Today we are delighted to shine a light on a very important organisation, Mayo Intercultural Action (MIA), whom we have been privileged to partner with at several events over the past couple of years. MIA does fantastic work in Mayo and we wanted to spread the word about the many inspiring projects they're working on. This piece was written by Natalya Pestova, the Coordinator at Mayo Intercultural Action.
In 2004, Mayo Intercultural Action (MIA) was established to address the needs of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees living in County Mayo. For over a decade, MIA has promoted equality for people of all skin colours and ethnic backgrounds; delivered dozens of intercultural projects and events and helped hundreds of people from new communities to find information, access education and employment, meet friends and integrate into the local community. Working in partnerships with other local organisations sharing common values and principle, MIA supported integration and helped to advance interculturalism and diversity in Mayo.
National Museum of Ireland, Turlough, is a great example of such partnership: it hosted a number of exhibitions and displays featuring Mayo migrant women. The recent exhibition ‘Migrant Women – Shared Experiences’ invited eight Mayo women from different countries to have the objects from their home countries displayed at the Museum so the visitors could relate to different cultures. The exhibition achieved important outcomes of promoting intercultural awareness and sharing positive vision of diverse Ireland. Most importantly, it allowed migrant women to become visible in the high profile public space and to represent their country, culture and personal story.
The Immigration and Ireland Seminar was a culminating point to the exhibition that offered a space for sharing experiences and reflection on domestic and international challenges of integration. The Seminar connected global dimensions of contemporary refugee crisis presented by Professor Jane Freedman with local responses to immigration, including those delivered by Mayo Intercultural Action.
Seminar organisers and participants: Susan Heffernan (Mary Robinson Centre), Natalya Pestova (MIA), Kany Kazadi (MIA), Prof. Jane Freedman (University of Paris), Vukashin Nedelkovich (Asylum Archive), Aoife O’Toole (National Museum of Ireland), Blessing Moyo (Eglington Self Help Group Galway), Rosa Meehan (National Museum of Ireland), Natasha Price (Mary Robinson Centre)
The Immigration and Ireland Seminar allowed MIA representatives, Natalya Pestova - Project Coordinator and Kany Kazadi - MIA Board Member and passionate spokesperson, an opportunity to share their experience of promoting human rights for migrants and asylum seekers, giving voice and enabling migrant women to participate in all aspects of life in Ireland. Kany shared a few personal insights into the process of integration to Ireland, such as working in MIA, becoming a passionate GAA fun, getting used to Irish food, educating GMIT social science students about injustice in Ireland and developing a strong connection with Mayo - her new home.
Kany Kazadi, speaking at the Immigration and Ireland Seminar, National Museum
At their recent visit to the Mary Robinson Centre’s Symposium on Sustainable Development Goals the delegation of MIA women were delighted to learn about international development and to relate their local experience to the global issues. They were especially delighted to meet the most inspirational Mayo-Irish woman – Mary Robinson.
Sanita Vecbrale (Latvia), Kate Donnely (MIA founder), Kany Kanyeba Kazadi (MIA Board Member), Mary Robinson, Phaw Shee Hta (Myanmar), Natalya Pestova (MIA coordinator), Say Lawla Say (Myanmar), Therese Ruane (MIA founder), Linda Herarty (Philippines)
Migrant women are at the heart of MIA’s work. We have supported and witnessed migrant women taking up education challenges, starting up successful businesses, challenging racism, winning awards, featuring in local media, raising a generation of new Irish citizens children, exhibiting their art work, setting up language schools for their children, proudly supporting Mayo GAA team, climbing Croach Patrick, delivering intercultural awareness training, protesting against Direct Provision, running marathons, sharing their culture and tradition with Mayo people. Every day we witness real integration making its way to the hearts of Mayo and its communities.
If you would like to find out more about Mayo Intercultural Action, or if you are passionate about our cause, want to meet people from new communities or wish to help us in any way, please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org, call us on (+353) (0)949044511 and like our Facebook page.