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About Us

ABOUT US

Doras is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organisation working to promote and protect human rights since the year 2000. Our core areas of work include Direct Support, Advocacy & Campaigns and Integration Planning.

WHO WE ARE

Doras is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organisation working to promote and protect the rights of people from a migrant background in Ireland.

Our vision for Ireland is a society where equality and respect for the human rights of migrants are social norms.

Our mission is to promote and uphold the human rights and well-being of migrants through personal advocacy, integration development and collaborative advocacy campaigns at the local and national level.

WHAT WE DO

Direct Support – We provide a free and confidential advice and legal information service on immigration-related issues including asylum applications; Direct Provision; Family Reunification; employment rights and reporting racism. Each year, over 1,200 migrants access our service.

Advocacy and Campaigning – We campaign at local, national and international level for change in policy and legislation relating to International Protection, Direct Provision, Anti-Trafficking and Anti-Racism. Read more about our impact in 2018.

Integration Planning – We work with a range of stakeholders in Limerick and nationally, including statutory, voluntary and community bodies, to ensure that all those who now call Ireland their home feel valued, recognised and appreciated.

 

We are very grateful for the financial assistance from individual supporters and organisations including JP McManus Benevolent Fund; Sisters of Mercy; Redemptorist Community; Health Service Executive; Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (Community Sponsorship); and Department of Justice and Equality (Anti-Trafficking).

OUR STORY

Doras was founded by a small group of dedicated volunteers in the year 2000, in response to the establishment of the Direct Provision system by the Irish government. The name Doras was chosen to symbolise an open door, welcoming new communities to Limerick and Ireland, and as an acronym for Development Organisation for Refugees and Asylum Seekers.

Initially, the group supported asylum seekers by providing English classes and outreach visits to Direct Provision centres. We have campaigned for an end to the system of Direct Provision, but our support for asylum seekers remains as a core aspect of our work today.

Doras has grown over the years in response to developing issues, and now employ a team of full-time and part-time staff members, supported by our dedicated volunteers. In early 2015, Doras opened a sub-office in Portlaoise, to implement a refugee resettlement project as part of the Irish Refugee Resettlement Programme (IRRP). This project was aimed at assisting newly arrived Syrian refugees to effectively integrate into life in Ireland. The success of this project lead to further resettlement projects in counties Wexford from 2017 and Limerick from 2018.

Today, Doras continues it’s work to promote and protect the rights of migrants in Ireland through direct support, advocacy and integration support.

OUR STAFF

Our staff work as a team from our offices in Limerick to accomplish Doras’s goals and mission.

Chief Executive Officer: John Lannon

John has been a consultant and researcher with a range of international development and human rights organisations, primarily in the area of information management and technology use. Prior to becoming Doras CEO he worked at the Kemmy Business School at the University of Limerick, where his primary areas of interest were project and programme management, organised responses to social inequality, and using social media to achieve social good. He has been a human rights activist and campaigner for over 20 years, and has been involved in a range of social justice campaigns during that time. He has also previously served as chairperson of the Board of Doras. John holds a Batchelor’s degree in Engineering, an MA in Peace and Development Studies, and a PhD in the area of human rights information management.

Reception & Admin Assistant: Anne Purcell

Anne started working with Doras in August 2017. Anne has previous experience working in the fields of legal and medical administration. Anne is  from Limerick and is enjoying the experience of working in the environment of the Doras office.

Education Coordinator: Helen O’Grady

Helen has worked for Doras Luimní since 2008. A recipient of Vodafone Awards in 2008, Helen initially joined Doras as Education and Employment Coordinator. Helen has a particular interest in integration through education and she is now responsible for the implementation of Doras projects funded by Pobal through the European Refugee Fund. Prior to joining Doras, Helen worked in the field of development education where she became involved with training and supporting asylum seekers and refugees. She was also involved in a European Gruntvig partnership with five countries that exchanged learning on mentoring practices for newly arrived migrants. Helen has a Degree in Social Studies in Social Care and a Masters in Contemporary Migration and Diaspora Studies.

Policy Officer: Aideen Roche

Aideen has been working in the refugee protection and human rights sector since 2006. She holds a Master of Laws degree in International Human Rights and Refugee Law, a Higher Diploma in International Project Management and an undergraduate degree in Anthropology and Sociology. She joined the Doras team in 2013. She has worked in a number of roles across the organisation since then and is currently employed as our Policy Officer.

Legal Officer: Fiona McCaul

Fiona McCaul first joined Doras Luimni in August 2013 on a 9 month internship with the legal service.  She continued working with the legal service on a voluntary basis and was appointed Legal Officer in June 2015.  She holds a B.A (Hons) in European Community Studies and a first class Postgraduate Honours Degree in Irish Law (LL.b) from the National University of Ireland, Galway. Fiona also holds a Diploma in Community Development from NUIG and is an advocate of achieving social change through redistribution in order to eliminate poverty and social exclusion. Fiona is also passionate about recognising diversity through promoting the full participation of minorities, to ensure an equal and accessible society.  Fiona provides one-to-one legal advice and information on a range of immigration related issues.

Finance Officer: Audrey O' Sullivan

Audrey joined Doras in July 2017. She has over twenty years’ experience in both the Public and Private financial sectors. Audrey holds a qualification as an Accountant Technician (IATI) and furthered her studies in Certified Public Accountancy(CPA). She also holds a qualification in Supervisory Management and is a qualified Trainer/Mentor. Audrey has worked closely with the Department of Social Protection and Department of Justice & Equality in her previous roles as Financial Administrator/Manager. She is also a qualified Trainer & Mentor and has worked with Tusla, KDYS, Post Primary Schools and private agencies. Audrey is Accredited Counsellor & Psychotherapist MIACP and has a practice in Limerick. Audrey has a passion for equality and choice for all.

Advice & Legal Information Officer: Hassan Shariif

Hassan joined Doras in June 2019 as an Advice and Legal Information Officer. He is passionate about equal access to rights for migrants, refugees and international protection applicants living in direct provision centres in Ireland, having come to Ireland in the year 2007 seeking international protection.
He holds a BA in Politics and Public Administration and a Masters in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, both from Univeristy of Limerick. Hassan is fluent in English, Swahili and Somali

Advice & Information Officer: Consolata Okonkwo

Consolata Nneka Okonkwo holds degrees in Business Studies and Banking &Finance. She also has diplomas in event management, Business with Information Systems, ECDL, SAGE Accounting and Payroll, and has completed a course on Community Work in a Changing Ireland. She worked with PAUL Partnership as a Receptionist/Administrator from 2007 to 2009. Consolata joined Doras Luimní as a Receptionist Administrator and after a few years became our Operations Assistant. She enjoys helping clients by meeting with them one-to-one. Consolata’s dedication led her to volunteer with Doras Luimni as Advice and information Intern while also working as a Case Worker for Immigration Advice Service in Limerick for a number of years. Presently she is the Advice & Information Officer and will continue her support for people and migrants in Limerick. Consolata is originally from Nigeria, and is bilingual in Igbo and English.

Support & Outreach Officer: Sue Windle

Sue Windle first joined Doras in September of 2017 on a 4 month student placement from LIT. Sue continued to work for Doras on a voluntary basis and was appointed as Advice and Information Offcer in June of 2019. The following Year Sue was appointed as Support & Outreach Officer. She holds a B.A (Hons) in Social Care Studies from LIT. Prior to coming to Doras, she had worked in the community for over a decade supporting people in disability services.

Sue is passionate about supporting and advocating for families and individuals in Direct Provision and the community. She is an advocate for more robust mental health services for people in Direct Provision and those that have experienced trauma.

Advice & Legal Information Officer: Rachael Bermingham

Rachael first joined Doras in September 2015 as the Advice and Legal Information Intern. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University and a Master’s Degree in Sociology of Globalisation and Development. Rachael originally hails from upstate New York where she worked in Politics and community development, working with Eat Smart New York to promote and educate low income families on the available social supports. She also spent some time living in Australia where she worked with the Green Party to end off shore detention of asylum seekers. She has a passion for human rights including LGBTQI rights and women’s rights. She also has a strong passion for environmentalism and runs a small organic vegetable farm in her spare time. Rachael has been working as the Advice and Legal Information Officer since March 2016.

Community Sponsorship Support Worker: Ahmed Hassan Mohamed

Ahmed first joined Doras on a student placement supporting the Advice and Support team, as part of the LIT BA in Social Care programme. Ahmed has worked in areas related to youth, education, environment, peace building, gender and leadership for 4 years, including support & outreach roles with Paul Partnership and Kerry Action for Development Education. Ahmed has also worked with the Global Peace Foundation Ireland for 3 years, focusing on engaging youth and students within Limerick in environmental sustainability, peace and education related projects.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Our board of directors guide Doras’s goals and mission.

Chairperson: Trisha Rainsford

Chairperson of the Board Trisha Rainsford is a member of Limerick Integration Working Group and one of the founding members of the MidWest Interfaith Network.  She also serves on the Steering Committee of Learning Limerick, a network of local authority, community, educational and cultural bodies dedicated to lifelong learning. She is currently employed as Coordinator of the Irish Bahá’í Office of Public Affairs and in that capacity works with both human rights and community building issues. Trisha is a graduate of NUIM and has worked as a writer and also as a teacher of Classical Studies to Leaving Cert. students.

Board Member: Therese Barry

Therese Barry is a member of the Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy. She is part of the South Central Province leadership team, a former school principal and teacher, and serves on a number of boards, including the Children’s Grief Centre.

Board Member: Rizwan Kahn

Dr Rizwan Khan is a consultant Neo-natologist and Paediatrician in University Maternity Hospital Limerick. He is a board of director for Tralee International Resource Centre (TIRC). He is also a spokesperson and founder of the Kerry Islamic Outreach Society in Tralee. Both groups are heavily involved in various community projects, including; refugee settlement programmes, tidy-town campaigns, Enable Ireland fundraising campaigns, coastline beach cleaning campaigns, homeless shelter fundraising programmes and youth mentorship.

Board Member: Sikhulekile Ruth Ndlova

Ruth Ndlovu is currently studying Business Studies in Accounting and Finance in the University of Limerick. She has overcome living in Direct Provision for over four years to be able to pursue her education, as she believes all the obstacles we face are meant to make us stronger. Originally from Zimbabwe, she has also worked in the Lime Tree Theatre, Limerick and is a founder and project leader for a Restart initiative, which aims to integrate International Protection Applicants with the Irish community. She continues to advocate for people seeking asylum in Ireland.

Board Member: Gordon Milne

Gordon Milne is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin (Business Studies, 1967), and Mary Immaculate College Limerick (Liberal Arts, 2006). He is a retired Chartered Accountant and a former partner in Pricewaterhouse Coopers.

Board Member: Linda Kirwisa

Linda Kirwisa is a social worker by profession, with a BA in Social Work and an MA in Criminal Justice Systems. She has over ten years’ experience in the Probation service, working mainly with youths and more recently adult offenders. Prior to that she was a social worker in the HSE for five years.  She sits on the advisory committee of Akidwa, a national network of migrant women in Ireland, and regularly volunteers with Goshh, an LGBT support organisation in Limerick. She is passionate about working with vulnerable people at a grassroots level.

Board Member: Séamus Enright, CSsR

Fr Seamus Enright C.S.s.R. is a Redemptorist priest and proud Limerick man. He is currently serving as Rector of Mount St Alphonsus, a role he has held on three previous occasions. As well discharging the administrative and pastoral aspects of this role, Fr Seamus is also the Chair of the Board of Management of St Clements College, a member of the boards of both Doras and the Limerick Youth Service and a member of the Diocesan Justice and Peace Committee. He is the driving force behind the Redemptorist Christmas Hamper Appeal and Redemptorist Perpetual Help Fund and initiated the formation of the Limerick Food Partnership. He co-chairs the Limerick Food Partnership with Professor Niamh Hourigan.

Founder and Life President: Ann Scully

Patron: Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland

OUR CODE OF CONDUCT

Doras has signed up to the Dóchas Code of Conduct for Images and Messages, which provides a framework of guiding principles that organisations can refer to in designing and implementing their public communications strategy. Doras has adopted the Code and we are committed to the values of the code including a belief in the equality of all people and acceptance of the need to promote fairness, solidarity and justice. Where reasonable and practical, within the need to reflect reality, we strive to:

  • Choose images and messages based on the values of respect, equality, solidarity and justice;
  • Truthfully represent any image or situationin its immediate and wider context in order to improve public understanding of the complexities of the issues involved;
  • Avoid images and messages that potentially stereotype, sensationalise or discriminate against people, situations or places;
  • Use images, messages, and case studies with the full understanding, participation and permission of the subjects (or their parents/guardian);
  • Ensure that those whose situation is being represented have the opportunity to communicate their stories themselves;
  • Establish and record whether the subjects wish to be named or identifiable and always act accordingly;
  • Conform to the highest standards in relation to human rights and the protection of vulnerable people.

Download the Code of Conduct or go to the Dóchas website for more information. To contact the Doras Communications Officer about any aspect of the Code of Conduct or our implementation of the code, please email info@doras.org or call 061 310328. We welcome your feedback.

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