Connect with us


Former Direct Provision resident says it’s never too late to pursue third level education




INSPIRING OTHERS: Former Direct Provision resident Rudo Chitseko hopes her BA achievement will inspire other adults to pursue third level education.

A former Direct Provision resident living in Killarney, who completed a BA degree, has pledged to give back to the community.

Rudo Chitseko hopes her BA achievement will inspire other adults who missed out on an opportunity to pursue third level education to consider signing up to a higher education programme.

Rudo studied for a BA in Applied Addiction Studies and Community Development with An Cosán, Ireland’s largest provider of community education,

Originally from Zimbabwe she has lived in Ireland since 2015, and signed up to do a BA with An Cosán while she was living in Direct Provision.

An Cosán’s degree programmes run online, which means they can be undertaken from anywhere in the country. They are accredited by the Institute of Technology (IT) Carlow and Rudo was delighted to graduate at IT Carlow’s recent Lifelong Learning Conferring Ceremony, which saw 20 adult learners from six counties across Ireland graduate from An Cosán’s two BA programmes.

Rudo, who is now studying for a BA in Social Care with Munster Technological University, (MTU), was joined at the graduation by her two proud sisters Rufaro and Samantha.

Rudo says that she is a different person after completing the BA with An Cosán.

“I am a different person altogether from the person I was,” she said.

“My perspective on social issues, like addiction and community development, are different now. I have more understanding of the issues involved. I want to give back to the community by applying the skills I have learned with An Cosán.”


Rudo says it was a challenge undertaking the degree course but that the extra supports offered by An Cosán made it easier.

“Blended learning was easy for me because I was able to work around the schedule and I was able to do other things, like look for a job,” she said. “There was financial support, academic support and counselling. The friendships, the people I met and the memories I made during my time with An Cosán will last a lifetime.”

Rudo encourages other adults who did not have the chance to complete second-level education or go on to third-level education to sign up to a course with An Cosán.

“I met people from all backgrounds who left school early or were recovering from different situations. Everything is possible. I am a living testament to that – I never thought I would graduate with a degree, but here I am. So, no matter what your situation, you can have another chance. There is always a way and An Cosán will be there to support you.”

Continue Reading


Olga Tkachenko: My resilience in life is the ability to see only the good

Olga Tkachenko and I run five kilometres every Saturday with the Killarney House Parkrun. This fragile and smiling woman always runs easily and beats me every time. It seems that […]




Olga Tkachenko and I run five kilometres every Saturday with the Killarney House Parkrun.

This fragile and smiling woman always runs easily and beats me every time.

It seems that everything in her life is as easy as jogging.

But this is not quite so.

Olga grew up in Donetsk city, Donbass region. Her sister Maryna and parents lived here. A large and friendly family, they owed a holiday home in the region and would gather there for vacations and holidays. This house was a symbol of this family.

In 2014, Russian troops entered Donetsk and drove their military equipment right into the yard of the house.

From here they started shelling the Donetsk airport.

Soon the house was completely destroyed. All that remains of the house are two walls and a few pots. The family nest was devastated. Her sister Maryna tried to save the surviving property and came under fire. Fortunately, she was not injured.

Olga moved her parents to another place, and she went to Kyiv with her husband and children. All they took with them were two laptops and a few warm things. Life had to start from scratch.

Olga’s sister Maryna moved to Dnipro city, where she found a new job.

The sisters went their separate ways, but still maintained a very close relationship, calling and supporting each other every day.

Maryna’s husband and Olga’s husband are brothers and share the same last name – Tkachenko.

They have children two months apart. Olga jokes that she and her sister have a topic to talk about – their common father-in-law and mother-in-law.

Having lost their homes in 2014 due to Russia’s military aggression in Donbas, the sisters built their lives in two different cities – Irpen (near Kyiv) and Dnipro. But when the war broke out in 2022, they found themselves together again.

The sisters managed to board an evacuation train bound for Poland. Again, they only had one bag each and a one-way ticket.

“Fear drove us as far as possible. The main goal was to save the children. We did not know where we were going. We wanted to escape as far as possible from the war and the borders of Russia,” says Olga.

After staying in a refugee camp in Poland for several days, they decided to go to Ireland.
Were they worried about going into the unknown?

But Olga says that when she is together with her sister, it gives both women confidence and stability. Together, it’s not so scary anymore.

Olga says that it is impossible to get used to the fact that you lose your home every time and get used to life. It is impossible to accept that everything has to be started from new.

But she has one secret of resilience – the ability to see the good in the circumstances in which you find yourself.

Here in Killarney Olga focuses on the beautiful nature, she learns a new language, and goes jogging. She never regrets.

Olga’s sister Maryna Tkachenko has already found a job and works in as a designer in Killarney. The sisters help each other a lot and are very worried about their parents and grandmother, who remaine in Ukraine.

“Our parents spent a month under the occupation of Russian troops in a village near Kyiv. My 70-year-old mother, as in 2014, went to negotiate with Russian soldiers and persuaded them not to shoot. We are glad that our parents’ house survived this time. Because in 2014 we already lost one home. Our parents would not have survived this a second time,” adds Olga.

That is why she will soon go back to Ukraine.

She explains her motives: “I want to be where I am most needed. My eldest daughter, parents and grandmother are in Ukraine. My daughter works as a volunteer every week, clearing the rubble of buildings, so I want to help my country as well. After dismantling the ruins, we will see our beautiful country again.”


Continue Reading


Jon Kenny to star in hilarious comedy in the INEC

Michael Scott’s iconic production of John B. Keane’s hilarious dramatic comedy The Matchmaker is coming to the INEC next month.  The play opened in Spirit in January 2001 starring Anna Managhan and Des Keogh. […]




Michael Scott’s iconic production of John B. Keane’s hilarious dramatic comedy The Matchmaker is coming to the INEC next month. 

The play opened in Spirit in January 2001 starring Anna Managhan and Des Keogh. The production went on to tour Ireland, sell-out at the Edinburgh Festival, become a video and DVD with Sony, a BBC Radio Series, and play ‘off Broadway’.

Many of Ireland’s leading actors have joined the production over the years, including, Mary McEvoy, Ann Charleston (Madge in Neighbours), Geraldine Plunkett, Des Nealon and the late Mick Lally, one of our most loved actors.

Now for its 21st year, one of Ireland’s leading dramatic actresses Norma Sheahan joins Jon Kenny, who was part of the Irish comic duo d’Unbelievables with Pat Shortt, in this iconic production at the Gleneagle INEC Arena on September 18. Together they play a myriad of characters in this hilarious and earthy dramatic comedy.

The play follows the efforts of Dicky Mick Dicky O’Connor to make matches for the lonely and lovelorn. Using his inimitable way with words and his one sense of “devilment” and wit, Keane delves into the longings, hungers, fears and foibles of this collection of lonely country people and creates a marvellously colourful world, taking us back to a simpler time, when phones were few and far between and the only web was one left behind by spiders.

Norma Sheahan loved by audiences from her roles in The Clinic, Bridget and Eamon and Moone Boy, is the only other actress apart from Vanessa Redgrave to have sold out the Gaiety Theatre in a one woman show (not once, but twice) in her role as Willy Russell’s Shirley Valentine which has just completed an enormously successful national tour. The production is directed by Michael Scott.

Tickets from €27.90 are on sale now from and 

Continue Reading


Last News