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Podcast series gives insight into the homelands and cultures of Direct Provision residents in Laois

Aruna Zakwani and Manchán Image 1

‘Home Stories’ is a podcast series that offers insights into the lives, hopes and childhood memories of residents of Direct Provision and Emergency Accommodation in Laois.

The writer and broadcaster Manchán Magan has spoken to new members of our community from Africa, Asia and South America about their favourite memories of home, their favourite foods and pastimes, and their hopes for the future.

Manchán Magan said: “Ireland is fortunate to have been gifted with this precious influx of people from a range of fascinating and exotic cultures in recent years.

“Most of them have fled some form of trauma and are currently making their way slowly through the Direct Provision system.

“These new members of our communities offer us a wonderful opportunity to get to know different parts of the world and different cultural practises that are often full of wisdom and new perspectives.

“Home Stories is supported by Creative Ireland Laois as part of the Creative Ireland Programme in partnership with Laois County Council.”

The podcast series containing interviews with Direct Provision residents from The Hibernian DP Centre, Abbeyleix and The Montague DP Centre, Emo was edited by Lauren Varian, with a soundtrack by Brían MacGloinn of Ye Vagabonds and Myles O’Reilly, and offers a series of evocative glimpses into the lives of refugees and asylum seekers who have fled to Ireland from persecution and danger.

Each ten-minute episode consists of a short chat and a myriad topics are discussed.

These include pagan faiths, ploughing with oxen, rituals of kingship, traditional languages, polygamy, gospel singing, herbal cures, culinary delicacies and the hopes and dreams these new Irish residents have for their future in Ireland, and the part they would like to play in society.

Laois County Council Arts Officer and Creative Ireland Coordinator Muireann Ní Chonaill said: “When we first considered a project about the voices and lives of Direct Provision residents in Laois, we immediately thought of Manchán.

“We were assured that his creative approach would be both sensitive to the needs and context of residents, as well as enabling chat and comhrá to engage with a range of themes close to the hearts and in the memories of our new community members.

“We’re delighted that this podcast series is now being launched after delays due to Covid-19, and are so appreciative of the time given by Sandy/Charmaine, Noma, Lwandi and Feza from The Montague DP Centre, Emo and Kemi, Aruna, Ivann, Sie and Pauline from The Hibernian DP Centre, Abbeyleix.

“Special thanks also to Rosemary Kunene from Dignity Partnership, and Marina Rafter for their support with this project.”

SEE ALSO – Laois Abroad: Meet the 96-year-old Laois great-grandmother who has lived in San Francisco for more than 70 years

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