On November 19, 2021, refugee advocate and social entrepreneur, Roos Demol, uploaded an open letter to the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, and to the Department of Rural and Community Development, casting a spotlight on the poverty of Human Rights Defenders in Ireland.
Demol is known through her leadership at Recruit Refugees Ireland (RRI), a platform that matches asylum-seekers and refugees to jobs in their city. According to the letter, 400 candidates registered with RRI, giving them access to job boards, partners, recruiters, upskill and training sessions, and application and CV support.
Despite her work in the community, Demol was not entitled to a Short-Term Enterprise Allowance (STEA) or support from the Local Enterprise Office. Based on Citizen Information’s website, the STEA gives support to people who have lost their job and want to start their own business.
Of the 637,000 people in Ireland living in poverty, 98,100, like Demol, are the “working poor.”[i] A recommendation made by Social Justice Ireland that would address Demol’s concern is for Ireland to “carry out in-depth social impact assessments prior to implementing proposed policy initiatives that impact on the income and public services on which many low-income households depend. This should include the poverty-proofing of all public policy initiatives.” [ii]
Social entrepreneurs like Demol, improve the quality of life of others and make a difference to the world. They also target an unfortunate but stable equilibrium that causes the neglect, marginalization, or suffering of a segment of humanity. [iii]
Lastly, Demol has a point: the ‘unmissable’ entrepreneurs in Ireland should be paid a fair salary by the state, as they create and minister extremely valuable enterprises to those in need.
One can only hope Demol’s letter lands on the right desk.
[i] Social Justice Ireland. (2020). More Than 637,000 People Are Still Living in Poverty in Ireland Despite Modest Improvement in Poverty Rates. Available at: https://www.socialjustice.ie/content/policy-issues/more-637000-people-are-still-living-poverty-ireland-despite-modest
[iii] Martin, R. L. & Osberg, S. (2007). Social Entrepreneurship: The Case for Definition. Standford Social Innovation Review. Available at: https://ssir.org/articles/entry/social_entrepreneurship_the_case_for_definition