Theme of National Education Initiative

Launched by TRUST To Help Combat All Forms of Exclusion

The Minister for Justice, Equality & Law Reform, John O’Donoghue TD today launched the TRUST Transition Year Project, a national education initiative aimed at getting students to think about exclusion and how those whom society regards as outsiders can be made to feel part of the community. Pat Kenny of RTE acted as MC for the event which was held in Dublin Castle.

Everyone is important! This is the message we are trying to get across and why we created this Project. We work with people everyday who are excluded, who are outsiders. This is an attempt to share our experience with young people – who will run tomorrow¹s world -at a very formative stage in their lives, when for a brief time, in Transition Year they do get some time to take stock before the exam pressure intensifies and the points race takes over.

ALICE LEAHY, Director and Co-Founder of TRUST said speaking at the launch.

This initiative was created by TRUST in response to the huge response from students and teachers to the documentary A FRAGILE CITY which was broadcast on RTE 1 television late year about Trust’s work and the people it works with which was made by the award winning Esperanza Productions.

The response we received to A Fragile City showed people we all share a certain “sameness” or vulnerability. Indeed, the phrase “there but for the grace of God go I” really does apply to all of us given that we meet people everyday in TRUST from all levels and backgrounds in society. This is why we placed the video at the centre of this project. If education means anything it must give us the ability to think – sometimes the question is more important than the answer.

Alice Leahy, Director, TRUST

Co-sponsored by the Department of the Justice, Equality & Law Reform and The Irish Times, with the support of the Rotary Club, Dublin the TRUST Transition Year Project features a special web site (, an essay competition and the distribution of the video A FRAGILE CITY with a special education pack to all second level schools for use in the Transition Year Programme.

The poet Micheal O’Siadhail, a long time friend of TRUST, is Chairman of the Board of Adjudicators for the essay competition which will be open to entries in Irish and English. One of Ireland’s leading Poet’s he has special interest in those who society consigns to the margins and one of his best known poems is entitled “Outsider”. (A full list of the Board of Adjudicators is attached to this Press Release).

Education Pack being sent to schools in October

The Education Pack featuring the video A Fragile City and the special “Suggestions for Transition Year Teachers” manual will be sent to all second levels schools in October. However, the web site specially created for this project, and which will continue as TRUST’s presence on the web when the project is completed went live today and will be updated throughout the project.

We are using the Internet as part of this project because despite our small size it allows us to reach all second level schools. Our aim is to get across the importance of seeing people as people without labels; to ignore stereotypes and leave our preconceptions and prejudices aside and treat everyone as important and equal. That is the fundamental principle of our approach everyday in TRUST. We meet people who are physically and even emotionally battered beyond all recognition. Some have committed serious crimes while others are extremely fragile. We try to reach people by trusting them as people, respecting them as individuals and trying to provide some space for them.

Alice Leahy, Director, TRUST

TRUST hopes that the essay competition will allow students the opportunity to give some feedback and provide some outlet for expressing how we can create a society in which “everyone is important” the headline on the specially designed poster to promote the project.

Essay competition might not be a totally accurate title! We will accept any number of words from a sentence to a few paragraphs up to a maximum of five hundred words. What we are interested in are some thought provoking ideas and comments. It is also our aim to ensure that as many entries as possible are published in some form so that they are not lost and go on to serve as practical inspiration to all of us in trying to create a better society for all.

Alice Leahy, Directory, TRUST

Entries can be made on the web site, or directly by post to TRUST, Bride Road, Dublin 8.

TRUST Transition Year Project

“Advocates on behalf of those we work with”

TRUST Transition Year Project involves a big commitment by TRUST and its Director and Co-Founder Alice Leahy and was created with Esperanza Productions who also made A Fragile City. (See note attached on A Fragile City.)

The Trustees of TRUST are committed to advocacy on behalf of those they work with, recognising only an inclusive society in which everyone is important and made welcome offers any real chance of ensuring not only the roots of homelessness but other forms of social exclusion, racism and intolerance can be understood and hopefully eliminated.

We can only reach a small number of those who are effectively excluded by society in our everyday work. But through projects like this one we have a chance to put our experience to good use in getting the message across that we must create space for people who are different.

Alice Leahy , Director, TRUST