The recession and cuts of the past years in have decreased the resources available to schools to address falling literacy levels, driving up the need for greater external supports. At the same time, however, a new generation of young people are looking for ways to take action to solve problems at a local and global level.
In Ireland, 1 in 10 children have serious Literacy difficulties, in designated disadvantaged schools (DEIS) this figure can increase to 1 in 3. Studies have shown that children who do not learn to read, write and communicate effectively at primary level are more likely to leave school early, be unemployed or in low-skilled jobs, have poorer emotional and physical health and are more likely to end up in poverty and in prison. The resultant impact on society is not just economic but also results in a negative effect on children's achievement of their full human potential.
Surveys conducted by Suas have shown that Irish young people are eager to take action on issues such as those of poor literacy levels and similar concerns overseas, but they are frustrated with the lack of opportunities and avenues to get involved and act for change.
Suas Literacy Support Programme currently operates in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford; providing literacy support for 8-14 year olds attending DEIS schools through the selection and delivery of innovative evidence based literacy support interventions. In the schools where we work, 8-14 year old participants increase their literacy levels and educational attainment, improve their self esteem and enhanced their perception of the importance of learning. Mentors/volunteers engage in service to others, gaining a new perspective and enhanced abilities in teamwork and communication through service learning experiences. Find out how you can get involved!
Volunteer Programme: The Suas Volunteer Programme invites enthusiastic, committed young people to participate in a ten-week placement in a school or educational centre in India or Kenya. Suas Volunteers work with our Partner Organizations overseas, acting as teaching assistants alongside local teachers in under-resourced communities during the Summer months. Throughout the comprehensive pre-departure training, and central to the placement, is the supported opportunity to explore development issues, in order to gain a deeper understanding of the placement, and of the world.
Global Issues Courses: The Global Issues courses take place in university campuses across the country (DCU, NUIG, TCD, UCC, UCD) where development experts facilitate a 2 hour session on a different topic each week. Participants come from a range of academic backgrounds which adds to the variety of opinions and perspectives in the room. The course provides participants with an introduction to global issues with the aim of inspiring students to get involved in taking action on global issues.
Film Festival: The Inspire Film Festival presents third level students with the opportunity to engage with the issues that are shaping their world in a way that arouses their curiosity, challenges their assumptions and perspectives and inspires them to take action on one or more issues.