Over 100 golfers took part in a Golf Classic at Powerscourt Golf Club on the 26th of August to raise funds for An Cosán – Ireland’s largest community education provider. An Cosán, which was founded in 1986 to break the cycle of poverty for families living in West Tallaght, has since grown into a nationwide organisation transforming the lives of adult learners, children, families and communities across Ireland. Its unique education model includes offering a variety of educational courses at all levels from basic up to degree programmes, as well as a range of additional support services, including early years’ education and care, financial support, IT support, and one-to-one tutoring and counselling.
Following their round of golf and dinner in the clubhouse, the An Cosán supporters gained an insight into the impact of the organisation’s transformative education when adult learner Samantha Dowdall shared her experience. Samantha, who completed a QQI Level 5 Personal and Professional Development programme with An Cosán last year and is now in her first year of An Cosán’s BA programme in Applied Addiction Studies and Community Development (accredited by South East Technological University) explained how she decided to return to education following the birth of her daughter, Phoebe, four years ago.
“I was working as a carer for elderly people when I became pregnant and, while I enjoyed the work, I felt I needed to learn more for myself and for my child in order to build a better future for both of us,” she said. “An Cosán is like a home from home,” she continued. “It’s very uplifting. No-one looks down at you; everyone accepts you the way you are. The additional supports, like the laptop loan scheme and the one-to-one mentoring, have been really amazing. I wouldn’t be able to do it without them.”
Samantha, who hopes to become a key worker for homeless people, said that she now has a good career ahead of her. “Thanks to An Cosán, I have a future,” she said. “I have a good career ahead of me and my daughter has a good future ahead of her too. I include her when I am doing college work on the computer; that is empowering for her and encourages her too. The essays are hard, but it’s going to be so worth it in the end.”
Chair of the Board of Directors, Anna Durkan, thanked Samantha for sharing her story and the companies that sponsored the event as well as everyone who attended. She said, “An Cosán is all about giving opportunities to learners – adults and children – to develop skills and confidence so that they have choices in life. It’s about providing a pathway out of inter-generational disadvantage.”
An Cosán CEO Heydi Foster also thanked everyone, saying, “We believe that those who are so often excluded from society – because of living in poverty, because of their gender or race, because of being lone parents, because of where they come from – have a right to be respected and valued, and to access opportunities. We could not achieve these goals without the support of our sponsors, participants in our annual Golf Classic and other events, our corporate partners and the wider community.”
An Cosán is currently enrolling for its Access and Further Education courses. To find out more, see www.ancosan.ie or phone 01 462 8488.