Drop-in: individual supports and advocacy
MIA provides information, supports and advice to migrants through the drop-in service in its Castlebar office and by the way of referrals from and to other agencies and support services. In 2015 over one hundred migrants accessed drop-in service. The areas of support include: immigration/residency/citizenship, access to education, employment and support services, social protection, health services, housing, employment rights, access to driving in Ireland, etc.
Outreach programmes and supports for the residents of the Old Convent, Ballyhaunis
MIA is actively working to provide individual supports and activities to promote asylum seekers social inclusion. This work has always been a priority for MIA. We have a has a track record of providing information, community education and capacity building programmes to asylum seekers residents in the Old Convent, Ballyhaunis. For instance in 2015 the following supports were provided:
- programme ‘Moving out of Direct Provision’ delivered in partnership with the SWMDC (autumn 2015);
- orientation sessions for newly arrived residents;
- Conversational English classes;
- activities/programmes with Women’s Group: basic skills classes, access to counselling supports with May Rape Crisis Centre;
- access for children of asylum seekers to local activities.
Integration and intercultural awareness action
MIA actively promotes integration and social inclusion of migrants, asylum seekers and refugeees in all aspects of local community working in partnerships with the local/national organisations and agencies, including Mayo County Council, FAI, Mayo Volunteer Centre, National Museum of Country Life, Conradh na Gaeilge, Mayo Art Squad, GMIT, Mary Robinson Centre and others. Our projects include:
- Integration Women’s Group commenced in November 2015 to address isolation, social exclusion and improve well-being of migrant women;
- Collaborating with the National Museum of Ireland on the intercultural projects ‘Migrant Women: Shared Experiences’ and ‘Give your voice wings’;
- Intercultural events are organised on yearly basis to bring together different communities for cultural exchange and social engagement.
MIA is actively lobbying for change on the issues affecting target groups through addressing officials and politicians, participating in national campaigns on migrants and asylum seekers issues. For instance
- MIA is a lead agency for the Mayo Integration Forum, a platform that brings together statutory and community groups to discuss and address migrant issues and promote integration in County Mayo.
- MIA actively participates in the local Social Policy Group feeding the issues affecting migrants in relation to access to housing;
- MIA is an active supporter of a number of national campaigns advocating for migrants and asylum seekers, such as End Direct Provision (Irish Refugee Council), Turn off the Red Light (Immigrant Council of Ireland), Justice for Undocumented (Migrant Rights Centre), Love not Hate (ENAR).
We take part in consultations and write submissions to Government departments and civil society shadow reporting procedures to highlight the needs and challenges of migrants living in Mayo.