UNICEF Ireland Youth Ambassadors Natasha Maimba (15) and Minahil Sarfraz (15) gave The Ray D’Arcy Show on RTÉ Radio One a brilliant and insightful interview about what it is like to be a child growing up in the Irish Direct Provision system.
Direct Provision is the system the Irish State puts asylum seekers into when they apply for protection and while their application is being considered. Accommodation takes many forms, from hotel rooms to caravans – as the girls experienced. People living in Direct Provision have their meals provided for them, and receive basic allowances from the government. Adults in Direct Provision are not currently allowed to work under Irish law. Children in Direct Provision attend local schools. They do not have a right to free Third Level education, as Irish students do. About half of all applicants spend over five years in Direct Provision (2015 figures).
Photo: Natasha & Minahil pictured at RTÉ Radio Centre, with fellow guests Kodaline. With thanks to Louise Denvir
Photo: Natasha & Minahil pictured with RTÉ presenter Ray D’Arcy. Picture with thanks to Louise Denvir
On speaking to global influencers like former UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon (on behalf of UNICEF) Minahil said: “It is so great to meet people who believe in listening to what children have to say. They take it to the big table. It means I get to be involved in finding a solution.”
Natasha meanwhile described how she lives to enjoy every moment to the fullest and tries not to get bogged down in the difficulties she has faced in her young life.