When Comhlámh’s Mark Malone and Ruth Powell found themselves surrounded by tanks and aircraft and soldiers, at the Roger Casement Memorial Day, on 03 August this year, their first thought was to wonder why!
At first glance it didn’t seem as if an aerodrome in the middle of Baldonnel, would be the natural habitat for Comhlámh staff, but the day, to mark the life and legacy of humanitarian Roger Casement, was a public event where people could see the work and archives of the Irish military and talk to a number of people from a wide range of non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Comhlámh had a stand near our friends from Tearfund, Kimmage Development Studies and Trocáire and were able to chat to members of the public about volunteering overseas and development issues in general. We disseminated leaflets on our work and also had a quiz for children (designed by our continuously engaged Trade Justice group) on TTIP!
This year, Comhlámh are hoping to attend 15 public events throughout Ireland where we can raise awareness of responsive and responsible volunteering practices, advertise our membership groups, discuss the work of Comhlámh in general and just listen to the issues on the minds of the public who attend these events. With Comhlámh’s long history (over 40 years now and still counting) it’s quite astonishing to chat to people who remember the organisation from the 70’s and 80’s and 90’s or who have family members or friends, who have been involved in our work.
Outreach events are heart- warming, encouraging and life affirming. Even in the middle of an aerodrome, on a rainy afternoon in August we were surprised by how much support Comhlámh receives from the general public. And so we very much look forward to attending more events this year. Watch out for us at college volunteering fairs, India Day, Nepal Day, the 50+ Expo at the RDS and maybe even at the Electric Picnic!
If you’ve never met us before, please come up and say hello, and if you’re an old friend please come up and remind us.
For more information about our outreach events for this year email [email protected] or follow us on Facebook.