Reflections from Féile Bríde 2020

Speakers from the day: Shivam O’Brien, Micheal Long, Mary Reynolds, Clare O’Grady Walshe, Nelly McLaughlin.
©Photo by Derek Speirs

Afri’s Feile Bride event for 2020 was entitled ‘Rekindling; Revitalising; Rewilding and Restoring’ and was set in the context of the need for urgent action on climate change. Over recent years, many people, of all ages, are getting actively involved in fighting for change. This was reflected at the conference, where we heard from a number of mature activists who have been around for some time but also from Ruby Jo, who set up “There is no planet B” as an 11 year old activist! This shows that we can all be involved in action to tackle climate change – as Greta Thunberg says ‘no-one is too small to make a difference’. This was the 28th year of tending the Brigid flame in Kildare, which as Rita Minehan explained, was lit at the first Afri Conference in 1993 and burns as a “beacon of hope, peace and justice.” It was noted, that one of the trademarks of those who attend Féile Bríde is a spirit of positivity and hope, and a determination, no matter what, to keep on working for a better world for all.

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Reflections from Carlow Famine Walk 2020

Climate Change was the theme of the 2020 Famine Walk which began in IT Carlow and concluded in the nearby Famine graveyard. Approximately 70 young people attended from schools including Gaelscoil  Eoghain and Tyndale College.  Each year an oak tree is planted as part of the ceremony of remembrance and solidarity and this year the tree was supplied by two Transition Year students – Eimear and Abbie – who had set up a company to grow and sell trees as part of their course. Thanks to Eimear and Abbie for this excellent initiative and generous gift.

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Féile Bríde 2020: Rekindling; Revitalizing; Re-wilding; Restoring

Thank you to all who have registered for the conference. Please note that pre-booking numbers are very high this year and priority will be given to people who have booked tickets and paid in advance. The venue has a limited number of seats available and we don’t want anyone to be disappointed.
Bookings will close at 12 noon on Friday.

Féile Bríde 2020 will take place in Solas Bhríde on Saturday, February 8th with Registration at 9.35am. The theme of this year’s Féile is Rekindling; Revitalizing; Re-wilding; Restoring.

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Hedge School 2019: Food, Fashion & Fuel

 

Organised in partnership with third year students from the Community and Youth Development course in TU Dublin –  Blanchardstown.

This year’s participants will look at the issues of food, fashion and fuel, how they contribute to climate change and what we can do about it!

Speakers include Saoirse McHugh, who describes herself as an environmentalist, a democratic socialist, and a grower.

Eddie Mitchell of Love Leitrim and North Leitrim Sustainable Energy Community

& renowned actor and activist Donal O’Kelly, who together with Brian Fleming and  Ellen Cranitch will perform an intriguing piece called  “Roxy’s Head is Melted”.

To register for this free event please go to: https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/afri-hedge-school-2019-tickets-76758006263.

 

Teacher Training for Secondary School Teachers

Monday 11th November 2019, 11am-3pm in the Irish Writer’s Centre, 19 Parnell Square, Dublin 1

Afri’s ‘Just A Second!’ teacher training for secondary school teachers takes place 11th November 2019 from 11am to 3pm in the Irish Writer’s Centre, 19 Parnell Square, Dublin 1. The training is an energetic, creative and informative experience, demonstrating effective ways of bringing global issues into the classroom. The training is led by Karen Jeffares, a global education expert, together with Pete Mullineaux, a leader in the field of combining drama and global education and author of Just A Second! Exploring Global Issues Through Drama and Theatre.

Teacher training resources will be provided – including lessons plans for a number of Junior Cycle subjects including English, CSPE, History and Geography.

Teacher substitution cover is available and a light lunch is included in the training. 

Booking is essential to ensure a place.  Contact Afri at admin@afri.ie to express an interest and fill out a registration form.

Registration forms should be returned by 20th OctoberIf booking after that date please contact the office directly on 01 8384204 or by email (admin@afri.ie). 

Famine Walk 2019

We were delighted to have Pete St John on hand to introduce his great song about climate change – “Waltzing on Borrowed Time” – on the 2019 Famine Walk.  ‘Waltzing on Borrowed Time” was performed by Imogen, Sinead and Rose and accompanied by dancers from the locally-based Cresham Academy.

The song includes the following great lyrics:

“Across the world in every land, let a new awareness grow

that nations must protect the earth

As the seeds of hope we sow

A hope, a dream, a way of life when man and nature rhyme

And creatures of the earth won’t need to waltz on borrowed time”

Walk leaders Oisín Coughlan from Friends of the Earth and Hanny Van Geel from ‘La Via Campesina’ expanded on this theme. Oisin pointed out that the Dáil had passed a Bill declaring a climate emergency and, following the ‘green wave’ in the recent elections now needed to take urgent  action to tackle this emergency. Among these actions is the urgent need to stop issuing licences for further exploration of fossil fuels off the coast of Ireland.

Hanny pointed out the urgent need to support sustainable means of food production rather than allowing control of the food we eat to be more completely controlled by corporations whose only concern is profit.  Walkers were then ferried to Delphi Lodge, where we planted a tree before setting  off for Louisburgh.  Tea and coffee was provided along the route by Glenkeen Farm and as usual, we gathered in Teach na n-Ól in the evening for more music, chat and conversation.

Eve of the Famine Walk Event in Castlebar

Michael McCaughan leads the afternoon session

Over 40 people attended Lón Intinne / Food for Thought at GMIT Castlebar on Friday May 17 2019, on the eve of the Afri Famine Walk. This event, a follow-up from last year’s, is a unique collaboration between Afri and Feasta with input from Teacht Aniar who have a special perspective on the Irish language.

John Hoban and Emer Mayock provided music to ground, enliven, entertain and provoke reflection throughout the day.

In the morning, after some words of welcome from Anne Ryan, Joe Murray of Afri introduced Hanny Van Geel of Via Campesina, who emphasised that 70% of the world’s food is produced by small producers, the majority of them women. The food sovereignty movement needs maximum participation from members of society: growing, cooking, writing, educating and advocating for small producers. The big question for the future is:  who is going to be producing our food – small-scale, sovereign grassroots producers or big companies?

After a discussion with Hanny in which all took part, Joss and Ború Douthwaite facilitated a session in which all participants reflected on instances of transformation in which they had taken part or witnessed.

Participants brought delicious food to share at lunchtime, which highlighted the value of sharing as a way of being in the world. 

After lunch, Anne Ryan picked out some themes from the morning’s work. In spite of barriers imposed by our State and the EU, thousands of people are already engaged in enterprises that are the seeds of a new socially just and ecologically sound economy. Anne suggested that one of the ways that the state could demonstrate support for these people in the avant garde is to give everyone a universal basic income. This would put a floor of basic financial security under everyone and allow creativity and diversity in the ways people approach solutions to our crises. The State also needs to put legislation, grants and other institutional supports in place to help the pioneers get their enterprises off the ground.

John Hoban started the afternoon with a new song about the four mountains of Mayo, which he sang for the first time in the outdoor space after lunch. He was inspired by two well-known hills in Leitrim – Sí Beag and Sí Mór, and included a theme of circular time, encapsulated in the refrain ‘I’m facing east but heading west’. Anne pointed out that there are many ways of looking at time that help us to understand its circular or counterflow aspects. It is possible to break out of the strong flow of the dominant ideology about what constitutes progress, especially if we work together to support each other in doing so.

Seán Ó Conláin introduced the second guest speaker, Michael McCaughan. Michael emphasised the value of multilingualism as a help to seeing the world and acting in it in diverse ways. Speaking in Irish, Spanish and English he emphasised the importance of minority languages and cultures in today’s mono-cultural world, and particularly the link with local resilience.

Baineadh cuid mhaith úsáid den Ghaeilge – i ngach slí – le linn an lae – mar ar deineadh anuraidh.

After a discussion with Michael, the group took part in an open space session, which is outlined in bullet points in the full report on the Feasta website here.

Go mbeirimid beo ar an am seo arís!

Thanks to Caroline Whyte and Séan Ó Conláin for this report.

Afri Famine Walk 2019

Registration and opening ceremony

  1. Registration takes place in the local town hall in Louisburgh.
  2. This will be followed by the opening ceremony — a very important part of the Famine Walk experience.
  3. Shuttle buses will take participants to the start point, following the opening ceremony.

The Walk

  1. The walk is 11 miles (approx.), walkers should walk on the left-hand side.
  2. A shuttle car will be available during the walk for anyone who gets into difficulty.
  3. No parking is available at Delphi Lodge.
  4. Dogs must be kept on a lead.
  5. Portaloos are available along the route.

Register online here (alternatively you can raise sponsorship for Afri – just bring the sponsorship form to the registration desk on the day)

Download Brochure & Sponsorship Card 

Féile Bríde 2019

Féile Bríde 2019

Féile Bríde 2019 will take place in Solas Bhríde on Saturday, February 9th with Registration at 9.50. The theme of this year’s Féile is Education, Action, Compassion, Hope.
Education, (including self-education) is an essential dimension of transformative action; and compassion in all we do has never been more necessary.  Our speakers this year embody all of these vital qualities. 
Richard Moore, whose living example of compassion is such that the Dalai Lama calls him his hero, will speak about ‘Education the Heart’ in the context of his extraordinary story. Caoimhe de Barra has devoted her energies to pursuing justice and human rights, as Michael Doorly has directed his to promoting global education and equity. Kay Mulhall personifies the spirit and aim of the Brigidines ‘to stand in solidarity with the oppressed and seek to build a more inclusive community.’ While Meghan Carmody represents a new generation of activists with passion and determination to see our world transformed.  
Such people and actions – as well as Laoise Kelly’s magical music – bring us hope, the vital antidote to cynicism and despair. A new year, a new spring and a renewed sense of purpose can see us decisively turn the tide in 2019.

Book online here  or download the brochure and the booking form and return by post to Afri, 8 Cabra Road, Dublin 7, D07 T1W2

Reflections from Afri Hedge School 2018

“It was absolutely brilliant” was one of the comments made by a student participant in the 2018 Hedge School. The event took place in IT Blanchardstown for the 6th year in succession under the title ‘It is right to fight for human rights’. We had inspirational presentations from Emmet Sheerin of Trócaire, actor and activist Donal O’Kelly and representatives of the Rohingya people.

 

Joe Murray (Afri) with Noor Hasina and Parvena Ackter representing Rohingya Action Ireland and the Rohingya community in Carlow. Photo credit: Stephanie McDermott

 

Emmet showed a short film and spoke about the extraordinary student-led ‘Divest’ campaign, which resulted in three Universities, Trinity, NUI Galway University and Queens in Belfast committing to divesting in fossil fuels; Donal O’Kelly outlined the history and context in relation to the forced migration of people and the Rohingya told the horrific story of what has happened to them at the hands of the Burmese military.

There was also great student participation, as usual, with wonderfully creative drama pieces, powerful music and poetry.

All together a highly successful Hedge School, summed up by another student who said “a fantastic event. Hope the Afri Hedge School continues for many more years to come. It is Invaluable”.