Sierra Leone Independence Day 27th. April

SLIP will be hosting a zoom call to mark and celebrate 60 years of Sierra Leone Independence. The details of the site are below. You can register for the event on Eventbrite. The details of the zoom meeting are:

Topic: Sierra Leone Ireland Partnership – Sierra Leone Independence Day Event
Time: Apr 27, 2021 06:30 PM Dublin
Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 848 7002 2325
Passcode: 665626

Response to Fire in Freetown

As reported earlier a fire in Freetown has led to thousands being left homeless with little support. The following article outlines some of the assistance that is being given by the Don Bosco Fambul to those affected by this terrible tragedy–in-a-fire

SLIP meeting with Minister Brophy

On March 31st 2021 a delegation from SLIP met with Colm Brophy T.D. Minister for Overseas Development and the Diaspora to discuss the future of Irish involvement in Sierra Leone.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image.jpeg
Minister for Overseas Development and the Diaspora Colm Brophy

The discussions afforded us the opportunity to present some of our concerns in relation to strengthening the political, economic and cultural ties with Sierra Leone. 

We are very cognisant of the long tradition of the Irish missionary presence in parishes, schools and medical facilities which are now staffed by local personnel, and the Irish missionary presence has declined. In the light of this, and with a view to more overtly profiling Irish people’s continuing financial support to SL we sought increased support for a Salesian Order project, Don Bosco Fambul Bus.  

This social welfare project in the community supporting adolescent girls and boys in the poorer areas of Freetown provides food, clothing, education and on-going support until the young people are re-united with their families.  Providing increased funding for the ‘bus project’ would strengthen its impact by improving its outreach. 

SLIP proposes that this project be given special status and recognised as an Irish Aid ‘Special Partnership Project’, with dedicated funding.

The Minister gave a commitment to continuing support for SL which is already the recipient of important grants from Irish Aid. He is particularly committed to the cause of education for girls which was one of the themes of the SLIP Seminar on Education in Sierra Leone held last year in conjunction with the Dept of International Development in Maynooth University. Arising from the seminar, online meetings have been held between the Teaching Council in Ireland and the Sierra Leone Teaching Commission with the aim of strengthening teacher training in Sierra Leone.

We also spoke of the issue of obstetric fistula a condition which can be caused by early pregnancy and lack of access to medical care.

Minister Brophy said he would like to visit Sierra Leone when travel restrictions are lifted. He reiterated his commitment and determination to stay involved in Sierra Leone.

We thanked him for his interest and support and look forward to continuing the dialogue.

Research on returned Irish Missionaries.

Irish Missionaries have been involved for over 150 years in Sierra Leone. Many religious have devoted all or part of their lives in helping the people. Recently researchers in NUI Galway have been working to meet and interview as many returned Missionaries as possible in order that their story may be told. The researchers Prof. Ricca Edmondson and Dr. Carmel Gallagher have conducted 11 interviews to date with two more to be scheduled. They have interviewed a good mix of males and females from a variety of Orders but would like to talk to more. The interviews are carried out by Zoom and so far have been successful in recording the story of these dedicated people. The following letter gives more information:

Letter of invitation to AMRI members

Research study: Intercultural Dilemmas: Voices of Retired Missionaries

This is an invitation to people who have worked as missionaries to take part in a qualitative research study underway on the work and experiences of Irish missionaries, chiefly those who have returned to live in Ireland. Ethical approval for this study has been received from the Research Ethics Committee in NUI, Galway.

The main focus of the research is to allow missionaries to tell their individual stories of their missionary work and lives. Missionaries possess unique insights and often we do not hear the voices of missionaries themselves – what they have learned, the kind of people they are, how they have changed and adapted, and the challenges of living in the societies from which they set out.

Returned missionaries have, we believe, several vantage points from which to communicate their understandings, having worked across cultures and over a time period when significant changes have occurred in the Catholic Church, Irish society and in mission work itself.

The research centres on open-ended conversational interviews, mostly with returned or retired missionary priests, nuns and brothers, but also former clerics and lay people who have worked as missionaries, or others with various forms of relevant experience. These conversations will initially be conducted via zoom or skype and, when the Covid situation allows, in face-to face meetings.

The first invitation to participate in this research, issued last December, resulted in considerable interest, and interviews have already been conducted with men and women from different Orders and with diverse missionary experiences. These interviews were all conducted via zoom and were extremely insightful and, we believe, a positive experience for the participants. We now seek further participants for this research study.

Participation in the research is, of course, entirely voluntary and people are encouraged to request further information before deciding to take part. Unless they prefer to be identified, interviewees will remain anonymous in the final report. If details of a person’s work might reveal who they are, the authors will consult with respondents to remove selected details from the final report. The interviews will be recorded, and transcripts of interviews will be sent to the interviewees to enable them to respond to the transcripts or to clarify any points they may have made.

It is expected that each interview will last at least an hour. There are no fixed, predetermined questions and no right answers. Rather, each interviewee will determine the direction of the interview and each interview will be unique to that person. The interviewer will introduce certain topics and themes but will mostly listen and encourage reflective conversation. Topics will typically include interviewees’ early years, their work and experiences, events and people that influenced them, challenges and changes over their life course, what they have learned, opportunities to share their experiences, and their perspectives on changes and ethical decision-making in Irish society.

The researchers who will themselves conduct the interviews are both retired academics who have a particular interest in the topics and questions of this study. They are active researchers on topics related to ageing and values, community and participation, as well as wisdom and interculturality. Their hope is to capture the voices and views of returned and retired missionaries within the framework of an academic study.

It is anticipated that the study participants will centrally comprise a varied group of returned missionaries from a number of different orders, societies and institutions, both large and small in terms of missionary focus. It is also intended to include people with diverse experiences in different continents and countries. We are also interested in speaking to people who have continued to live in the country in which they worked as a missionary.

Further information and details of the study will be sent to anyone who expresses interest. We would be delighted to hear from you.

If you are interested in taking part in this research, please contact Professor Ricca Edmondson or Dr Carmel Gallagher by email at the contact details below: Carmel.gallagher@tudublin.i