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Hundreds Turn Out For Clongriffin Multicultural Festival

The second year of the Clongriffin Multicultural Festival was a big success, with hundreds attending the event run by the Tasnuva Shamim Foundation yesterday afternoon (June 9).

The organisation are best known as being one of the first to give out hot food to Dublin’s homeless on Friday nights at the GPO. However, another objective of the foundation is social integration – running events to help immigrants connect with their Irish communities.

From left to right: Shagor Ahmed Shamim, Sehem Elnazli, Fida Ibrahim, Asghar Butt

“In Clongriffin, there are people from so many diverse backgrounds,” founder Shagor Ahmed Shamim told Travel Ireland. “We wanted to bring all of them together to meet each other. Normally in Ireland when you see your neighbour, you say hello. Yet, you don’t talk to them. You often need an excuse to talk. That is what our multicultural festival is.”

On offer for attendees was free pizza courtesy of Pizza Hut, delicious hot Indian-style food from Clontarf restaurant Kinara and plenty of cakes, popcorn and sweets for youngsters.

“Food has a great way of breaking down barriers,” said Tasnuva Shamim member Asghar Butt. “At last year’s festival, there was an Italian woman who lived nearby. She came over and said: ‘Hello. I’ve been here a while and never introduced myself to anybody.’ She was over the moon. The festival gave her an opportunity to do that and also relax and have some nice food. It was a great experience for her. I’d say there’s many people in the same boat.”

Fida Ibrahim, another member of the foundation, told Travel Ireland how immigrants entering Ireland feel lonely when they first arrive. “When people come from a foreign country to live here, they feel isolated. They have no friends. We have to reach out to these people so they have opportunities to not feel like this.”

Meanwhile, Shamim added: “There are also some Irish people, living alone or perhaps single parents, who don’t get many chances to talk to somebody. This is a fun, relaxing way to get people mixing together.”

Food From Kinara

Shamim was effusive in his praise for the small and local businesses/organisations that supported the event. These included the Clongriffin Community Assocation, Dublin City Council, FoodCloud, Gannon Homes, Kinara Restaurant, Northside Partnership, Pizza Hut, Taza Restaurant, Tesco and the Mint Cottage Restaurant.

However, he did express disappointment that his requests for support from larger companies went ignored. “I’m sad that smaller, local businesses – doing it off their own bat – are the only ones helping out, while multi-million corporations provide little support,” said Shamim. He also thanked politicians Richard Bruton, Sean Haughey and Tom Brabazon for attending the event and the Ministry of Justice’s Community Integration Fund for funding it.

Speaking on the latter, Shamim said: “I hope with their support this will continue to grow and people from many different cultural backgrounds can meet in one place. More than 40 nationalities live in the surrounding area.”

According to their members, the local community have reacted positively to the Tasnuva Shamim Foundation’s events. “It’s a bit of a new thing having immigration coming into Ireland over the last 20 years,” says Butt. “But in most cases, it’s been received really well. Long may it continue.”

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