New cultural space opens in city centre

Danielle Maldonado reports on a new centre that has been opened in Dublin 1 by former homeless immigrants.

A self-funded cultural centre opened by former homeless immigrants in Dublin 1 is growing and there are plans for expansion on the way.

All We Need Is Love is a cultural collaborative space that evolved from a charity project to help refugees.

“We want to show people that we had nothing; we came from nothing; we are Brazilian immigrants. Our main objective is to show that it is possible,” said Ellen Aveiro, co-founder of the centre.

“People give themselves boundaries and they think they need a lot of money to do anything”

The centre currently hosts eight different activities such as yoga classes, drama lessons and dance classes and also has space for gigs and art exhibitions. There are three rooms in the centre but within three months they had demand for more space, making them plan to rent more rooms in the same building.

“People get very surprised when they find out that the centre is not funded by public money,” said Ms Aveiro, who also pointed out that this type of help can be restrictive with the content they produce, and their projects try to encourage no creative restrictions.

“People give themselves boundaries and they think they need a lot of money to do anything,” said Eduardo Roncaglione, co-founder of the centre.

Credit: Felipe Diehl

Credit: Felipe Diehl

He believes that people can do much with little. “People tend to focus on the problem, on what is missing, but it should be the opposite: they must see what are the resources available to them.” They get to the next step when they make something from it, he added.

He also said that this was the way things happened to them. “We made things from what we didn’t have.”

All We Need Is Love started as an event to help raise funds for a charity which works with refugees and asylum seekers in Ireland called Refugee Soul Project, based at the Hatch Hall Accommodation Centre in Dublin 2.

The work is seen by Ms Aveiro as a form of therapy. They encourage artistic expression, they encourage people to understand themselves and learn awareness and to do things that make them fulfilled.

“When you’re doing what you love you are healing yourself, so we wanted to see how this connection could make changes in those people,” she said.

The two co-founders had to move twice before they found the space where they are now based because they hosted the events in their house, which made them homeless.

“We lived for five months in friends’ houses but we kept working with events. The time we spent in friends’ houses, all the moments we needed help from others, was like the universe helping us,” she continued, explaining why they started the project with the refugees.

Another feature of the centre is to offer vegan food as a way to contribute to a new conception of eating education. “We want to serve to people what we like to eat, what we think is healthy for us, and the development of a tasty healthy food is what we want to share with people,” said Mr Roncaglione.

He said that the neighbourhood faces many challenges, with alcohol-related problems, but he believes that the student accommodation in construction at the moment will change that area’s landscape.

The co-founders of the centre say that there is prejudice towards the north side of the city, but they believe that the area is developing. “It will be the best place to have our activities,” said Ms Aveiro.

“We are the generation that has come to bring changes to the world, so I can’t think of a better place to be than this neighbourhood. Because it is with this generation we are going to work, so this is the best place to be.”

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