Over 40 students from the United States and volunteers provided by the US Embassy in Dublin spent the weekend transforming and refurbishing one of the country’s largest womens’ refuges.
Rathmines Womens’ Refuge, in Dublin, which houses up to 10 families at any one time, has been helping victims of domestic violence since 1986. The centre and its gardens received the weekend “makeover” in a blitz organised by Localise, the youth and community development organisation, in tandem with the US embassy.
Both the embassy and Localise drew on support from students from Notre Dame University currently on exchange in Ireland, embassy staff and members of the Ireland US Alumni Association, an umbrella organisation for graduates of US universities and institutes.
In addition to refurbishing the garden and playground in Rathmines, the volunteers undertook some internal paintwork and improvements.
US Embassy Charge’s D’affaires Stuart Dwyer visited the Refuge to oversee the collection of toys, clothing and gifts donated to the centre following an appeal by staff at the embassy.
Localise director Derek Cleary said: “The makeover illustrated just what can be achieved when young people decide to volunteer their time and give something back to the community. We are absolutely delighted with the numbers who gave up their free time to help those less well off.”
“The benefits to the centre can be seen physically in the work undertaken but those who gave their time also gained significantly from the empowerment of volunteering and helping out,” he added.