Currently there are 68.5 million displaced men, women and children around the world.
The global crisis of migration and human displacement is the powerful theme of Irish aid agency GOAL’s entry in this year’s Bloom Garden Festival which takes place in the Phoenix Park, Dublin, over the June Bank Holiday weekend.
Titled “A Chothú agus a Chosaint”, meaning to nurture and protect, the GOAL garden, supported by Irish Aid and Dropbox, will chart the harrowing journey of those uprooted from their homes due to war, conflict or natural disaster. According to the UN there are an estimated 68.5 million displaced men, women and children in the world, 25.4 million who are refugees.
Designed by Adrian Eggers of Living Designs Landscapes, the centrepiece of the garden is a “tree of life” sculpture crafted by award-winning Mayo ironworker, John Hogan. The tree marks the start of the migrant’s arduous journey.
Coloured glass balls represent the fragility of the lives of the displaced as they move from devastation to a new future. And the migrants’ journey ends in a place of safety and opportunity, represented by four giant urns reflecting GOAL’s four main work pillars – Emergency Response, Nutrition, Health and Livelihoods.
Caring for the displaced and refugees is the centre piece of GOAL’s work. Since 2014 it has been to the forefront responding to the displacement of families in Syria while in Ethiopia GOAL is delivering large-scale emergency refugee response programmes to almost 50,000 South Sudanese people in refugee camps in Western and Northern Ethiopia. It is also providing support in a refugee camp in Zimbabwe affected by the recent Cyclone Idai which devastated parts of the country.
GOAL Ceo, Siobhan Walsh, said: “We have a responsibility to put a spotlight on migrations issues. We have seen the harrowing images in the media of migrants and those displaced who have lost their homes, and whose lives have been put at risk as they try desperately to reach safety.“
She added: “We are proud of the work we are doing nurturing and protecting those supporting those displaced, and through our Bloom garden we are keen to highlight the issue and to inform visitors on one of the most serious human issues facing our world today.”
Garden designer Adrian Eggers said: “As a designer this is a fabulous opportunity to take a brief from an organisation such as GOAL and to reflect their passion and thoughts into a show garden. I urge the public stop, reflect and ask a question or two on the materials, structures, planting and what it all means. Well done GOAL on tackling the problems of human migration.”
Mayo ironworker John Hogan said: “The concept of a Tree of Life has been used in many different fields such as religion, science, and mythology. My Tree of Life represents different qualities such as wisdom strength protection, beauty bounty and redemption. The tree is associated with a creator because it provides protection, support, abundant fruit and thereby regeneration. I think it is an ideal fit for the GOAL garden and its theme of migration. I am delighted to be involved.”
For more information and to purchase tickets visit https://bloominthepark.com/