Name: Anne-Marie

Age: 40

Location: Bailieborough, Co Cavan

Programme: Traveller Health and Social Care Project

“I am interested in Traveller health and I first came into contact with Extern through their programme co-ordinator who had come knocking on people’s doors to tell everyone about the project. She kept coming back all the time and encouraged me to get involved.

Since then she has always been there over the years for me and my family. It was the best thing I have ever done and I am so happy I joined the team.

My special memory is coming to the Extern bungalow, where the project is based, and meeting the girls from all over the county. When we come here we have a chat and talk about what is going on in our lives. Then we organise what work we are due to carry out, and plan what families we are going to visit. We work out what we are going to be talking about and bring the relevant education pack with us.

At first, it was a challenge for Travellers to build up trust with us, but over the years this has grown. Sometimes they don’t want us calling, so we have to keep going back until we get our message across.

You need to have the trust of Travellers to work in my job. You need to understand their culture and respect their privacy and also be nonjudgmental about Traveller lifestyle.

We make a real difference to the lives of many Travellers. We tell them about the importance of looking after their health, getting blood pressure checks, cutting down/out smoking, taking less alcohol and going to their appointments. It was great to receive so many awards for our work over the years.

I also enjoyed doing the children’s programmes and watching them grow.”

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