Our annual Global Health Day was held in our school on Monday 19th of February for Transition year students. A great day was had by all students, teachers and the many coordinators who brought the whole event together. Throughout the day TY students got to partake in a series of workshops run by the many incredible coordinators we had visiting the school. Students learned about health and lifestyle in developing countries around the world. Our coordinators came from all over the world. We were also delighted to welcome back some of our past pupils: Brendan Shelley, Sadhbh MacLochlainn, Cian Larkan and Maria Carr. We had representation from students and teachers from the following third level institutions; University College Galway, University College Cork, University College Dublin, Trinity College Dublin the Irish Forum for Global Health, DCU and Kimmage Development Studies Centre.
It was also a very special day as we remembered Fiona Larkan, a local woman who had been one of the founder organisers of this wonderful event and who sadly passed away earlier this year. The Fiona Larkan Memorial Cup was presented to the winning debate team by Fiona’s husband Brad, her son Cian and her good friend Marian. We were so grateful that they could join us on the day.
Three Minute Gong
During the day, we were given bursts of information about Global Health through three minute gongs. Speakers had three minutes to tell us students about a specific aspect of global health they were studying or interested in. For example, water, sanitation or living conditions. All topics were extremely interesting and engaging. Ms Lowry and Ms Chaloner were among those speaking. Ms Lowry spoke of our own opportunities with education in Ireland with great passion and Ms Chaloner talked of her experience working in Tanzania inspiring us all to consider similar work.
Bunker/ Bomb Shelter
One of the workshops we took part in was the bomb shelter which had us decide who we would take into a bomb shelter out of a list of individuals. We had to base our choices on the very little information we knew about them. It was extremely difficult to choose one person over another, even though they were hypothetical people. It taught us to not judge and stereotype people.
This workshop got us to think about a situation where there was one 15 year old girl who was in the last trimester of her pregnancy living in a small African village. Our task was to decide where the people surrounding her should be placed in terms of power over the situation and their closeness to her. The closer an individual would be to the 15 year old they stood close to her and the more power they had over the situation was conveyed in how high/low they positioned themselves. We all took one person in the girl’s life and positioned ourselves appropriately. After we had discussed or positions we did the same for an Irish girl living in Dublin. Positions changed dramatically based on the girl’s place of living and we learned more about global health in Africa.
Big steps was a game to show us the strength and reliance of people who have experienced HIV and AIDS. We were given examples of people worldwide who have experienced the disease. Either themselves, or their family are proud to be a representative to help others with the disease and since being diagnosed, have changed their life for the better.
Everybody in the year got the opportunity to take part in a trading game. This game is a great way to show the inequalities between countries and how some countries are at a disadvantage compared to others in relation to money, aid and resources.
Students were split into small groups and were each given a country out of America, Japan, Mozambique, Tanzania, India and Brazil. Every country got a folder with materials like pens, sheets of paper, or scissors in them and whatever you got in your folder depended on the wealth of your country. Some countries, like America had lots of materials which put them ahead in the game. However, countries, like Mozambique, were at a disadvantage by having very little to work with. With your folder every country got a sheet with different shapes listed on it with different dimensions and sizes. They had to cut out the shapes to get money. The more difficult the shape the more money you received. The country with the most money at the end of the game won. Countries traded with each other to get materials they needed to cut out the shapes. It was great fun and was enjoyed by all students!
Every year for Global Health Day a number of students take part in a debate. The motion ‘It is not possible for a person living in the developing world to achieve a decent standard of health’ allowed students to give their opinions on all they had learned throughout the day. Both sides of the motion gave excellent arguments to why their side of the motion stood firm. The team opposing the motion used great statistics and examples of poor health standards in many third world countries. The team proposing the motion also backed up their points on new medicines, foreign aid and charity work with impressive examples, but in the end the team opposing the motion won over the judges and were presented the trophy. This year was a very special year for the debate as it was held in the memory and in honour of Fiona Larkan who did outstanding work for Global Health in our school and community.We would like to thank Fiona’s family and good friend coming in to judge the debate and present the trophy.
Overall, students had an absolutely amazing day. We learnt so much information and became so aware of not only the problems related to global health, but also how Irish people, such as our visitors, are helping to resolve these problems and improve the living standards in developing countries. We also realised how much we have to learn as citizens of a global community and how we are interdependent on each other. On behalf of all the TY students at DCC, we thank all our visitors and the teachers and coordinators involved, in particular Ms. Sheehan, Ms. Lowry, Ms. Chaloner, Mr. Brehony and Ms. Molloy.
Report by Aisling Read, Sarah Oliver and Hannah Foley
Photos with thanks to Jake O’Toole