Donegal Travellers’ Project are a community-based partnership of Travellers and members of the wider community working for justice, equality and human rights for Travellers and for other ethnic minority communities. We offer programs, support and services for the entire Traveller community and the other communities with whom we work.
DTP’s foundation in community development means that we not only advocate for and work with members of the Traveller, Roma and other communities, but we work to empower individuals and families to advocate for themselves by building capacity and skills in the Traveller community and in all communities whom which we work.
The work of Donegal Travellers’ Project is underpinned by the five values outlined in the All-Ireland Standards for Community Work: Collectivity; community empowerment; social justice and sustainable development; human rights, equality and anti-discrimination; and participation. The standards can be found in full online at www.communityworkireland.ie, but here is a brief description of each, from the All-Ireland Endorsement Body for Community Work, Education, and Training:
- Collectivity involves working in collective ways and establishing groups, networks and organisations that enable communities to come together, according to the All-Ireland standards. This approach calls on practitioners to focus on benefits for communities, rather than focusing on benefits to individuals.
- Community empowerment involves building resilience, confidence and organization among people and communities, enabling them to take leadership roles in decision-making processes that affect their lives and their communities.
- Social justice and sustainable development are key to community development and the All-Ireland standards explain that pursuing these goals demand an analysis of changes needed in policies and laws to ensure that all people can benefit equally from an equitable distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges.
- Human rights, equality and anti-discrimination, and the promotion of human rights and equality, are chief concerns of those involved in community work. This involves addressing the many forms of discrimination that many groups experience, including Traveller, Roma and other minority ethnic groups; people with disabilities, and LGBTI people, among others.
- Participation is a process that is fundamental to community development and works to enable communities to influence outcomes at decision-making levels. Community work supports the development of integrated and participatory forms of planning and organizing and works toward the active engagement of communities with state agencies and other bodies in decision-making.
Founded in 1996 as a women’s development project for Traveller women, Donegal Travellers’ Project today offers programs, supports and services for the Traveller community and other ethnic minority communities.
Among the services DTP provides:
- Accommodation: Influence policy, support nomadism and provide a wide range of information, advice and support to Travellers regarding accommodation.
- Anti-Racism: Provide training for agencies and organisations, media work, relationship-building and advocacy.
- Crisis Intervention: From eviction, to family crisis, to difficulty working with state agencies, DTP is available to offer support and advice to Travellers in Donegal.
- Education: Promote equality for Travellers in the area of education through home/school liaison, after-schools programme with a homework club, St. Gabriel’s Intercultural Preschool and a range of adult education initiatives.
- Employment: Provide information, advice and support with accessing employment and employment services.
- Primary Health Care: Peer-led project employing a team of Traveller community health workers offering a range of health supports and services.
- Representation and Travellers’ Rights: DTP is a voice for Travellers and supports Traveller leadership in our work lobbying for the rights of Travellers as a distinct ethnic group.
- Youth Work: After-schools programme, summer camps and other activities, and groups and leadership training for young Travellers.