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Gráinne Lynch (2006)

Gráinne Lynch

Gráinne Lynch

I arrived on the postgraduate course in Development Studies at Kimmage Manor in September 2005. I thought I was going to spend a year learning “how to save the world” and then return overseas to “save it”. To say I was slightly naive and wearing rose tinted glasses is an understatement! However, I did spend an academic year at Kimmage Manor and what I learned there and the amazing experience I got from that year has stayed with me to this day.
The course at Kimmage significantly changed my understanding of overseas development. It raised a lot of ethical questions for me around the role of NGO’s, volunteering overseas and indeed my own motives for wanting to return to the developing world to “help” it. I was struck by the number of people on the course from other countries – most of whom would return to work with own communities. I began to question what right I had going into communities where I spoke neither the language or understood the culture. Actually, I remember coming into class one day in a panic and saying to my friend Eva “I think I picked the wrong course again, now what am I going to do?”   I was distraught. I thought I had my career plan mapped out in front of me, and it did not entail remaining in Ireland, but the course was making me rethink everything. In hindsight it was the best course I could have done and I would not be doing what I am doing now had I not experienced it.

Nine years later and what has been my greatest achievement? Probably finally figuring out how I could do development work here in Dublin. While at Kimmage I started to turn my attention to volunteering opportunities at home rather than abroad. I started volunteering in a community drugs project in the city centre. Once I completed the post graduate diploma I went on to do a two year diploma in Drugs Counselling Theory and Intervention Skills. Since then I spent six years working with the Dublin Simon Community supporting homeless people. I am now an addiction support worker with the Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown Community Addiction Team.

So I arrived at Kimmage Manor nine years ago thinking I knew what I wanted. Turns out I really did not have a clue. The course opened my eyes to the world of development and made me question my beliefs and attitudes. I made a lot of long standing friendships. It was a wonderful experience that started me on my journey to where I am now.



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