Imagine, through an accident of birth and geography – that you were born into that carnage and chaos of gangland violence on your doorstep? You are still expected to get proper sleep; get up the next morning; have your homework ready; and try to get on with your day and perform like your peers? No child, no matter how resilient, no matter how stable his or her family is, can survive that without harm and hurt. That’s why we exist. And that’s why we’re needed now more than ever. The Covid 19 Pandemic has doubled down on already-vulnerable children. Because of the restrictions, we haven’t been able to be there for them in the way they need it. It breaks my heart. It’s going to take a massive effort – and extra resources – to save this generation of amazing children and young people. We can only do it together.
The Covid-19 pandemic has not affected people equally. For the healthy and those easily able to work from home the pandemic lockdown was a massive shock to normal life. But for people on low incomes and insecure employment, it precipitated a frightening fall into poverty and stress. For those already in deprivation – the poorest of the poor – it was a nightmare. It meant an ongoing struggle for survival; to keep the basics of life intact; to keep their children in education; to fend off hunger and serious mental health problems; to stay safe from violence and addiction. In extreme cases, it became an issue of life and death.
Among this group, children and young people are more negatively affected; are less resilient to recover; are harder to reach with solutions and are more likely to spiral downwards into further isolation, behavioural problems, mental ill-health and danger.
Before Covid-19, 10% of our 12 year-olds would have dropped out of education before entering secondary school. A further 10% would have dropped out before Leaving Cert. As a result of this pandemic, these figures will certainly become much more bleak.
The situation is so grave and urgent for our country’s excluded young, the Irish Youth Foundation must now ensure that we have the necessary funds in place to meet the cost of the extra supports required to undo the catastrophic damage caused by the lockdown of crucial services and supports.
So, this new ambitious €1.5m GENERATION PANDEMIC Recovery Fund has been conceived and built to shepherd our most vulnerable young by:
A. Assisting Youth Workers to identify, reconnect with and persuade young people who have fallen through the cracks to re-engage with crucial services.
B. Funding proven and innovative programmes, facilities and supports across these three carefully- selected, game-changing pillars:
Positive transitions from primary to post primary education.
Children must be able to master reading, writing and maths by the time they leave primary school.
Health & Wellbeing
Happy healthy transitions from childhood through adolescence and young adulthood.
Young people should all have access to social, personal, academic and mental resilience to lead a prosperous life.
Skills & Employability
Opportunities to transition to the marketplace.
Young people are supported to overcome low self esteem, low expectations, learn valuable skills and have access to opportunities.