The final of our series of farm walks took place in Dysart, Co Roscommon, hosted by Mattie John Kelly and his family on 27 August 2022. The purpose of the farm walks was to promote inclusivity and diversity within our community and organisation. The farm walks were hosted on a variety of farms around Ireland.

The two previous farm walks were hosted on the Irish Farmers Journal’s Tullamore Farm and Johnathan Dwyer’s dairy farm in Co Laois.

We met with men, women and children from all walks of life who have been through extremely difficult times and spoke about the similarities and differences within our communities.

The final farm walk was predominately made up of women and their children who had fled Afghanistan. They spoke about life in Afghanistan before the Taliban and how within a few short days of the Islamic group returning to power, they had lost their rights to work, education and their overall role within society.

Macra member Emma Coyle showing visitors the sheep on the farm.

One lady told us that she completing her Master’s degree in accounting and politics in Afghanistan and had one month left to qualify. All this hard work and effort was taken from her by the Taliban’s summer offensive of 2021.

She has described her life in Ireland as positive – her children can attend a safe school and education opportunities have been offered to her.

The Rural Youth sub-committee, along with members from Macra na Feirme, would like to thank all those who attended and the staff in the Emergency Reception and Orientation Centre (EROC) Ballaghderreen for their commitment to this project. It has been an great experience for all involved and we hope to extend our working partnership with the EROC in the future. A special thank you to our farm walk hosts. This experience would not have been possible without your hard work and dedication.