New social enterprise, launched to empower single parents through education, has secured over €500,000 in philanthropic funding.
Empower the Family, a not-for-profit organisation set up by Deborah Somorin, will establish student accommodation for single parents at universities and will offer on-site quality affordable childcare.
It will open its first location in Dublin by September 2019, with ambitious plans to establish a presence in every county in Ireland in the coming years.
In Ireland, 1 in 5 single parents live in consistent poverty with their children.
Supporting single parents to reach their potential
Empower the Family was set up to support single parents who wish to pursue third level education, while at the same time enabling them create a better life for their children.
“Unfortunately, the likelihood of living in consistent poverty in Ireland is correlated with your level of education”, said Deborah.
“There is also a substantial inequality in the proportion of people progressing to third level education in Ireland based on how disadvantaged the area they live in. For example, a young person is 430% less likely to go to college if he/she grew up in Dublin 1 (i.e. Dorset Street and Talbot Street) in comparison to Dublin 6 (i.e. Rathmines and Ranelagh).”
Only 7% of homes available in the biggest town and cities in Ireland are affordable to people on welfare support.
A report released by the Simon Community earlier this year showed that only 7% of homes available in the biggest town and cities in Ireland, which is where universities are located, are affordable to people on welfare support.
“We will provide the right supports to empower the single parents who have the determination and ability to succeed at university. This will help them to create a life away from poverty for themselves and their children.”
“It will also have a positive effect by creating role models and encouraging higher progression rates to university in disadvantaged communities who currently have progression rates as low as 10%. We hope this is a model that can be rolled out in other countries in the future.”
We aim to provide each parent with a mentor who has overcome adversity
Empower the Family also aims to:
● Ring fence a place for a homeless single parent in university and, secondly, a single parent in university who will be transitioning out of the state care system due to their increased risk of homelessness as a direct result of the housing crisis;
● Measure the graduating rate of single parents who use the service;
● Meet a target graduation rate of at least 80%;
● Provide each parent with a mentor who has overcome adversity;
● Provide access to counselling services.