Ashoka Ireland Quarterly - Summer 2014

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News and updates from our community


We are delighted to announce our newest Ashoka IrelandFellow! Mairead Healy is the Founder and Executive Director of Future Voices Ireland, an innovative youth empowerment & human rights charity working with disadvantaged teenagers in some of the lowest performing DEIS schools in Ireland. Future Voices empowers traditionally underrepresented young people to find their voices, so that they might go on to become the future leaders of Irish society within the legal, political, community and public sectors. The guiding mission of Future Voices is to ensure that high-level decision making in the legal field is more diverse and representative of Irish society. Mairead joins the Ashoka Fellowship this July.

Find out more about Future Voices on their website.

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Ashoka Changemaker Schools is a global movement in education. Since Ashoka Ireland introduced the programme in 2013, six innovative Irish primary schools have been elected as Changemaker Schools. They join a global network that includes 60 members in the US, 5 in the UK and dozens more across Europe and Africa! 

The Panel of education specialists that elected this inaugural group of Irish schools included Ombudsman for Children Emily Logan, President of St. Patrick’s College of Education Professor Daire Keogh, former Special Advisor to Mary Robinson Bride Rosney and Ashoka Ireland Director Serena Mizzoni

Changemaker Schools are elected based on a shared vision of preparing young people to develop empathy, creativity, teamwork and leadership — skills that will allow them to grow up embracing change and finding new ways to solve social problems in any walk of life. Whether bringing in a 3-month old infant to give lessons in empathy, or starting farmer’s markets to encourage entrepreneurship, Changemaker Schools are united in turning parts of the school day on their head to bring out potential in young people that can otherwise go untapped. 

We are excited to officially launch the Changemaker Schoolsprogramme this autumn with a very special event - more information to follow soon!

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Former Minister of State in the Department of Education Ciaran Cannon was our guest at the Ashoka Changemakers Week conference in Paris in June, where he spoke about the value of innovation in education. Minister Cannon’s talk celebrated organisations like JUMP Maths, Playworks and Peace First, which have successfully taken root in Ireland since the first Ashoka Change Nation event in 2012.

“How can we as policymakers, as teachers, social entrepreneurs and changemakers, protect the creative freedom, the courage & self-belief that every child has within them from the day they are born?”

Watch Minister Cannon’s talk below:



Ashoka Fellow Mary Nally is the Founder of Third Age Ireland, a national voluntary organisation that promotes the value and contribution of older people to their societies. Through her work with Third Age, Mary is working to bridge gaps between generations and disparate groups, placing older people as advocates for other isolated populations. Third Age operates in Ireland through a number of local, national and international services and programmes, including the Senior Helpline, a telephone listening service for older people, advocacy services for nursing home residents, and free classes in conversational English to migrants countrywide. 

Mary began her work for older people in a modestly scaled way to meet an obvious need in her home community among people who felt adrift after retirement. Over the years, that local undertaking has evolved into a multi-faceted venture that enables older people to contribute and thrive, and today the collective activities of Third Age positively impact the lives of thousands of people in Ireland.

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On June 5, Third Age celebrated the opening of their new national offices in County Meath. Sited in the Summerhill Primary Care Centre, the purpose-built facility was officially opened by Alex White, T.D., Minister of State with responsibility for Primary Care. The new Summerhill facility accommodates HSE Primary Care Centre, Summerhill GP Practice and Summerhill Pharmacy as well as the new Third Age Centre. Speaking at the launch, Third Age Board Member Tim O’Connor marked an important day: 


“This is another landmark day in the journey of Third Age. [The opening of our headquarters] is a testimony to how far we’ve come since Mary Nally planted the first acorn 26 years ago.” 
Mr. O’Connor said that new Centre is also a statement of Third Age’s continuing ambition and vision for the future. “Third Age has always been a pioneering organisation and…it is determined to continue being a beacon of excellence in the future,” he said. It is clear that this milestone will help Mary Nally’s organisation to continue to enable and facilitate the rich contribution that older people can make to society and also ensure the highest quality of support in the community.

Read Mary Nally’s Ashoka Fellow profile, and find out more about Third Age and their work in Ireland on their website.

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2014 has been a busy year for our Fellows and their organisations!

— ALISON, the world’s first MOOC, broke 3 million users in February, and published the ALISON Graduate & Learner survey last week. ALISON’s Founder, Ashoka Fellow Mike Feerick spoke at an Ashoka-sponsored event at the Pearson PLC Headquarters in London in April — watch Mike’s conversation about ‘ReImagining Learning.’

— Ashoka Fellow Caroline Casey’s organisation Kanchi was selected as one of only fifteen finalists in the Changemakers Social & Business Co-Creation Competition! Representatives from Kanchi attended the prize-giving ceremony at the prestigious Zermatt Summit in Switzerland in June. Find out more on the Changemakers website.

— Ashoka Fellow James Whelton’s coding community CoderDojo celebrated their third birthday in June. In three years, the movement has grown from strength to strength, and as of July, there are over 458 Dojos spread across 47 countries, including Nigeria, Japan, Italy, Romania, the US and more. Happy Birthday, CoderDojo!

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— Ashoka Fellow Neil McCabe was the recipient of the Green Leader Award at the Irish Green Awards in April. His organisation Green Plan launched a new logo earlier this year, with a website to follow soon. RTÉ visited Neil at his Kilbarrack fire station for a special Eco Eye episode on sustainability — watch the episode on Youtube!

— Ashoka Fellow Krystian Fikert’s organisation MyMind opened their fourth national clinic, in Limerick City, in April. Minister of State TD Kathleen Lynch attended the ceremony. MyMind have also been expanding the services offered on their website, and unveiled a beautiful new logo in May!

Check out the new Green Plan and MyMind logos below:

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This is the summer issue of the new Ashoka Ireland quarterly newsletter. Feel free to share the link widely! Email Fiona at with photos, videos and announcements to be featured in the next quarterly, planned for this autumn.

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

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