Entries by Serve Solidarity

Christian Brothers College (Cork) are SDG champions

Christian Brothers College SERVE SDG Champions
Few of the students from Christian Brothers College (Cork)

Christian Brothers College stars in SERVE SDG School Champions Programme

We believe in the power of development education for young people to empower them to become active Global Citizens. 

Our SDG Champions School Programme allows us to continue the invaluable connection with schools despite the ongoing pandemic.

Under the programme, students may apply to be part of their schools SDG Champions Team. On the Team, they have the opportunity to partake in challenges, training, and activities and be champions of change in their own school community.

SERVE supports the schools along the way and the SDG Champions Team members all receive a certificate of recognition of their steps towards becoming a more active global citizen. 

One of the schools to sign up are the Christian Brothers College in Cork. They have also signed up to our Pen Pals Project. 

Recently, the students visited us in Scala, Blackrock and talked to us about their ambitions for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. One of their students highlighted the prevalence of inequality in food access and pledged to challenge world hunger in his day to day life. The average Irish household wastes 150kg of food every year while 10% of the world’s population continues to starve. This shows that we urgently need more education on tackling food waste in our day to day lives.

We thank Christian Brothers Cork for reminding us of the importance of food security. 

The students also hosted a bake sale and also completed a walking marathon to fundraise for our work. We’re extremely grateful for the dedication and solidarity in action.

Assumption Parish hosts annual residential youth workshops

Certificate ceremony at Youth Leadership Workshop 2022 in Assumption Parish, Mazabuka, Zambia

SERVE supports annual youth leadership workshops in Assumption Parish

SERVE works closely with the Assumption Parish in Mazabuka, Zambia to support youth development. The latest initiative supported by SERVE was funding  a three day  youth leadership workshop for over 100 young people in April 2022.

The workshops discussed:

  • Goal setting
  • Self confidence
  • Communication and Critical Thinking
  • Drug awareness
  • Holistic Growth
  • Entrepreneurship, innovation, and creativity

The workshops give the young people an opportunity meet their peers and train with mentors who can guide them towards a successful future. This will help nurture their creativity and leadership skills. 

The other achievement of these residential workshops is increasing the capacity of our partner liaison Milimo Muchanga and the team he works with in the area of project management. 

SERVE is extremely proud to have played a supporting role in creating this successful initiative in 2022, especially because it continues the work that our long term volunteer Darren Hennelley had completed with Milimo Muchanga in 2021. 

Please join us in congratulating Milimo Muchanga, his team and the facilitators for their fantastic work, and wishing the youth who participated this year the very best for their future.

Few photos from the workshops

Carrigtwohill Community College supports SERVE Ukraine appeal

SERVE thanks Carrigtwohill Community College for generous donation to Ukraine appeal
SERVE chairperson holding the cheque received from Carrigtwohill Community College

Cork school supports SERVE Ukraine Appeal

SERVE would like to warmly thank the Carrigtwohill Community College for their kind donation to our Ukraine appeal fund. Watching the war unfold from afar has been deeply upsetting for all of us, but the generosity of our donors has warmed our hearts and given us hope.

SERVE’s partner in Ukraine, the Redemptorists, have been working tirelessly since the beginning of the war to support civilians and provide them with shelter, food, and clothing. They have opened up their homes and their churches to provide a resting place for displaced families crippled with fear and anxiety. 

The funds raised by the Carrigtwohill Community College will go directly towards supporting the Redemptorists to help vulnerable Ukrainian people. 

Earth Day 2022

Earth Day 2022

Earth Day is a time to reflect on the many changes happening to our planet as climate change advances.  At SERVE, we recognise the importance of reflection and acknowledging the small steps we can all take to combat climate change. However, systemic change is also needed. The United Nations created the 17 Sustainable Development Goals in 2015 to focus the international community’s energy and attention on the tough challenges we face in making our world a better place.

 Goal #13 (Climate Action) is the one we focus on today.

Goal #13 asks us to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. Yesterday marked Ireland’s Earth Overshoot Day, meaning that Ireland has now used up a whole year’s allocation of natural resources. While a lot is already being done to combat the advancement of climate change, there is still a long way to go. 

At our home in Scala, Blackrock we created the Global Goals Trail as a physical reminder of the ongoing work that is required to improve our world. Climate Action is at the heart of the Trail as we also created raised garden beds, bird houses, and a composter to improve the biodiversity of the area. These are small actions that we can all take in our everyday lives to improve the environment, and we encourage you to do the same! 

Happy Easter from SERVE

Happy Easter from Team SERVE

In July 2016, when a truck intentionally drove into a crowd in Nice in France, a parent whispered words of hopeless grief “It feels as though someone has torn out my heart”.

In 2022 our human spirits are daily diminished as we are bombarded with terrible news about our own inhumanity to each other. The continuing attacks on the people of the Ukraine are relentless. Similar humanitarian tragedies prevail in Syria, Yemen, Mozambique, Burkina Faso but to name a few. The United Nations warns of a climate tipping point on emissions.

We are in liminal times, on the threshold of breakdown or breakthrough, so that something new can and will emerge. From where will the healing come? Inspiring leaders from a diverse set of backgrounds argue that we are called to a courageous commitment to action, contemplation and prophesy- to be present to the mysterious extremes of each human being, and to connect with, and be a light for the innocent millions caught up in a reign of prevalent darkness.

SERVE is dedicated to sending forth “tiny ripples of hope”. Our volunteer and development programmes energise creative alternatives to despair.

The celebration of Easter reinforces belief in the original blessing that is creation, that is humanity, that is unconditional love. Easter faith essentially stands by the hope that the ultimate future will be blessed.

Hope emerges when the future is utterly uncertain and unpredictable. In Hope in the Dark cultural historian Rebecca Solnit referring to the feeling of apprehension across the globe, writes, ‘We don’t know what is going to happen or how, or when, and that very uncertainty is the space for hope’.

The Easter story is told, as a blessing for those who feel overwhelmed by today’s defeatist perspective, giving them firm ground to stand on. Blessings to all the SERVE family and supporters.

Gerard O’Connor, SERVE Chairperson

“SERVE is dedicated to sending forth ‘tiny ripples of hope’. Our volunteer and development programmes energise creative alternatives to despair.”

Pen Pals Project

SERVE Pen Pals Project

Cork Students say hello to pen pals in Vietnam and Zambia. They are standing in front of the Global Goals mural by Elton Sibanda.

About SERVE Pen Pals Project

The SERVE Pen Pals Project began in 2022 to bridge the youth in Ireland and Germany to Vietnam and Zambia. This initiative contributes to  a deeper understanding of cultures while sustaining the art of letter writing. 

SERVE has initiated a PenPal writing project between the schools we work with in Ireland and Germany and our partners in Vietnam and Assumption Parish in Zambia. This is part of the SDG Champions School Programme. This project is presently being co-orodinated by Rory Murphy from the SERVE team.

Milimo Muchanga our partner liaison with Assumption Parish explained,  “This project helps young people in the community to practise English reading, writing and speaking skills. This gives the youth an opportunity to develop social skills while learning about a different culture. Students have begun to understand the differences in the world around them in all areas of life relevant to them.”

Rory explains, “The SERVE Pen Pal Project connects connects students in Cork, Mayo, Kildare, Augsburg (Germany), Hanoi, (Vietnam) and Mazabuka (Zambia). Over 200 students across these cities engaged. This project has been a value to the students in Ireland and Germany because it helps them to understand the challenges that other young people face in different parts of the world, develop friendships, and understand the similarities and differences between themselves and young people around the world. While students in Vietnam and Zambia also gain new perspectives, they are also practising English to communicate effectively which is useful for their future. “

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SERVE SDG Champions School Programme_Irish Charities

SERVE SDG Champions School Programme

SERVE’s SDG Champions School Programme aims to provide young people with an opportunity to learn about the world around them and their role in it as well as the steps they can take to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

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Takeaways from SERVE’s Flirt FM show

SERVE Flirt FM takeover
Team SERVE takes over Flirt FM - March 2022

Few takeaways from SERVE's Flirt FM take over

SERVE Intern Catriona Reed shares a reflection after listening to our take over of Flirt FM on 15th March 2022.

I am a huge admirer of the work that SERVE do every day to help people in need.

This March, I took part in the Run-a-Muck challenge in Co. Kildare along with nearly 20 other volunteers to raise funds for SERVE. We spent the day running through mucky fields, walking through streams, jumping over hay bales, and climbing rope ladders. We were all exhausted at the end of it but the sense of achievement we all felt was worth it. It was a fantastic experience and I’m really glad that I took on the challenge! The funds raised go to helping SERVE’s partners in Asia and Africa to help local people gain the skills they need to lift themselves out of poverty.

I’m pretty new to SERVE, so listening to their two-hour takeover of Flirt FM helped me gain a valuable insight into their operations abroad and in Ireland. My new colleagues, Paula Quigley and Nollaig Hulme, gave a brilliant overview of the value of SERVE’s work alongside a selection of fantastic music by Irish and international artists.

There’s a new day dawning

There’s a new day, there’s a new day dawning

And I think it’s going to be all right

‘Cause I almost see the light of a new day

(New Day, LYRA)

One of the key themes that Paula and Nollaig covered was that of solidarity, which is the foundational ethos of SERVE. SERVE shows its solidarity with developing nations in a unique way. Have you ever heard of the old quote that goes, “If you give a man a fish, he will be hungry tomorrow. If you teach a man to fish, he will be richer forever”? What this quote is trying to say is that if you teach people the skills they need to prosper, they will become self-sufficient. When I first learned about SERVE’s working model, this quote was immediately what I thought of.

SERVE works in solidarity with partners in developing countries, such as Young Africa, the Redemptorists, and the Assumption Parish, some of whom are featured on the radio takeover. SERVE’s aim is not to replace these local organisations but to support them in building their own self-sustaining systems by providing volunteer help, financing, and skills training to name a few.

One of the initiatives supported by SERVE which featured on the show (@ 38 minutes) is the Pen Pals Project. This project facilitates two-way lines of communication between children in Ireland and Zambia. 

Children write to each other and become friends through the written letter. Zambian children benefit hugely from this as they get to practise written English with a native English speaker, improving their writing and comprehension abilities and providing them with a vital skill for the future. Meanwhile, Irish children broaden their horizons by building bridges with a new friend abroad, and all children participating in the project realise that they have far more in common with each other than what separates them.

You are my best friend

My only best friend

You make me laugh

You make me smile

(Best Friend, ANDREAH)

A key takeaway I had from listening to the takeover was about the importance of global citizenship. Inequality between the global north and global south doesn’t lead to better outcomes – and this has never been more evident than it is now as climate change seems to reach new heights every year.

It is abundantly clear that our actions up to this point have been destroying the planet for short term gains, but the Sustainable Development Goals give us a roadmap out of this toxic cycle.

If you would like to know more about the SDGs, SERVE has two brilliant ways to do so. The Global Goals Trail at SERVE’s home in Scala, Blackrock is a place that anyone can visit, 7 days a week, to learn more about the SDGs in a relaxing forest environment (@ 24 minutes). The trail takes you on a cobbled path through a gorgeous wooded landscape, accompanied by repurposed painted roof slates displaying information about each SDG, most of which were painted by Nollaig herself. At the end, you will see a beautiful mural showing a selection of SERVE’s favourite global citizens – activists in the areas of international aid, women’s rights, and climate change.

Another way to immerse yourself in global citizenship is by taking part in SERVE’s Think Global Act Local programme this summer (@ 1hr 34 minutes). This was set up as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic when SERVE needed a virtual replacement for its in-person volunteering events, but it has flourished into so much more. Throughout the programme, participants enjoy guest speakers, seminars, and workshops as they learn more about volunteering abroad, the SDGs, and their role in the global community. I would highly recommend this programme if you are looking for a way to expand your horizons and become a global citizen!

One world, one love, one passion

One tribe, one understanding

‘Cause you and me can become one.

(One Tribe, Black Eyed Peas)

Sit back and tune in below

Mother’s Day Reflection from Annette McGroary

Annette McGroary, SERVE Alumnus in Beira at Young Afria Mozambique campus

"If we want our children to become kind.... we need to keep the conversation going about the global south."

Annette McGroary has volunteered with SERVE numerous times, was our long term volunteer in Mozambique and took part in Think Global Act Local 2021 programme. Annette writes about the value of teaching solidarity to her very young baby.

As a new Mum a whole new world of nappies, weaning, sippy cups and tummy time has revealed itself to me. Ethical consumption naturally comes into play with many of the decisions of caring for a baby-cloth nappies or plastic, breast or bottle, make your own food or buy baby food, buy new clothes or purchase in a charity shop, veganism or meat eater.

In a perfect world we would all make the right choice on all of these issues all the time thus doing our small part to tackle global inequalities and injustice. However the reality and practicality of these choices is not as simple as it seems when getting to grips with the role of being a Mum.

I think it’s about balance and being mindful of our choices. I most certainly haven’t made all of the most ethical choices in the list above. However as parents we are the prime educator of our children and we have a responsibility to teach them about injustice in our world.

We are part of a global community and our everyday decisions have a huge knock on effect on the rest of the world.

I am fortunate to have witnessed first-hand how SERVE tackles poverty through solidarity, service and partnership with oppressed communities.

I look forward to sharing my stories, pictures and experiences with my son Séamus in years to come to help him gain an understanding of justice and equality. It’s not just about helping poor people through donations. Rather we are part of a global community and our everyday decisions have a huge knock on effect on the rest of the world.

Ultimately if we want our children to become kind, caring and socially conscious global citizens we need to keep the conversation going about the global south.

Make Mother’s Day special with a purchase of a caring gift of education for a young person in Mozambique.

Dan Lynch Thinks Global and Acts Local with SERVE

Dan Lynch, Participant of Think Global Act Local 2021 Programme

Dan Thinks Global & Acts Local with SERVE

SERVE’s new intern Dan Lynch writes a reflection about participating in Think Global Act Local 2021 Programme 

Hello! My name is Dan Lynch, and I’m the new intern for the year 2022 at SERVE. During the summer of 2021, I participated in the the Think Global Act Local (TGAL) summer initiative by SERVE.

As a result of this, I was able to volunteer with SERVE, teaching online conversational English classes to Vietnamese children and young adults through the Vietnamese Center for Sustainable Development Studies.

I have met some wonderful new people through TGAL while also learning about global issues such as poverty, gender in development, social justice, quality education, and voluntary work both at home and abroad.

The highlight of my TGAL experience was the opportunity to volunteer with the Centre for Sustainable Development Studies in Vietnam.

I taught conversational English to two 12-year-old Vietnamese children as part of my volunteer experience. This was a completely new experience for me because I had never taught before, let alone to children who did not speak English fluently.

As the 8-week volunteering programme progressed, I began to develop a strong rapport with the two children and thoroughly enjoyed teaching them once I got over my initial apprehension.

TGAL gave me a thorough understanding of global development and its various aspects, as well as getting me involved in volunteer work for the first time, for which I am eternally grateful.

SERVE on Flirt FM

SERVE Flirt FM takeover
Team SERVE takes over Flirt FM - March 2022

SERVE on Flirt FM

Nollaig Hulme and Paula Quigley from Team SERVE take over Flirt FM. The 2hr show was aired on 15th March 2022. It features interviews with SERVE volunteers from across the country and also few of our partners from across the globe.

Team SERVE is grateful to Flirt FM for the opportunity on their airwaves. It was a great experience to bring the message of Solidarity in Action to students of NUIG, GMIT and beyond on a dedicated radio show.

We thank SERVE Alumnus Lindsay Cleary, for curating the music for the show. Our sincere gratitude to the army of volunteers who made the time to talk on the show about the numerous activities that SERVE is involved in.

You will here from few of our partners i.e. Susan Madodo (Young Africa Mozambique), Milimo Muchanga (Assumption Parish) and Cledwyn Hamoonga (Flamboyant Special School).   

We  spoke with our guests about what is Solidarity In Action, the nature of our work with our numerous partners, shared information about our Global Goals Trails and about our latest volunteering programme called Think Global Act Local.

We also discussed our Pen Pal project, spoke to our guests about the motivation of our flagship Flip Flop Appeal and the experience of completing the SERVE 4 Peaks Challenge.

Sit back and tune in below