Five LLM students at the Irish Centre for Human Rights (ICHR), NUI Galway, have published educational resources designed to help secondary school teachers to educate and therefore address the human rights violations suffered in Ireland’s Industrial Schools, Magdalene Laundries and Mother and Baby institutions.
In addition to being published here, the educational resources are also published on the website of the Open Heart City project (www.openheartcitydublin.ie), which aims to generate commitment to a national network of archives and memorials for public education about Ireland’s ‘historical’ institutional and gender-based abuses.
The ICHR Master’s students trialled their classroom materials with Transition Years in Coláiste na Coiribe, Knocknacarra, in May 2021. They were joined in class by survivor and LLM graduate of the ICHR, Mary Harney, who spoke to the Coláiste na Coiribe students about her personal experience in a Mother and Baby Home and foster care as a child, and her ongoing work for justice and memorialisation.
To design the teaching materials, the LLM students—Emily O’Reilly, Jessica Howard, Helen McDonagh, Sija Shen and Tomás Biggins—worked closely with a number of survivors, educators, secondary school students, artists and activists. The students also researched education and memorialisation efforts in other countries including Germany, Canada and Australia and spoke with educators abroad.
“We must teach children the history of this dark chapter in Ireland and keep that memory alive so that it never happens again.” (Mary Harney)