Students sleep rough to help out the homeless
The issue of homelessness is a growing problem across the country, with individuals and families being forced out onto the streets each week.
In an effort to highlight this problem and lend a hand to those affected, students and staff from Our Lady of Fatima Special School decided to take to the streets themselves for a sponsored sleepout. Eleven teenagers from Senior 2 and four teachers braved several dark hours in the grounds of the school for a night without light, beds and comfort.
'All of us stayed out until 8 a.m.,' said Sarah Howlin, one of the schoolteachers who took part in the sleepout. 'It wasn't the most pleasant experience but it was a mild night so we were lucky. I asked the children about it the next morning and it wasn't something that they wanted to repeat so I think they got the message.'
Although the kids had to forgo their beds and central heating for a night, they were lucky enough to get some food. Thanks to donations from Supervalu, the group didn't have to go hungry. Supermac and Peter Mark also donated some supplies to keep them going throughout the night.
'The gates were locked so we were safe and as we also had toilet facilities, it wasn't exactly as bad as it could be,' added Sarah.
The hardship proved worthwhile in the end as the group raised over €1500 for the Simon Community, with more funds still rolling in. The sleepout also proved beneficial for the students, who undertook the sleepout as part of a class project.
'It's for their CSPE action project,' explained Sarah. 'We do something for a different charity every year and as homelessness is so topical at the moment, we chose the Simon Community.'