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DOMINICAN COLLEGE PAST PUPILS' UNION SOCIAL WORK
The Union has provided Social Work since its foundation in 1914.

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BENEVOLENT FUND

The Benevolent Fund of Dominican College Past Pupils Union is used to assist past pupils in need of very small immediate financial help. It is financed solely by small donation from past pupils present at the AGM each year (historically known as The Secret Bag Collection). Any query in relation to the Fund is treated with the strictest confidence and no information which would identify the person is shared beyond the administrators of the Fund - Sr Victor OP and the President of the Union. We would like to thank the past pupils who have contributed to the Fund over the years.

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DONATIONS

Since the sale of St Dominic’s Club premises in Hardwicke Street, the Union has been in a position to make donations on an annual basis to both schools and to Sr Sheila Skeffington, who for many years worked with St Dominic’s Day Care Centre (now closed) and now runs Dollardstown Cottage for the elderly and helps with a women’s group in the Dominick Street area. Annual donations are also made to the Dominican Missions (see in the Missions section below).

Dominican College
Principal of Griffith Avenue Olive Laffoy has put the Union’s 2013 Donation to good use, developing gardens for the students, in the form of raised beds with cloches, etc. In the past, the Donations have been used to frame paintings for display on school corridor, musical instruments and books for the Library, etc.

New raised beds at Dominican College Griffith Avenue, May 2014

Scoil Chaitríona
Principal of Scoil Chaitríona Caitríona Ní Laighin used the Union’s 2013 Donation to purchase stools and tables to complete the newly refurbished Domestic Economy room. Previous donations were used to purchase a piano, much loved by all the students, and books for the Library etc.

The Dominican Day Care Centre and  Dollardstown Cottage
The Dominican Day Care Centre,  31,Upper Dominic Street, was established in 1984 by the Dominican Community, St Saviour’s Dominick Street in response to a great need to provide a day-care facility for the older people in the area, but from the beginning, it also cared for the wider community. The Centre provided day care on a six days per week basis.  From the outset, some rooms in the Centre were used as a playschool, and the facilities were also used for the training and further development of teenagers and younger women in local area.   Sr Sheila was part of a team of Dominican volunteers who organised the daily administration of the Centre.


The Dominican-owned Dollardstown Cottage on the edge of Dollardstown Woods near Athy Co Kildare, also provided facilities for retreats and holiday breaks for those attending the Centre. Sadly No. 31 is now closed after almost 20 years serving the community. The Daughters of Charity run a similar Centre in Henrietta Street providing daily meals, a creche, primary school, and adult education. All from St Dominic’s Day Care Centre were welcomed and they transferred to Henrietta Street where they continue to be catered for. A large room has been given over to Sr Sheila in Henrietta St where she works as a volunteer organising a women’s group. Among the activities are cookery classes, private tuition for reading, personal development classes, and assertiveness classes. Retreats are also organised, which are very well attended. These women, in the 40 to 50 years age group, are residents of the local flats. As well as her work in Henrietta Street, Sr Sheila continues to work tirelessly in Dollardstown Cottage. She is the driving force and is fully responsible for upkeep of the cottage and organising week-end holiday breaks for the lonely elderly all year round. She has a team of very enthusiastic volunteers who help her make this a truly happy and welcoming experience for the elderly. For those who have no family and are completely alone, the 5-day holiday breaks over Christmas and Easter are magical. On a recent visit to Dollardstown, committee members were very impressed with the way Sr Sheila has renovated and decorated the cottage so beautifully. The cottage is in a delightful setting and the grounds are carefully maintained. It was a pleasure to visit, and the committee are very happy to continue to support this charity. The Past Pupils who worked so hard fundraising for St Dominic’s Club, and the Old Folks Club, would be very pleased with the wonderful work Sr Sheila is doing.

Dollardstown Cottage

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CONTRIBUTIONS TO DOMINICAN MISSIONS

The Missions are not forgotten by the Union and each May contributions are sent when funds permit, thankfully this was most years since the 1930’s. We have made donations to the Dominican Missions working in South America and South Africa and in the earlier years to Australia and have keep the union members updated on the projects where the monies have been directed. The following are details of the recent activities of the Dominican Missions.

SOUTH AFRICA

Education
The Sisters are currently responsible for 29 schools, primary, secondary and schools for deaf children. They are in the process of handing over these schools into a series of trusts in an endeavor to ensure their survival. Donations currently go towards the provision of uniforms for St Reginald’s school which is in a very deprived rural area, an arrangement for scholarship bursaries for Marymount all black school, support for Wittebome School for Deaf children, together with the upkeep of the attached hostel which provides accommodation for children who live too far from the school to travel daily.

Students of Marymount High School, Uitenhage, South Africa

Pastoral Work
Empowerment, support and education of local women in townships. It is with deep sorrow we record the recent death of Sr Aine Hardiman who worked so actively in this area, especially early learning.

Sr Aine Hardiman with a baby

Development Work
Support for Dominican HIV/AIDs related project called St Martin de Porres Development Project, established 2002. Its mission is to improve the livelihood of orphans and vulnerable children, many of whom are either infected or affected by HIV/AIDS. The Project operates on two sites, one in KwaThema and the other in Buhlebuzile.


SOUTH AMERICA


Prison Apostolate
The Sisters and a team of women volunteers, visit a detention place for minors in the centre of Victoria, most were detained for crimes related to drugs. They offer encouragement, friendship, food and training workshops.

Health
The Sisters run a HIV/AIDS development project in Argentina. Its aim is to educate local women in the prevention of the spread of this epidemic.

Education for Peace
Courses are run in both Argentina and Bolivia to help parents and teachers to improve peaceful communication and to solve conflicts. Workshops are also provided which focus on the empowerment and personal development of women living in poverty.

Pastoral Work
Much work is undertaken to encourage and train young people as future leaders in the Church. At present the Sisters often share ministry and collaborate with young lay Dominican Associates. The pastoral care and faith development of this new group among us is a priority.

This will hopefully give you a glimpse into the ministry and mission of our Sisters overseas. They are most grateful to our union for our support.

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