Galway organisation puts young people’s “Words in Motion”

Young people in direct provision in Galway are being encouraged to tap into their own creativity by taking free writing and performance classes. 

The event, “Words In Motion”, was created to offer young people living in direct provision other activities than sports. 

Vusi Thabethe, Chairperson of Shining Light and Coordinator of the event, said, “having spoken to some residents in direct provision, we noticed that most of the activities [offered in direct provision] are sports activities, but some of them have highlighted the need to get involved in cultural extramural activities in a way.

“This [event] is just an extra opportunity to get them involved in the art side of things.”

According to Mr Thabethe, young people in direct provision spend most of their life feeling excluded, trying to fit in with peers, living in a single room with their parents and siblings, and having difficulties concentrating. 

However, the organisers, Shining Light and the Cuirt International Festival of Literature,  are keen to stress that they do not want participants to focus on life in the provisioning system but instead learn how to “truly express” themselves and be more confident. 

Shining Light is a charity formed by a group of local residents to assist minority groups in need, particularly people living in direct provision. 

“I’m hoping we don’t, in a way, push them to focus too much on the situation which they’re in. I’m hoping we could encourage them to take on different aspects of life, or maybe to show them a path that there are other means of achieving goals,” Mr Thabethe said. 

The charity organisation which provides food, English lessons, and moral support to people will also be providing food and transportation for this event. 

The goal of this workshop is shared by Shining Light’s partners, the Cuirt International Festival of Literature, one of Europe’s oldest book festivals. 

Ashling O’Riordan, Programme Manager of this year’s festival said, “I hope that by providing the workshops it can show them different ways to be creative with writing and performing and can spark their imaginations.”

“We saw the brilliant work that Shining Light was doing in the community and thought partnering with them would be a great way to deliver a number of creative events.”

“We hope it’ll give them something fun to do and get them thinking about writing and their own creativity. It would be great to show them that the festival is open to them and that they’ll engage with it in future years,” she said. 

The workshops will take place on 19 and 26 February in Ballinasloe Library and will involve creative writing, spoken word poetry, and performing arts.

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