December dips for Direct Provision and ICHH: Tanya Holliday, Castleconnell, has turned a very negative experience into a positive one
A YOUNG Castleconnell woman is jumping into the Shannon every day this month to help stop others jumping to the wrong conclusions.
Rain, hail or shine you will find Tanya Holliday plunging into the river at the World’s End, Castleconnell. She is doing it to raise money and awareness for those in direct provision and Inner City Helping Homeless (ICHH). It all stems from a very frightening experience in Dublin.
“On November 20 I was mugged just off Abbey Street. I was thrown against a wall and my purse and phone were snatched from my hand. The thief then proceeded to run down into an alleyway.
“I instinctively ran after him. I was able to keep up for a few streets. I began to lose steam and screamed out for help to passers by. A number of kind men came to my aid. They ran after the thief and managed to return my items to me,” said Tanya, who thanked each of the Good Samaritans profusely.
“On speaking with them I learnt two of the men that helped me are refugees from Somalia, currently living in a Direct Provision centre in Dublin. This event inspired me to run a fundraiser on behalf of those living in similar situations. I wanted to help in some small way as best I can,” said Tanya.
As well as raising money she wants to raise awareness. She received a photograph from CCTV of the perpetrator and the men that helped her.
“A number of people jumped to the conclusion that it was one of the men of colour that robbed me. It turned my stomach that people can be so racist. I would like to highlight the kindness of these men and hopefully it will encourage people to think twice before making snap judgments,” said Tanya.
She set up a GoFundMe page called “December Dips for Direct Provision & ICHH”. It would be hard enough to wade into the water but Tanya swims out to a buoy and back.
“I generally try to stay in the water for about 10 minutes, doing laps,” she explains.
Tanya says the current economic climate is challenging for a lot of people right now, but any level of support would be greatly appreciated.
“If you can, please consider donating to this worthy cause and ease the hardship a little for those less fortunate. This year has been especially difficult for everyone, though most of us are lucky enough to have a home, which is comfortable, warm, provides privacy and a safe space for your family and friends.
“Those in Direct Provision or without a home do not have this luxury. The place is not their own. They are in close quarters with no privacy and even basic hygiene and sanitary products, which we take for granted, are not readily available. For those in Direct Provision, their families may be thousands of miles away. Living in these conditions is degrading under normal circumstances, with the addition of Covid it has been heightened to inhumane,” said Tanya.
She continues: “Prior to the Covid pandemic, the main crisis Ireland faced was that of homelessness. This crisis has not gone away and has continued to worsen amidst Covid-19. The ICHH are a charity that aim to help homeless individuals on the streets, but they also supply food and support to those in crisis. At the present moment there are far more people seeking their help.”