Paul and Therese Sullivan in their home, brought together the Irish Changemaker Schools network and education leaders from across the country. It was a wholehearted welcome for the new principals, with many inspirational speeches given from our Changemaker Schools principals, ASN member Paul Sullivan, and Brian MacCraith (President of DCU).

 

NETWORK UPDATES: OUR PRINCIPALS ARE GOING TO LYON

Ashoka will be running a global Changemaker Schools summit, hosted by a selected Ashoka office from across the world. In 2018, the summit will be hosted by Ashoka France in the gorgeous city of Lyon.

The summit will bring together Change Leaders from around the world who are at the forefront of transforming education systems and, specifically, building learning ecosystems that empower young people to live for the greater good.

With an emphasis on deep listening, radical transparency and practical learning, we will share our experiences in the realities of changing systemic mechanisms and mindsets; learn about the practicalities of scaling systemic innovations; and revitalise ourselves so that we can continue our work with renewed energy and focus.

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SCHOOL HIGHLIGHT: DALKEY SCHOOL PROJECT NATIONAL SCHOOL

Elected this year as our 15th Changemaker School, Dalkey School Project was the first Educate Together School in Ireland. They engage with ‘Restorative Practices’ to manage behaviour and a ‘Movement and Massage’ program for their pupils with special educational needs. To improve the well-being of their staff, meetings are conducted in a ‘World Café’ style fashion.

The school is renowned for their ‘Forest School’, which brings students into their natural environment to learn history, geography, science and art. The Forest School has proven to be an exceptional method of active learning for pupils.

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CREATIVITY: FOREST FRIDAYS IN DSPNS

Dalkey School Project NS Forest Friday sessions bring the children and the curriculum to the forest. Each child in the school gets the opportunity to learn in this way for a block of 9 weekly sessions every second year. The structure of each session allows the children to build connection; to themselves through sit spots, creative opportunities and reflection; to each other through games and teamwork; and to the world we live in through experiencing it with all their senses and having regular visits to it.

The aim is to foster resilient, independent, confident and creative learners using a flexible approach and natural resources. Spending time in nature has proven benefits for increasing well being and creativity, lowering stress, boosting the immune system and developing empathy and a love of the world. All this and every curriculum area is covered at the same time!

"If they did it every year, it would change our world!"

A love of a place or a sense of connection and belonging are imperative to fostering sustainable behaviours. A quote by David Suzuki frames this; "Unless we are willing to encourage our children to reconnect with and appreciate the natural world, we can't expect them to help protect and care for it. Or one by David Attenborough; "No one will protect what they don't care about and no-one will care about what they have never experienced."

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EMPATHY: 2ND CLASS TALK HUMAN RIGHTS

Nina Quirke, a parent in DSPNS, did a workshop with 2nd class about the UN goals for Human Rights. Nina and husband Danny are going to work in Vietnam as Development Workers for two years. Their children are in 2nd class and Junior Infants. Once Nina and the family are settled down in Vietnam, connections will be made with schools and teachers there Vietnam. See below for a video from 2nd class on human rights.


NEWS FROM OUR CHANGEMAKER SCHOOLS

 

LEADERSHIP: OUR LADY’S AND ST MOCHUA’S MATHS WEEK MADNESS

As part of Maths Week Ireland, the P6 class went to meet one of our local social entrepreneurs, Mr Niall Woods, Chairperson of our local St Mochua’s GAC. The Club, under the leadership of Niall, have led a community based project to create a car park at the Club. We will all benefit from this great community effort, where funds were raised to secure the work. Niall told us that community leaders like himself want to give back to the community and make sure that the young people have 1st class facilities. All the work has been completed by volunteers working hard every week. We got to look at how to construct a car park, which will be very useful for our own project in P6 – designing a car park for parents. Lots of measuring and problem solving and great examples of Changemakers in our community.

We have also been involved in a new programme in the school, the Global Learning Programme, which dovetails beautifully in to our Changemaker programme. We are learning about sustainable development, equality and social justice and fairness and then relating this to our own car park project. Like our GAC we have to think about these Global Learning Concepts when it comes to the construction of our school car park and sustainable development in the future.

 

CREATIVITY: TARMON NATIONAL SCHOOL WIN THE "SOMEONE LIKE ME" ART COMPETITION

When the Department of Justice and Equality announced its art competition for Primary schools entitled “Someone Like Me”, the pupils and staff in Tarmon National School were delighted to have the opportunity to take part as it encompassed a topic very close to their hearts.

The competition aimed to promote disability awareness among primary school children and gives them a greater understanding of what unites children of differing abilities. In preparation for the competition, pupils discussed the topics of disability awareness and inclusion. In 5th and 6th class, they creatively expressed what they had learned by creating a piece that promotes inclusiveness, highlights the similarities between people and encourages children to think about treating others the way they like to be treated.

For their project, they combined hand prints of different pupils in the school into the shape of a butterfly and the pupils colourfully decorated the hand prints with various materials. A child chose the title of “Together We Are Brilliant” as a caption for the piece.

With over 2,000 entries in the competition nationwide, Tarmon NS were delighted when they were chosen as the Senior category County winner for Co. Roscommon. They have been invited to the “Someone Like Me” National Final Exhibition and Awards ceremony at Dublin City Hall on the 4th December and are really looking forward to this.

A big congratulations to all the pupils in 5th and 6th class alongside their teacher Mr. Collins and SNA Ms. Anne Beirne.

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EMPATHY: TAKE A BRAIN BREAK WITH SCOIL IOSAGAIN

 

LEADERSHIP: GETNS ARE CAMPAIGNING FOR THE RIGHTS OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES IN IRELAND

By joining forces with Inclusion Ireland over the course of the school year, Galway Educate Together National School will get behind a campaign that seeks to ratify the Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities is a document about rights for people with disabilities. It promises that people with disabilities can enjoy the same rights and freedoms that everybody else does. However, the one big obstacle to this very promising document is that the Irish Government have yet to ratify it. This means that Ireland is currently the only country in the EU that has not ratified the Convention and that people with disabilities in Ireland are not enjoying some of the most basic freedoms and human rights of the 21st Century - employment opportunities, taking part in community activities and taking control over their own lives to live independently.

The goal? Raise awareness and give voice to this very worthy campaign and educate the entire community about the imperative need for a ‘push’ toward getting this Convention ratified.

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TEAMWORK: LITTLE ANGELS ADOPT THE “NO BARRIERS” GYM INITIATIVE

Little Angels Special School, an already outstanding example of inclusion in Ireland, is delighted to be involved with the "No Barriers" gym initiative, which has been devised by Johnny Loughrey and his team in JT Physiotherapy. The programme aims to break down any barriers to physical activity for anyone in the community, with the belief that everyone should have access to a fit and healthy lifestyle. The JT Physiotherapy team even approached the school and sought their input when devising the programme.

Another marvellous step forward for inclusion and acceptance in the community.

 

TEAMWORK: THE CHANGEMAKER TEAM OF FRANCIS ST CBS

The Changemaker team in Francis St, a group of 7 managed by Change Leader Ms. Rushe, focuses on changing the world for the good of all. Their focus? Building creativity, empathy, problem-solving and leadership skills so that they can help not just themselves by their community and the wider world.

They carry out numerous Changemaking activities like raising money for local and global charities, engaging in school and community projects and gardening in the community allotment.

We look forward to seeing more from these guys in the coming years.

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LEADERSHIP: EGLISH NS AND PUPIL VOICE

In collaboration with the NCCA, Eglish National School documented their initiatives in leadership, independence and pupil voice. Watch the NCCA's videos on their 'Morning Ritual' and 'Child Led Assembly'.

Eglish NS are renowned for their work in developing puplic speaking and storytelling skills, having developed their own oral language programme called 'Let's Stand'. In the words of their principal:

”Everything we do in Eglish is based on 3 simple rules: We work together, do our best and respect each other.”
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GLOBAL EDUCATION: "FROM A TEACHER TO A SYSTEM CHANGER"

Margaret Rasfeld, Ashoka Fellow and founder of what some may call Germany's most innovative school Evangelische Schule Berlin Zentrum, spoke at TEDx Vienna about her bottom up education paradigm changing movement 'Schule im Aufbruch' (School in Transformation). Watch her TED talk here, where she discusses her life as a Changemaker from beginning to end, "from a teacher to a system changer."

Margaret has won both the Vision Award 2012 and the Querdenker Award 2013, and her school has also received several awards for the advancement of the gifted by the KARG foundation by supporting social learning and community education as well as education in entrepreneurship.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uoGFaJXhnqE

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MEDIA FEATURE: FIONA COLLINS' ARTICLE ON TRANSFORMATIVE EMPATHY

“The staff of Francis St. had a broader ambition in the teaching of empathy: one of a curriculum and school that could empower pupils to take responsibility for their own lives, their community, their school, their country, and their world, now and throughout their lives.”

Principal of Francis St CBS and Ashoka colleague Fiona Collins wrote about the importance of empathy in schools and the development of her school and pupils through the Changemaker vision. She discusses the origins of empathy alongside the methodologies adapted in her school to encourage and nurture empathetic skills in children.

Her article was published in Barnardos Ireland's 2017 Childlinks Empathy Issue.

 

SPREAD THE WORD AND STAY IN TOUCH

This is the Winter 2017 edition of the Ashoka Ireland Changemaker Schools newsletter. Feel free to share the link widely with anyone in your network. If you would like to be informed via email of when our next edition is published, please email Moira Malone (mmalone@ashoka.org).

Find out more about our Changemaker Schools on our website, and find Ashoka Ireland on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. If you would like to learn more about Changemaker Schools from around the world, go to changemakerschools.org.

Ashoka Ireland Changemaker Schools - Summer 2017

 

WELCOME

Welcome to the first edition of the Ashoka Ireland Changemaker Schools Quarterly (CSQ) newsletter. Here, we will take you through all of the highlights from our 15 Changemaker Schools here in Ireland, as well as documenting some key updates in the education sector across the world.

Want to know about our current schools? Go to our website.

 

WHAT IS THE CHANGEMAKER SCHOOLS MOVEMENT?

The Changemaker Schools movement aims to connect and support innovative schools throughout the world, who believe in the importance of empowering children for the common good.

Changemaker Schools actively foster empathy, leadership, teamwork and creativity, equipping children with the skills of changemaking. No two schools in the network are the same. Teachers and school community members take a varied and diverse approach to how they empower students and how these skills are nurtured, depending on their individual school context. Below are examples of how this diversity manifests itself in our Changemaker Schools.

What unites these schools and educators is a belief and determination to empower the next generation, and to encourage all children to believe in their ability to change the world for the better.

Every child in a Changemaker School has an identity. This identity is 'Everyone a Changemaker' (EACH).

 

INTRODUCING OUR NEW CHANGEMAKER SCHOOLS

DALKEY SCHOOL PROJECT NATIONAL SCHOOL, CO. DUBLIN

Dalkey School Project NS, an Educate together school in Dalkey Co. Dublin, is a school whose focus is on creating an emotionally inclusive environment for all of the pupils and staff members.

They nourish feelings of respect and individuality through restorative practices, a movement and massage program for the SEN pupils, world café style staff meetings for staff wellbeing and the Forest School. The Forest School brings students into their natural environment to learn history, geography, science and art. The school has made a large impact on other schools in their community and within the ETNS network, with their Forest School initiative and through the introduction of their own mental health programme, devised by their 6th class pupils.

SCOIL BHRÍDE SHANTALLA, CO. GALWAY

Scoil Bhríde Shantalla, located in the heart of Shantalla in Co. Galway, is full of diversity, acceptance and influence with emphasis in their vision on the words ‘we care’. It represents 19 nationalities, 33% of their population are travellers and they have won the European Alcuin award for their work in developing positive home-school relations.

Their initiatives span from the creative to the scientific, such as the Creative Nation initative, the Uni4u programme, film making, and even robotics. They are a school with numerous achievements and awards under their belt, and a passion for all in their community, leading transformatively with their vision to combat early school leavers.

TARMON NATIONAL SCHOOL, CO. ROSCOMMON

Tarmon NS, the warm hug of Castlerea Co. Roscommon, leads the way in education for schools in rural parts of Ireland. It cultivates a real familial atmosphere that is bursting with inclusion and influence.

A daily Buddy System that integrates students with SEN, honey making programmes, chicken hatching, horse riding, and a savings scheme are just a few of the initiatives run in this school. They have a strong focus on empowering their pupils to seek opportunities to innovate and create, while also putting a great emphasis on their community and culture.

 

NETWORK UPDATES: COLLABORATING SCHOOLS

EGLISH VISIT DONABATE-PORTRANE EDUCATE TOGETHER

On the 30th of March, 31 very excited students from Junior Infants to 6th Class set off on a mission to explore Donabate-Portrane ETNS. The aim was to share ideas and thoughts on their individual and collective dreams and what makes their respective schools changemaking.

What an amazing opportunity for our students, coming from a small rural Catholic school setting to experience one day of school in such a big, progressive, Dublin Educate Together School. There was a palpable, pulsating air of positivity as we toured the school and viewed many examples of creative and inspiring art work.

Collaboratively, we all made our mark on wall hangings of dandelions that inspired all with Gandhi's quote: Be the change you wish to see in the world. Both schools now have one wall hanging each as a reminder of the day!

 

EGLISH LEARN ABOUT PLAYWORKS FROM GALWAY ETNS

On March 24th, Berndette and Carmel, two staff members of Eglish NS, visited Galway ETNS to observe and learn first-hand about the Playworks programme. It was also a great opportunity to share innovative ideas, methodologies and experiences.

Reflecting on the visit, Carmel said, "Being part of the Changemaker community has added immeasurably to the quality of education we are providing for the pupils of Eglish NS as we are now part of a valuable network of professionals sharing good practice."

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SCHOOL HIGHLIGHT: EGLISH NATIONAL SCHOOL

PRINCIPAL SIOBHAN FITZGERALD WON IPPN'S 2017 LEADERSHIP AWARD

“I was surprised but grateful, honoured and humbled to receive this award. I count myself lucky to be Principal of Eglish NS and part of a very dedicated, diligent and dynamic team. A team that endeavours constantly, in the words of my Deputy Principal, Carmel, to empower students, staff and parents to become the ‘very best version of themselves’.

It is truly coincidental that the theme of this year’s conference was ‘The Power of One’, as we firmly believe in this message and constantly, creatively and conscientiously work to reinforce and realise it. From disagreements in the playground to approaching new initiatives, from cleaning the sports shed to solving a Maths problem, we ask ourselves, ‘What can I do’, with the emphasis on I. ‘Working with the resources that I have, what can I do?’ This is a very simple question but it is potentially profound and powerful. I am frequently in awe of the innovative solutions staff and students can come up with in response to this question. It’s also a question that values the contributions of everyone, thereby facilitating inclusion.” - Siobhan Fitzgerald.

"Working with the resources that I have, what can I do?"

WORKING WITH THE NCCA ON A CURRICULUM FOR ERB AND ETHICS

Eglish are one of the few primary schools across Ireland who are working with the NCCA on the School Consultation stage of developing a curriculum for ERB and Ethics for all children attending primary schools in Ireland. This curriculum will contribute to the development of the child in five key areas: personal understanding, mutual understanding, character education, connection to the wider world, and spiritual awareness. Being connected to this network is a very meaningful way for the school to be actively involved in change while at the same time having their voice heard as a proud Catholic school.

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EGLISH NS - ERASMUS+ PROJECT AND DEBATES

On March 3rd, the 4th, 5th and 6th class students took part in a debate with their peers in their partner schools in Spain and Poland. The topic for the debate was: “Invasion is always a bad thing."

As native English speakers, two students of Eglish NS acted as captains for the proposition and opposition. It was an amazing experience for them to observe peers in classrooms across Europe being beamed into theirs and connected with them. There were no winner - everyone’s points and views were listened to.

This was a wonderful experience for all students and teachers involved. Amongst the many benefits, it highlighted what they all share in common, how small the world is and how profoundly technology can connect us to one another.

Eglish NS travelled to Poland from the 6th to 13th of May for their current Erasmus+ project: “Invaders, how they shaped the Europe of today." The delegation, this time was made up of 3 staff members, 4 students and 2 parents. This is such an amazing and real life learning experience for all involved.

Click to watch videos from their trip:

Eglish NS Erasmus trip to Miedzyzdroje May 2017

Trudy's Trip to Poland with Eglish NS, Erasmus + May 2017

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NEWS FROM OUR CHANGEMAKER SCHOOLS

 

ST. COLUMBA'S G.N.S. OPENS AN HONESTY SHOP

St. Columbas GNS - a school where every child learns sign language - have been working on a project around empowerment and voice in their school. The teachers of the school are always striving to encourage the development of the ‘whole child’ – their cognitive, academic, physical and character development.

So, they have introduced an Honesty Shop - a shop without supervision, where all of the supplies and money are on display. It is run by their 4th class students, who called it Pinocchio's because"Pinocchio learned not to lie and how to be truthful." Pinocchio's was inspired by an Honesty Shop in a school in India.

The 'shop keepers' take stock each day, and replenish stock when necessary. At the end of the day, they count the shop's taking before closing up. They're really proud of their project and enthusiastically relate to the development of their project. Words such as stock, profit, inventory, float, purchase, customers, basic and luxury items, money bags and lodgements are spoken confidently.

Though in its early stages, the benefits are all too clear; the students realised that as they show that they can be trusted, they are entrusted more.

“If we can live without stealing, without cheating, without lying - we can win in life.”
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DONABATE-PORTRANE ETNS - ‘THANK YOU SHARON FRIEL FOR INSPIRING US’

One of the parents in the school, Sharon Friel, was diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease back in 2012. As her illness progressed, Sharon lost the use of her voice and now uses a wheelchair. She communicates through the use of an eye gaze device.

Since her diagnosis Sharon has campaigned for the IMNDA (Irish Motor Neuron Disease Association) and she is raising awareness through her blog. Both her and her son put together a video in support of IMNDA awareness.

Sharon has made a choice to live as positively as she can, despite the enormous challenges this illness has brought. Her warmth and good humour shines through in her blog.

This week in DPETNS, every class in the school did a ‘silence’ to experience what it is like to try to communicate without the use of your voice. The children got the chance to use an Eye Gaze device to communicate. On Friday May 19th, the whole community came together for a 'Cake Sale and Coffee' morning, raising over €2600 for IMNDA.

Sharon has inspired the entire Donabate-Portrane ETNS school community - both children and adults - with her positivity, her ability to connect with them and her unwavering zest for life.

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THE PUPILS OF OUR LADY'S & ST. MOCHUAS ARE ENTREPRENEURS!

The Primary 7’s recently took part in a Young Enterprise program called Business Beginnings. They set up their own company called Oakers’ Enterprise – the name and logo were inspired by Derrynoose and designed by the class.

To begin with, the class was divided into six groups. Each group had the same goal - to create the perfect Easter treat. Groups designed their products, ensuring they were both visually appealing and safe for a large target market. Costs, profits, advertising, safety and sales were considered when creating their treat.

Ideas were pitched to three 'dragons’ (or judges), who then settled on their favourite – The Scrumptious Sweetie Jar. This then became the whole class product for the business, the business which would be used for future classes.

Orders were made, products were produced and then dispatched. Even two local shops sold the product - very exciting news for the young entrepreneurs.

Over 300 jars were sold, and all of the business' profits were given to a number of charities; Cardiomyopathy; The Downs Syndrome Association; and the NSPCC. A small percentage was also banked for next year’s business.

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FRANCIS ST CBS - CHANGEMAKING AND CREATIVITY

The Social Justice and Changemaker team from Francis St. C.B.S. have worked on a collaborative art project with the recruitment company LinkedIn in this term. All classes have been discussing what it means to be a Changemaker and came up with a word which they felt embraces it. The words chosen were Succeed, Dream, Courageous, Resilient and Create.

2nd Class chose the word ‘Succeed’ which they picked from their school motto ‘Read, Lead, Succeed’. They felt that being a Changemaker means that you work really hard to be the very best you can be and that you keeping trying and never give up.

3rd Class chose the word ‘Dream’ from their school theme this year of ‘Dream Management’. They felt that Changemakers have the ability to use their imagination to dream of something they want to achieve. We then take the necessary steps to realise our dream and make it come true. ‘Small person, big dream’ is their class belief.

4th Class chose the word ‘Courageous’ as they felt to be a Changemaker you must be brave and aim high. We may fail but we will learn from our mistakes and try again until we succeed. We must face our fearsand stand up for what we believe it.

5th Class chose the word ‘Resilient’ as they felt that to be a Changemaker you must preserve at what you believe in. It is ok to fail but when we do we bounce back stronger than ever. We don’t give up, we keep on trying until we achieve our goal.

6th Class chose the work ‘Create’ which they felt was particularly relevant to them as they are setting off to create their new life in secondary school. They believe as Changemakers we have the power to create own future. We have the ability, skills and drive to create change in our lives, our community and our world.

 

ST. ULTAN'S RESTORATIVE PRACTICE BUDDIES

Restorative Practice (RP) is a big part of how St Ultan’s do things. The aim of RP in St Ultan’s is to manage conflict and tensions by repairing harm and building relationships through a fair process, allowing everyone the opportunity to freely express what happened as well as their own emotions.

Improving the social and emotional literacy of the children in the school is a big focus for us, with children taking part in a daily ‘Feelings Check-in’. This check in ensures that every child is heard every day and they are given an opportunity to share experiences that are happening to them.

'Restorative Circles' are excellent way to resolve conflict and repair any harm caused. These circles are common in St. Ultan's, between classmates, teachers and even their Restorative Practice Buddies. These buddies are a group of 20 children who promote RP throughout the school by wearing RP vests on the playground and helping other children resolve any issues or conflicts through restorative circles.

 

CORPUS CHRISTI AND ROOTS OF EMPATHY

In Corpus Christi, 4th and 6th class children are taking part in Roots of Empathy. This is an evidence-based classroom program that has shown significant effect in reducing levels of aggression among schoolchildren by raising social and emotional competence and increasing empathy.

At the heart of the program are an infant and parent from the community. They visit the classroom every three weeks over the school year, accompanied by a trained Roots of Empathy teacher who coaches the students to observe the baby’s development and to label the baby’s feelings.

In this experiential learning, the baby is the 'teacher' who, with the help of the Roots of Empathy teacher, teaches the children how to identify and reflect on their own feelings and the feelings of others.

The emotional literacy taught in the program lays the foundation for safer and more caring classrooms. They are more competent in understanding their own feelings and the feelings of others and are therefore less likely to physically, psychologically and emotionally hurt each other through bullying and other cruelties. A step towards a greater sense of self-control and independence.

 

THE YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR PROGRAMME FROM GALWAY ETNS

Galway Educate Together NS started their Junior Entrepreneur Programme in January 2017, teaching students about business and entrepreneurship.

Local entrepreneurs Eoghan Spellman, Noel Kelly and the Dough Bros. taught them all they needed to know about starting their own business. These inspiring people demonstrated what it’s like to be leaders; bringing your ideas into reality, making decisions, collaborating with others and the importance of resilience and hard work.

After pitching ideas to the 'School Dragon', the funky t-shirt printing company was decided on and the business began. Students considered logistics, and developed teams for design, finance & accounting, production, procurement, marketing and sales.

A final Showcase Day was held at the end of the programme, where the students finally got to sell their products. They really made a huge profit, and it was decided that this money would go towards their school trips.

Want to learn more? See:

Photos from the day

Videos of the Showcase Day, Production Line and Promotion Day.

 

ST. OLIVER'S LAUREN TUCKER (6TH CLASS) WRITES ABOUT STUDENT EMPOWERMENT

ST. OLIVER’S “SMALLTALK”

What is Student empowerment and voice? Well at St. Oliver’s we have just set up “Ollies Smalltalk”. A 10 minute slot where another pupil and I, from the Yellow Flag Committee, ask people from our school questions about their jobs and life.

Last Friday, Teegan, a Yellow Flag Committee Member (The Yellow Flag is an Anti-Racism Committee in our School) and I, interviewed Marilyn Latapat-Counihan who is the Co-ordinator of KASI (Kerry Asylum Seekers Initiative).

You are probably wondering how this idea came about. Well, when a brand new extension was built in our school 2 years ago, the school installed an intercom system in every mainstream classroom, which would be operated from the school office. I came up with the idea to use the intercom by creating our own student radio station.

That was just the start! We first had to think of our layout. We looked at some ideas and finally decided on interviewing a person from our school community and asking them 20 questions varying from, “Where are you from?" , “Cats or dogs ?”, “Can you tell us a joke?”

Next we had to pick a guest. Marilyn was our first guest as she is KASI co-ordinator. This was very fitting that Marilyn would be our 1st guest, as this was predominantly a Yellow Flag idea . KASI plays an important role in our school as they run our Canteen.

The interview went smoothly bar a few technical difficulties, but we powered through and ended up with a finished product. I would like to thank Marilyn, Teegan, Mr. D’Arcy, Ms.Terry and Mr. Gogsch for helping us. From this experience I have found out that to be a presenter is a lot harder than it looks.

 

SCOIL IOSAGAIN AND LAUGHTER YOGA

 

HEALTHY MINDS PROGRAMME IN GALWAY ETNS

 

GLOBAL EDUCATION: FINLAND IS TURNING EDUCATION AROUND

Isn’t it true that children and teenagers today graduate without knowing life skills such as cooking, paying taxes or bills, and generally being able to take care of themselves without a guardian?

Finland has recognised the real growing need to drop the usual education system of ‘teacher instructs student’, following the right guidelines to ensure children follow that straight narrow path that is societal conforming. Instead they’re encouraging children to be taught based on their personal and demographic needs or interests, ensuring that they will be ready for life past school.

How are they doing this? They are introducing decentralised, Phenomenon-based learning, and have in-turn dropped basic subjects, such as maths or science.

What is Phenomenon-based learning? Can we get on board?

Phenomenon-based learning involved students studying a wide range of subjects that are related to a specific topic, concept or phenomenon, taking a more interdisciplinary and decentralised approach.

For example, if students were to study the ‘European Union’ as a topic, they could look at languages, economics, history and geography. If students were to study ‘Climate Change’, they could look at science, environmental studies, economics, geography and policy. It’s a more practical approach.

This method of learning is great for both teacher and student, as it not only fosters independence and life skills in students, it allows for students, teachers and other educators to collaborate together to design lesson plans and make sure that their education is focused on what they need to learn in their lives versus what the national exam rankings say they should be.

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HUNDRED ARE LOOKING FOR INNOVATIVE EDUCATION PROJECTS

Are you or someone you know running an innovative project focused on changing the way children and young people are educated?

Having originally sought 100 innovations in Finland, hundrED are now looking to create a bank of 100 new global projects that are restructuring how we learn, teach, assess and lead to make it relevant, exciting and effective. These innovations can range from small, one classroom projects to huge, nation-wide initiatives. Our key criteria is that they be ground breaking, scalable and replicable.

Their goal? To become the world's leading experts in educational innovations for the younger population by 2020. All insights and best practises will be documented, packaged and shared with the world for free.

Want to read more? Check out their Global Innovations page or Submission FAQ section.

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CHANGEMAKER SCHOOLS IN THE IRISH TIMES

The Irish Times special feature, 'Innovation in the Classroom' (23 March) highlighted several schools in Ashoka Ireland's Changemaker Schools network, as well as innovative education programmes like CoderDojo (founded by Ashoka Fellow James Whelton).

Click on any of the below to read more into the articles:

1. 'Schools of thought: Five big trends in innovation'

2. 'Three key elements will decide how the classroom evolves'

3. 'Innovation and the curriculum: day of chalk and talk is gone'

4. 'Fitting computers into the curriculum'

"Now, more than ever, the way students are being educated requires a fundamental rethink to prepare them for the future. While it’s near impossible to predict exactly what the classroom of the future will look like, the only thing that’s certain are the elements that will drive that change."
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SPREAD THE WORD - STAY IN TOUCH

This is the Summer 2017 edition of the Ashoka Ireland Changemaker Schools newsletter. Feel free to share the link widely with anyone in your network. If you would like to be informed via email of when our next edition is published, please email Moira Malone (mmalone@ashoka.org).

Find out more about our Changemaker Schools on our website, and find Ashoka Ireland on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. If you would like to learn more about Changemaker Schools from around the world, go to changemakerschools.org.

 

FOOTNOTES: A big thank you goes out to all of our Changemaker Schools Change Teams in Ireland who contributed to this newsletter, providing insightful stories, materials and photographs.

Ashoka Ireland Quarterly - Summer 2016

 

GLOBAL ASHOKA FELLOWS TOOK THE STAGE AT INSPIREFEST 2016

For two days this summer, Dublin was home to INSPIREFEST, “a unique international festival of technology, science, design and the arts.” INSPIREFEST placed diversity and inclusion at the heart of its programme, and over 70% of its lineup comprised female founders, creators, coders, venture capitalists and leaders.

The line up of speakers included two global Ashoka Fellows: Jamila Abass, founder of M-Farm, a tech platform that connects farmers across Africa, and Alexandra Bernadotte, founder of Beyond 12, which empowers first-generation college students to complete their degrees. Fashion blogger and activist Minnie Melange also told her inspiring story on stage.

Read our full reflection on Inspirefest on the Ashoka Ireland blog!

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WELCOMING 3 NEW CHANGEMAKER SCHOOLS INTO THE NETWORK!

This year, three Irish primary schools have joined the Changemaker Schools network, bringing the total to twelve on the island. Please join us in welcoming:

EGLISH NATIONAL SCHOOL, AHASCRAGH, CO. GALWAY

LITTLE ANGELS SCHOOL, LETTERKENNY, CO. DONEGAL

— SCOIL ÍOSAGÁIN, BUNCRANA, CO. DONEGAL

View their profiles and find out more about the network on our website!

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ARTICLE SERIES: FELLOWS USING TECH & SCIENCE FOR GOOD

This summer, we kicked off a series of articles with Silicon Republic, highlighting Ashoka Fellows who are using technology and science to tackle social issues in innovative ways. Irish Fellows Mary Nally, Mike Feerick and James Whelton, and global Fellows Bart Weetjens, Edith Elliott and Josh Nesbit, were all featured.

Explore the articles: Bringing digital skills to the young, the old and the marginalised’ andThese giant rats are big heroes in health innovation’ (Silicon Republic)

 

UPCOMING EVENT: THE 2016 CHANGEMAKER EDUCATION SUMMIT

From the 19th–22nd of October 2016, Ashoka will convene leading innovators, educators, and thought leaders from across Europe at the Changemaker Education Summit in Killarney, Co. Kerry, Ireland. Representatives from all members of the Changemaker Schools network in Europe will attend the summit, to ignite conversations and co-create ideas for the future of education.

This is the largest Changemaker Education gathering to date, with 77 schools now in the European network, from across eleven countries: Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Spain, Turkey and the UK.

Find out more on the newly-revamped website: www.changemakerschools.org

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FEATURED FELLOW: NEIL MCCABE & THE GREEN PLAN

Fireman Neil is the founder of The GreenPlan, an accredited model helping businesses and communities reduce their carbon footprint and save on energy costs. The GreenPlan has made Neil’s home firehouse of Kilbarrack the first carbon-neutral firehouse in the world. By spreading its best practices, Neil wants to empower communities to make green living part of their daily philosophy. Since 2010, 8 out of 14 Dublin fire stations have implemented The GreenPlan, accruing over €11 million in savings, and the methodology has been written into the Dublin Fire Brigade Business Plan, the Dublin City Council Business Plan, and is being applied to policy at the EU level.

This summer, Neil was a guest of the White House in California, as a part of the Young Transatlantic Innovation Leaders Initiative Fellowship! He was selected by the U.S. Department of State to present The GreenPlan at Stanford University in front of President Barack Obama, along with 700 world entrepreneurs, 300+ investors and U.S. politicians for the 2016 Global Entrepreneurship Summit.

“Never ever give up if you want to see a better future. You have to believe that success is only around the corner. As social entrepreneurs we have the chance to deliver impacts that improve the quality of live on earth for present and future generations.” -Neil McCabe, Ashoka Fellow

See photos from Neil’s trip to the U.S. below, and visit the Global Entrepreneurship Summit website!

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SUMMER UPDATES FROM THE GREENPLAN:

— Neil McCabe was once again selected to receive the International Corporate Social Responsibility Award (Junior Chamber of Commerce Dublin), recognising The GreenPlan as one of the best CSR strategies in the world. He will pick up his trophy award on 27th of August in Mansion House in Dublin.

— Neil is one of three Co-Founders of GROWN Clothing, an ethical clothing brand using fully organic, biodegradable and recyclable products. Based in Dublin, the team at GROWN design and make clothing inspired by the beautiful Irish coastline. Neil has spent last three years embedding sustainable development into the everyday planning and running of the company. GROWN Clothing celebrated their official launch of the online shop this July. View the full range of clothing on their website: www.grown.ie

— On 16th September, The Green Plan will launch a free online sustainability course, in partnership with Ashoka Fellow Mike Feerick’s online course platform ALISON: The GreenPlan Champion for Communities will equip anyone who completes the course to embed The Green Plan model in their local communities. This is a huge step for The Green Plan to scale both nationally and globally, and will unlock the potential for many new communities to adopt sustainable, cost-saving practices quickly and simply. Stay tuned for more information on the course’s launch next month!

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MEDIA HIGHLIGHTS (SINCE SPRING'16)

Fellow Field Day: Exploring Technology with Third Age - A peek into how Ashoka Fellow Mary Nally’s Third Age teaches technology skills to older people

Beyond12 founder on the university challenge for low-income students - An interview with Inspirefest speaker and U.S. Ashoka Fellow Alex Bernadotte

Bringing digital skills to the young, the old and the marginalised - Exploring how Third Age, CoderDojo, and ALISON are teaching digital skills.

Celebrating Inspirefest Fellows: Jamila Abass & Alex Bernadotte - A summary of the work of Ashoka Fellows Alex Bernadotte and Jamila Abass.

Disrupting Charity: How Social Business Can Eradicate Starvation - Ashoka Fellow Steve Collins discusses the power of social business.

Growing a business that helps small farmers in Africa - Inspirefest speaker and Ashoka Fellow Jamila Abass discusses her technological solution for farmers in Kenya.

Fellow Selection Process: An Interview with Erin Fornoff - Search lead Erin Fornoff explains how Ashoka Ireland elects new fellows.

Empowering diverse voices in STEM: Inspirefest conference lives up to its name - A reflection on Inspirefest and its focus on diversity and inclusion in technology.

Yardtime at GETNS: A change for the better - John Farrell, principal of Galway Educate Together National School, a Changemaker School, describes the impact of introducing Playworks to the school.

Helping students find their voice - Siobhán Fitzgerald, principal of Eglish National School, discusses how the Changemaker School promotes its students’ oral communication skills through its “LET’s Stand” programme.

What is a changemaker? - An exploration of what it means to be a changemaker and the important role of changemakers in the world.

Empathy, leadership, confidence: the Irish schools teaching more than the 3Rs - How Changemaker Schools across Ireland are revolutionising education.

 

WRITE FOR OUR BLOG!

Would you like to write a guest post on social, business or education innovation for the Ashoka Ireland blog? We welcome written pieces between 500-700 words. Email Fiona at fkoch@ashoka.org to submit your idea.

 

COMMUNICATING WITH YOU

This is the summer 2016 issue of the Ashoka Ireland quarterly newsletter. Feel free to share the link widely! Find out more about our work on our website, and find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Ashoka Ireland Quarterly - Spring 2016

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ANNUAL ASHOKA FELLOW & ASN RETREAT

We held our annual summer retreat for Fellows & ASN Members in beautiful Burrishoole, County Mayo, on the weekend of April 23rd. Three days were filled with group discussions, well-being activities such as cycling, swimming & walking, one-on-one mentoring sessions, as well as music & poetry in the evenings.

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The group of over 25 attendees included Fellows, ASN Members, key advisors and the Ashoka Ireland team. We are very grateful to ASN Member Denis Tinsley for hosting the retreat in his beautiful home again this year.

View more highlights from the retreat below, and on the MEDIA HUB page on our website.

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ASHOKA IRELAND LAUNCHES SOCIAL FINANCE PROGRAMME

We are thrilled to share news that Ashoka Ireland has launched a new programme to help Ashoka Fellows finance their work, and build financially sustainable social organisations. Pioneered by Ashoka Europe Director Mark Cheng in the UK, the Social Finance Programme will allow Ashoka Ireland Fellows to explore new options for financing. The members of the Social Finance Committee in Ireland include:

• MAURA MOORE - HEAD OF PROFESSIONAL SERVICES & NONPROFITS, AIB

• PAUL SULLIVAN - FORMER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NATIONAL TREASURY MANAGEMENT AGENCY

• SIR STEVEN WILKINSON - FOUNDER & CEO, BUCHANAN AG

• BRIAN CAULFIELD - PARTNER, DRAPER ESPRIT

• FAYE DOUILLARD - FOUNDER, THE GIVING CIRCLE AMSTERDAM

• EAMONN CONLON - PARTNER, A&L GOODBODY

“Social finance is a different approach to funding and lending to social enterprises,” Ashoka Ireland Director Serena Mizzoni told The Irish Times this week. “It means making investments in organisations which provide a social dividend as well as a financial return. It is neither a for-profit venture or a charity – it sits in between the two. Ashoka has been pioneering this internationally for the past five years, and we are now bringing it to Ireland.”

Read the full article on social finance in The Irish Times Business Section: ‘Ashoka Ireland: Funding social change requires a new business model’

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ACTIVATING COLLECTIVE ACTION FOR THE REFUGEE CRISIS IN EUROPE

From the 18th to the 20th of March, Ashoka Germany hosted the HELLO FESTIVAL conference on refugee integration. Central to the programme were thirteen Ashoka Fellows, who presented proven solutions to working with refugees, and led workshops and deep-dive discussions on how best to replicate their models in a German context.

Among the thirteen innovators was Ashoka Ireland Fellow Mary Nally, founder of Third Age Ireland and , a community project involving predominantly older volunteers welcoming migrants through conversational English classes. Several Ashoka offices have been working with Mary to replicate the Fàilte Isteach model beyond Ireland, in countries that are severely affected by Europe’s refugee crisis.

The festival was the culmination of months of collaboration between Ashoka Germany and other Ashoka offices in Europe, as well as key local partners from the social, private and public sectors in Germany. The guest list of over 400 included key influencers from the social, business, government and media sectors.

Read our blogpost about the Hello Festival: ‘Meet the organisations committed to empowering refugees in Germany.’

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FEATURED FELLOW: MIKE FEERICK & ALISON

Mike Feerick is the founder of ALISON, one of the world’s first free online learning platforms based in Galway, on the West Coast of Ireland. An Ashoka Fellow since 2010, Mike has grown ALISON to include over 7 million registered learners and 800,000 graduates worldwide. The ALISON team is facing a busy summer with the implementation of revised branding, and the launch of its new learning management system and publishing platforms.

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Earlier this year, ALISON achieved a milestone with respect to the use of free education within justice systems worldwide, when a New York State judge sentenced a young drug offender to complete an ALISON course in lieu of prison time. Since March, the programme has spread to other New York judicial districts and is set to launch shortly in the state of Minnesota. In adopting the programme, Judge William J Watson, of the 8th Judicial district of New York stated that: “If we are to seriously consider how we can help young men and women not to reoffend, we must look to remedies that change minds, not just physical circumstances. Free online learning offers an instrument unavailable to courts to date and it must be explored.”

“We must look to remedies that change minds, not just physical circumstances.” (NEW YORK DISTRICT JUDGE)

Mike’s view is that free learning can offer alternative sentencing in every court and for every crime worldwide. At the end of the day, he says, many judges would like to impose an education sentence on defendants, but few courts have had the resources to pay for education, and likewise, defendants. If the education is free to access online - as with ALISON’s platform - then education and skills development become a real alternative options.

In the coming months, Mike will visit India, China, USA, Canada and UK. “Having such a global opportunity is exciting, but it does mean that ever so often, you need to visit the front line.” In India this May, ALISON will announce its one millionth learner. As Mike says, “Small as the world is becoming, regardless where in the world, nothing is more effective in getting things going than turning up.”

ALISON now has 30 staff at its Galway HQ. “Growing from Galway has its challenges,” says Mike. “But the rewards of coming to work with us are many. Besides the social impact we are having, we have a very multinational and talented team here – and not having to pay Dublin rent rates is a further bonus for those who want to come West.”

Find out more and sign up for a course on ALISON’s website: www.alison.com

 

NEW PARTNERSHIPS: SILICON REPUBLIC’S INSPIREFEST & DUBLIN TECH SUMMIT

We are delighted to partner with leading Irish tech conference INSPIREFEST, taking place in Dublin’s Silicon Docks June 30th-July 2nd. International Ashoka Fellows Alexandra Bernadotte (Founder, Beyond12) and Jamila Abass (Founder, M-Farm) have joined the line up of incredible speakers focused on promoting diversity and inclusion in the tech sector.

Find out more on the Inspirefest website & look out for our upcoming Silicon Republic article series on ‘Tech for Good’!

We are also delighted to join Dublin Tech Summit as a strategic partner on social entrepreneurship. The summit will take place on February 16th and 17th 2017, and will feature leaders, founders and innovators shaping technology across the globe.

Find out more on the Dublin Tech Summit website and on Twitter.

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MEDIA HIGHLIGHTS (SINCE WINTER'16)

Want true equality? Make everyone powerful.- Part of a “Thriving in a World of Change” series produced by The Huffington Post and Ashoka, written by Bill Drayton.

Meet the organisations committed to empowering refugees in Germany - Highlights from the #HelloFestival a conversation stressing the importance of creating a culture of acceptance in host European countries.

Empowering teachers to empower young people - A piece about pioneering teachers and educators coming together as change leaders.

Reframing the refugee crisis to unlock solutions - How media outlets play a key role in shaping the narrative around Europe’s refugee crisis.

Empowering not imposing - Why women need to lead an organisational revolution.- New business models are tools that can be seized by women to redefine what leadership, and even business itself, means.

Celebrating Womens‘ Day: Inspiration from leading social innovators - Women’s day blog highlighting Fellows Mary Nally, Caroline Casey, and Mairead Healy.

Green Couch Series: Our interview with Senior Fellow Jerry White - An interview with Senior Ashoka Fellow Jerry White about Irish resilience and his future plans for peace.

Ashoka Ireland: Funding social change requires a new business model - Our latest Innovation Profile in The Irish Times

 

COMMUNICATING WITH YOU

This is the spring 2016 issue of the Ashoka Ireland quarterly newsletter. Feel free to share the link widely! Email Fiona at fkoch@ashoka.org with photos, videos and announcements to be featured in the next quarterly, planned for July. Find out more about our work on our website, and find us on Facebook & Twitter!

Introducing our new Ashoka Ireland Instagram! Follow us for exciting updates on what the team is up to.

Ashoka Ireland Quarterly - Winter 2016

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'THE CATALYST FOR SOCIAL CHANGE' - OUR 2015 IMPACT MAGAZINE

In December 2015, we launched the inaugural issue of the Ashoka Ireland Impact Magazine: 52 pages of visual updates and stories of impact.

Read the magazine online: issuu.com/ashokaireland/docs/ashoka_impact_magazine_2015_final

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GROWING THE CHANGEMAKER SCHOOLS NETWORK

In 2015, four Irish primary schools were added to the Changemaker Schools network, bringing the total to nine on the island. Please join us in welcoming the schools:

CORPUS CHRISTI PRIMARY SCHOOL, MOYROSS, CO. LIMERICK

GALWAY EDUCATE TOGETHER NATIONAL SCHOOL, GALWAY CITY

OUR LADY IMMACULATE JUNIOR N.S., DARNDALE, DUBLIN 17

ST. ULTAN‘S PRIMARY SCHOOL, CHERRY ORCHARD, DUBLIN 8

 

View their profiles and find out more on our website.

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ANNUAL ASHOKA FELLOW & ASN CHRISTMAS DINNER

Our annual Christmas Dinner for Fellows & ASN Members was held in December. We officially welcomed John Kearney into the Fellowship and unveiled the Impact Magazine.

View highlights from our annual Christmas Dinner below.

 

FEATURED FELLOW: JOHN KEARNEY, IRISH COMMUNITY RAPID RESPONSE

John is the founder of Irish Community Rapid Response (ICRR) a network of first responders providing emergency medical to patients in remote areas. Acting as a ‘mobile intensive care unit,’ ICRR is a network of highly trained volunteer emergency medical personnel who can provide treatment in life threatening circumstances.

In just one year, ICRR’s team has deployed more than100 doctors to assist nearly 500 patients with an estimated 2 lives saved each month. ICRR is on track to triple its fleet of General Practitioners to 300 over the next 3 years and scale the ICRR model to 11 counties around Ireland.

Find out more: www.icrr.ie

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‘YES INCLUSION: BUILDING AN IRELAND WHERE EVERYONE IS WELCOME’

We were delighted to host an event as part of New Year’s Eve Festival Dublin. Held on 30th December in beautiful Smock Alley Theatre, the event brought together Ashoka Fellows Caroline Casey, Mary Nally and Krystian Fikert, as well as Peter Brady Moans, a student from Ashoka Fellow Mairead Healy’s organisation, Future Voices.

View highlights from the sold-out event below.

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MEDIA HIGHLIGHTS (SINCE SUMMER'15)

Connecting Through Language: Helping Migrants Integrate — A profile on Ashoka Fellow Mary Nally & Fáilte Isteach in Forbes (Aug’15)

‘The teenagers who find advantages in disadvantage’ — An extended piece on Ashoka Fellow Mairead Healy & Future Voices in The Irish Times (Aug’15)

‘Making poverty and inequality history?’ — A feature on education profiling Changemaker School Corpus Christi P.S. and Principal Tiernan O’Neill in The Irish Times (Sept’15)

‘Burren scheme shows benefits of farming on environment’ — A spotlight on Ashoka Fellow Brendan Dunford & the Burren Life farming conservation project in The Irish Times (Sept’15)

‘Ashoka takes the entrepreneurial approach to tackling social problems’ — The Irish Times innovation profile on Ashoka Ireland, featuring ASN Members Patrick Coveney and Brian Caulfield (Oct’15)

‘National campaign to train people in CPR’ — An interview with Ashoka Fellow John Kearney (ICRR) on Morning Ireland (Jan’16)

‘It’s good to be green’ — The Irish Times innovation profile on the business case for sustainability, featuring Ashoka Fellows Neil McCabe (TheGreenPlan) and Mick Kelly (GIY) (Feb’16)

NEW YEAR, NEW ONLINE HOME!

Many months in the making, we have finally launched our newly-redesigned website and blog.

Head on over: www.ashoka.ie

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COMMUNICATING WITH YOU

This is the winter 2016 issue of the Ashoka Ireland quarterly newsletter. Feel free to share the link widely! Email Fiona at fkoch@ashoka.org with photos, videos and announcements to be featured in the next quarterly, planned for April.

Find out more about our work on our NEW website, and find us on Facebook & Twitter!

Ashoka Ireland Quarterly - Winter 2015

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IRISH TIMES SPECIAL REPORT ON SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP HIGHLIGHTS THE WORK OF ASHOKA FELLOWS IN IRELAND

On 13th December 2014, the Irish Times published a series of articles on social enterprise in their print and online issues, asking writers to imagine a future of “engaged citizens in a smart society and not just alienated workers in a smart economy.”

December’s article series included ‘What social enterprise can do for you,’ which examined the concept of social entrepreneurs as “people who show that by thinking and acting in a different way, communities can be improved.” Written by Barry Flinn, the article highlighted the work of two Ashoka Fellows working in Ireland: Thorkil Sonne, Founder of Specialisterne, a recruitment company for high-functioning people on the autism spectrum, and Neil McCabe, a fireman from Dublin who has turned Kilbarrack fire station into the first carbon-negative station in the world through his sustainability model, the Green Plan.

Another featured article, ‘Solving the biggest social problems requires a willingness to fail,’ spoke with Ashoka Ireland Fellow Krystian Fikert, Founder of mental health centre MyMind.

Read the articles on the Irish Times website.

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TRANSFORMING HEALTHCARE: BOEHRINGER INGELHEIM & ASHOKA

BI & Ashoka Ireland are delighted to update you about the successes of our partnership to transform healthcare in 2014.

MYMIND — In 2014, Ashoka Fellow Krystian Fikert’s organisation MyMind treated over 5,500 individuals with 1-on-1 care, opened their fourth national centre, in Limerick, and launched ‘MyMind at Work,’ a new programme to promote emotional wellbeing in the workplace. Two new centres are planned for 2015, in Galway and the Midlands.

SIEL BLEU — Ashoka Fellow Jean-Michel Ricard’s organisation Siel Bleu worked with over 1,650 people in 16 counties in 2014, and published the ‘Happier Study’ across 32 residential homes in Ireland, France, Spain and Belgium. Results showed positive outcomes across a number of measures, including reducing falls and improving quality of life.

Project ECHO — In 2014, Ashoka Fellow Sanjeev Arora’s Project ECHO welcomed St. James’ Hospital into their network, and Prof. Suzanne Norris and Colm Bergin launched the first Hepatitis-C ECHO Hub outside of the United States, which will facilitate the future management of Hepatitis C in Ireland.

EDEN ALTERNATIVE — Ashoka Fellow William Thomas’s organisation Eden Alternative successfully trained staff at Raheny Nursing Home to adopt the Eden Alternative philosophy in 2014. The model now impacts over 250 lives across Ireland, with plans to extend its reach in 2015.

THIRD AGE — Ashoka Ireland Fellow Mary Nally’s Third Age joined the health cluster in 2014. The organisation has over 1,000 volunteers working throughout Ireland contributing to their local communities through three national programmes: Senior Help Line, Failte Isteach and SAGE.

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FEATURED FELLOW: KRYSTIAN FIKERT, MYMIND

Ashoka Ireland Fellow Krystian Fikert is the Founder of MyMind, a movement for community- based mental health services. Originally from Poland, Krystian moved to Dublin in 2004 to work for Google as a search-quality evaluator. A trained psychologist, he was was struck by the volume of Irish searches relating to mental health and depression and saw a niche for support and early intervention at a community level. In 2007 he set up the PPD psychological centre, an early precursor to MyMind, offering advice and counselling to immigrant communities.

Krystian’s vision is to make mental health care available and affordable without stigma, using a revenue-generating combination of paid and pro-bono therapists and practitioners. MyMind now has a team of 80 staff, working in 10 languages from Dublin, Cork and Limerick, and a strong network of partners including Ashoka, Social Entrepreneurs Ireland and Boehringer Ingelheim, among many others. In a recent interview with Business&Leadership, Krystian said that co-creation has been key to his success:

“In terms of the overall vision and mission of the organisation, we are constantly interested in building partnerships with other organisations… We want mental healthcare to be as normal as going to see a GP, and we’re not going to achieve that on our own.”
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As mentioned in the Boehringer Ingelheim partnership update above, 2014 was a busy year of milestones for MyMind, and 2015 promises even more growth and success, with two new partnerships on the horizon. MyMind recently teamed up with St Patrick’s Mental Health Services to provide community based counselling and psychotherapy services to a number of their clients. Additionally, MyMind is partnering with the Irish Bank Officials Association to provide independent mental health services to their members nationally. These two partnerships will help to expand MyMind’s reach and further advance their mission of providing affordable and accessible mental health support across Ireland.

Visit MyMind’s website to experience their impressive user interface.

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FOODCLOUD CO-FOUNDER AOIBHEANN O'BRIEN WINS #JOINOURCORE COMPETITION

For the third year running, Ashoka and Ben&Jerry’s partnered up for Join Our Core, an international competition seeking to support and celebrate young entrepreneurs who have built a social mission into to their business model.

In November, two Irish finalists Aoibheann O’Brien (FoodCloud) and Joe Caslin (Our Nation’s Sons) pitched to a panel of expert judges in London. Winner Aoibheann was awarded €10,000 in prize money, FoodCloud branding on a Ben&Jerry’s ice-cream flavour and a trip to the Ben&Jerry’s headquarters in Vermont, USA. Runner-up Joe Caslin received €1,000.

Visit FoodCloud’s website to learn more about their food-redistribution model, and check out Joe Caslin’s beautiful street art installations, which seek to raise awareness around men’s mental health in Ireland!

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ANNOUNCING THE 2014 CHANGEMAKER XCHANGE SUMMIT

Founded by Ashoka in 2012 and supported by the Robert Bosch Stiftung, the Changemaker Xchange selects and gathers over 100 young changemakers with a proven track record in driving exciting social ventures for a five-day summit. Hosted in Istanbul this coming May 2015, the summit is a unique chance to share experiences, learn from each other and create cross-border collaborations.

Former attendees from Ireland include Adam Harris, Founder of AsIAm, and Daithí de Buitléir, Founder of Raising and Giving Ireland (RAG). All social innovators aged between 18 and 28 are invited to apply!

Find out more about the summit at the Changemaker Xchange website & read Adam’s blogpost on Virgin Ignite from earlier this week!

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CHANGEMAKER SCHOOLS: WHAT'S AHEAD IN 2015

SOME UPCOMING HIGHLIGHTS:

— Changemaker Principals & students will gather at St. Oliver’s NS in Kerry for a site-visit in February— The Ashoka Changemaker Schools Summit will convene 25 Principals from all over Europe in Sweden this March

Call for nominations! Contact Anne-Marie (amneary@ashoka.org) with nominations for the next class of Changemaker Schools in Ireland

Read about our Changemaker Schools programme & watch the video on our website.

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ASHOKA FELLOW DATA FROM 2014

See how our Venture programme has helped the global social entrepreneurship sector grow in 2014!

Visit our website to find out more.

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ANNOUNCING OUR NEW ADVISORY BOARD MEMBERS

In 2015, we are delighted to welcome a new Advisory Board. Patrick Coveney (CEO, Greencore), Neil O’Leary (CEO, Ion Equity), Sharon Keilthy (Health Expert, McKinsey) and Aidan Browne (Partner, Sullivan & Worcester) join long-time Ashoka supporter Bride Rosney (Secretary, Mary Robinson Foundation) and Ashoka Ireland Fellow Caroline Casey (The Ability Awards) on the Board.

Read their bios on our website.

 

COMMUNICATING WITH YOU

This is the winter issue of the Ashoka Ireland quarterly newsletter. Feel free to share the link widely! Email Fiona at fkoch@ashoka.org with photos, videos and announcements to be featured in the next quarterly, planned for this spring.

Find out more about our work on our website, and find us on Facebook & Twitter!

Ashoka Ireland Quarterly - Summer 2015

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A ROUND TABLE WITH ASHOKA FELLOW SISTER CYRIL MOONEY

We had the pleasure of welcoming Ashoka Fellow & education innovator Sister Cyril Mooney to our office for a round table lunch. The lunch was attended by key education influencers, Ashoka Ireland Fellows and Changemaker Schools.

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We would mix the richest with the poorest […] and teach them how to share. The well-off children’s mindset would be, “I’m not going to condescend and lend my laptop to her. I’m going to share.” To build up a strong nation you have to learn how to share.

Sister Cyril has been living and working in Kolkata, India since 1956, where she has emerged as a nationwide leader in bringing quality education to urban and rural poor children. She received an Ashoka Fellowship in 1990 (making her the first Irish-born Ashoka Fellow!) and was awarded the Padma Shri, the Indian government’s highest honour for civilians, in 2007.

Read Joe Humphreys’s article in the Irish Times to find out more about her long career as an education innovator!

 

ANNUAL ASHOKA FELLOW & ASN SUMMER RETREAT

We held our annual summer retreat for Fellows & ASN Members in beautiful Burrishoole, Newport, County Mayo on the weekend of May 29th. Three days were filled with group discussions, well-being activities such as yoga and walking, one-on-one mentoring sessions, and music & poetry in the evenings.

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The group of over 35 attendees included Fellows, ASN Members, key advisors and the Ashoka Ireland team. We are very grateful to ASN Member Denis Tinsley for hosting the retreat in his beautiful home again this year.

View more highlights from the retreat below!

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VIDEO: IRISH CHANGEMAKER SCHOOLS GATHERING

What does changemaking education mean to you? On April 21st, students, teachers and principals from Ireland’s first five Ashoka Changemaker Schools met in Francis St. CBS in Dublin.

“In a circle, everyone is equal.”

Students from all five Changemaker Schools presented on their school’s commitment to promoting values such as empathy, creativity, teamwork and leadership. Group discussions with pupils were also led by special guests Alternative Miss Ireland Sinéad Burke (aka Minnie Mélange) and Chief Commissioner of Human Rights Emily Logan.

Check out the video below created by the wonderful team at Francis St. CBS!

 

FEATURED FELLOW: BRENDAN DUNFORD, BURREN LIFE & BURREN BEO

Ashoka Fellow Dr. Brendan Dunford is a co-founder of the Burrenbeo Trust, a multidimensional resource supporting the sustainable management and use of one of the most unique landscapes in Ireland, and Burren Life, a programme helping farmers make additional income through conservation. Covering over 720 square kilometres of rural countryside in County Clare, the Burren landscape boasts Ireland’s highest density of archaeological sites and is home to over 70% of all of Ireland’s native flowers, as well as a rare blend of Arctic, Alpine and Mediterranean wildflower varieties.

Burren Life’s Farming for Conservation Programme allows farmers to lead in the development and delivery of critical conservation actions on their farms, creating financial incentives for the delivery of public goods such as biodiversity, clean water, access paths and grazing habitats. There are currently 160 farmers participating in this scheme covering 35,000 acres of land in the Burren region, with plans to expand across the entire Burren and to other regions in Ireland and Europe in the next few years.

The Ashoka Ireland team had the pleasure of visiting Fellow Brendan Dunford on site at the Burren, Co. Clare in July!

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SUMMER UPDATES FROM BURRENBEO & BURREN LIFE:

MSc in Biodiversity & Land Use Planning: A unique, two year part-time course in NUI Galway has been designed specifically for professionals who wish to incorporate expertise in biodiversity and associated legislative requirements within current or future positions. Applications: www.pac.ie/nuigalway

A Special Mention in the European Awards: The Burrenbeo Trust received a ‘Special Mention of the Jury’ in the category of Education, Training and Awareness-Raising as part of the European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage in July.

— Upcoming Events: Guided ‘Walk With a Difference’ for wheelchair users (Wednesday 26th August) and Sensory Walk for the visually impaired (Saturday 29th August) — and look out for the annual Winterage Festival including Winterage School on Sustainable Farming, taking place from Thursday 22nd to Sunday 25th of October!

— Prince Charles’s visit to the Burren: On 20th May, noted conservationist HRH Prince Charles fulfilled a life-long desire to visit the Burren, in order to gain a better understanding of the Burren’s history, farming, traditions, its huge trove of documented and undocumented archaeology. During his visit, Dr. Dunford introduced the Prince to some of the extraordinary botanical, geological and archaeological features of the Burren.

See photos of Prince Charles’s tour below and visit the BurrenLife’s press kit for more coverage!

 

ASN & FELLOW 'MEETING OF MINDS' IN AMSTERDAM - SEPTEMBER 18TH

Ashoka Northern Europe is hosting a ‘Meeting of Minds’ event in Amsterdam on September 18th. A programme of inspiring talks and networking sessions will allow ASN Members & Fellows from across Europe to meet and build new relationships. The day will end with this group attending the Homeless World Cup finals, which is taking place on the historic Museumplein in Amsterdam.

Ashoka (UK) Fellow Mel Young co-founded the Homeless World Cup Foundation as a network of national charities who run year-round street soccer leagues for players experiencing homelessness and poverty. Today, the organisation touches the lives of over 100,000 homeless each year in 74 participating countries, and counts Irish actor Colin Farrell among its celebrity ambassadors.

Find out more about the tournament on the HWC website.

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MEDIA HIGHLIGHTS, SUMMER 2015

CEO Of The World’s First MOOC Provides Hope To Former Prisoners Through Education — An interview with Ashoka Fellow Mike Feerick in Forbes (July)

Change leaders: Dr Steve Collins, Valid International and Valid Nutrition — An interview with Ashoka Fellow Dr. Steve Collins in Business&Leadership (July)

Irish Loreto nun champions ‘inclusive schools’ in India — A profile on Sister Cyril Mooney in the Irish Times (July)

Behind The News: Sarah Bredin, Mental Health Advocate — An interview with MyMind client Sarah Bredin in the Irish Times (June)

How Ireland is Becoming a Leader in Social Entrepreneurship — A survey of the social entrepreneurship landscape in Ireland by online blog The Cultureist (June)

Selfie World Record Broken at TEDx event in Dublin — A spotlight on Ashoka Fellow Mairead Healy & FutureVoices TEDxYouthAtTheSpire Event (June)

‘How A Career In Tech Prepared One Social Entrepreneur To Shake Up The Mental Health Sector’ — A profile on Ashoka Fellow Krystian Fikert & MyMind (May)

Fields of magic on trip to the Burren — An article on HRH Prince Charles’s Burren trip in the Irish Times (May)

‘In pictures: Prince Charles and Camilla visit Ireland’ — A spotlight on HRH Prince Charles’s visit to the Burren, with a tour led by Ashoka Fellow Dr. Brendan Dunford (May)

 

WHAT'S AHEAD IN 2015

— ANNOUNCING OUR 14TH IRISH ASHOKA FELLOW

— PRESENTING OUR NEWEST MEDIA PARTNERSHIP

— WELCOMING 4 NEW ASHOKA CHANGEMAKER SCHOOLS IN IRELAND

— INTRODUCING OUR ANNUAL IMPACT REPORT

Look out for these exciting updates in the next AIQ, planned for October!

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WE'RE MOVING!

After nine wonderful years in the historic brown-brick building at 18 Eustace Street in Temple Bar, we are moving to a new home. We are delighted to announce that we will be joining the co-working hub inside Tribal Ventures on South William Street (just a few streets south of where we are now!)

We are grateful to the team at Tribal, including founder Conor Stanley who has been an ASN Member and supporter of Ashoka for several years, for making this possible.

Feel free to stop by and say hello after our move on 1st September!

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COMMUNICATING WITH YOU

This is the summer 2015 issue of the Ashoka Ireland quarterly newsletter. Feel free to share the link widely! Email Fiona at fkoch@ashoka.org with photos, videos and announcements to be featured in the next quarterly, planned for October.

Find out more about our work on our website, and find us on Facebook & Twitter!