Orlaith O'Rourke of ActionAid is from Donegal Town
Orlaith O’Rourke, a native of Donegal Town, recently embarked on a new and exciting role with international aid charity, ActionAid Ireland. Orlaith, daughter of Anita & Martin and former pupil of The Abbey Vocational School, is working with the charity as their Donor Care Coordinator, managing their child sponsorship programmes and charitable appeals, such as their recent Covid emergency response appeal.
Orlaith, who began her new role in the midst of lockdown, said she’s thrilled to get the opportunity to work with ActionAid, “It was certainly challenging to start working with the new team and being unable to meet them in-person! But it’s just the way things are so, we just got on with it and it has been great!”
ActionAid Ireland was established in 1983. It is part of a global federation working with 15 million people in 45 countries. They work with the poorest women and children in the world, teaching numeracy, literacy and human rights to women, empowering them so that they can gain more control over their families and their lives.
Orlaith previously worked with charities such as the Irish Hospice Foundation and Dublin Simon Community and she is an active volunteer, giving her time to worthy causes such as the Simon Soup Run, which delivers warm soup and meals to members of the homeless community in Dublin City.
Orlaith, who is now living in Dublin city, described the challenges of starting the new role during the Covid pandemic, “The team were working really hard to respond to Covid in the countries where we work, such as Kenya, Nepal, Cambodia, and Uganda. With lockdown, many people were out of work without social security payments, and children were at home as schools were closed. Access to running water is still a challenge in some of the communities. We had to reach out to our thousands of donors and child sponsors to let them know about these challenges and to see if they could help.”
Whilst it has been a baptism of fire of-sorts for Orlaith, she said she has loved the work and has been ‘uplifted’ by the boundless generosity of Irish people. “We ourselves have been struggling in Ireland with lockdown restrictions and fear of the virus, so you could understand why people might be less concerned with the rest of the world. But I have found people to be so generous and understanding of the needs of people far worse off than ourselves. It’s been a challenging start, but I’ve been reminded of the goodness of people in hard times. So, I am grateful!”
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