Primary school pupils from Cloughfin National School were named Best Newcomer (Regional) and Scoil Naomh Fiachra, Illistrin were presented with a Special Distinction Award at today’s (Monday’s) regional final of the annual Our World Irish Aid Awards held at the Model Arts Centre in Sligo.
The North-West regional final event, one of four regionals taking place this week, saw 15 primary schools compete for three of 12 places at the national final.
As well as exhibiting their work and taking part in activities, pupils and teachers heard from speaker, Garda Darran Conlon, who shared his experience of promoting diversity through sport in Ballyhaunis, Ireland’s most ethnically diverse town, and his commitment to the integration of immigrant children, many of whom are from developing countries.
Congratulating the teachers and pupils of Cloughfin NS and Scoil Naomh Fiachra, Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development, Joe McHugh, TD, said this year’s entries had shown exceptional creativity and understanding of the awards’ theme, For People and Planet.
The project from Cloughfin NS in Ballindrait, Lifford, produced a life-sized tree with 17 branches, each belonging to one of the 17 United Nations’ goals for sustainable development. QR codes on each branch took the scanner to a specially built website which explains the goal through the children’s drawings and cartoons.
There were 17 pupils from 3rd to 6th class involved, under the direction of teacher Fiona Farry.
The project from Scoil Naomh Fiachra in Illistrin, Letterkenny, documented the school’s work in a project book that contained detailed art works, talks clean-up and recycling campaigns and community events that underlined the web of global connections with a focus on the UN’s development goals.
The whole school was involved, under the direction of teacher Jane McGinley.
“This year more than 1,300 primary schools across the country participated in the awards, exploring the interdependence between people and the natural world, and how the wellbeing of people, wildlife and the environment is interconnected,” Minister of State McHugh said. “They have also been learning about the lives of children and their families in Irish Aid’s eight partner countries through the use of online teaching and learning materials.”
He said the Our World Irish Aid Awards help children develop an understanding of issues that affect us all and highlight our responsibility to help support those most vulnerable in our world, and bring the U.N. Global Goals for Sustainable Development into the classroom “in a way that helps our younger citizens to understand and contribute towards meeting them.”
Now in their 12th year, the awards help primary school pupils learn about the lives of children and their families in developing countries, and how Ireland and 192 other countries are working to create a safer and fairer world for all the world’s children through the U.N. Global Goals for Sustainable Development.
The schools that go on to compete in the national final will contend not just for the overall Our World Irish Aid Awards trophy, but also the titles of Teacher of the Year and Best Newcomer School.