Galway School the First to Step Up to Enable Ireland’s No Phone Survival Challenge | Enable Ireland

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Galway School the First to Step Up to Enable Ireland’s No Phone Survival Challenge

School children in uniforms put mobile phones into clear plastic box and hold up No Phones signs

It’s going to be one of Ireland’s biggest social experiments as addicted screen tapping teenagers are asked to give up their phones for 24 hours

The students at Merlin College/Coláiste Mhuirlinne in Galway City were out in force today to launch Enable Ireland’s NO PHONE SURVIVAL CHALLENGE to support children and adults with disabilities in their community.

They are the first school in the country to get behind Enable Ireland’s No Phone Survival Challenge, which will run for 24 hours, starting from Tuesday, October 24th at 12 noon, helping to raise much needed funds for Enable Ireland’s work.

The No Phone Survival Challenge could become one of Ireland’s biggest social experiments.  Ireland is pretty addicted to its phones.  As a snapshot, over 40% of 16-24 year olds claim to be connected during every waking hour, according to a recent Eir survey.  

According to Clare Lenehan, Enable Ireland’s Director of Services in Galway, it’s a challenge that will also raise awareness about how important Assistive Technology is in the lives of young people and adults with disabilities. ssistive technology opens up opportunities for children, young people and adults to participate in various aspects of life, be included socially and live more independent lives.

“By giving up their love affair with their phones, the students are not just pledging to raise vital funds,” Clare said, “They are putting the spotlight on the crucial power and impact that new technology has on the lives and independence of children and adults with disabilities.”

“Enable Ireland provides Assistive Technology to many young people and adults across the country.  This vital technology can support people with vision impairment or literacy challenges to read and write, it can give a voice to those who are non-speaking, or enable someone to live independently at home through the remote control of doors, windows and lights. AT can enable people to live more independent lives at home, in school and in the workplace.”

“People think that they can’t live without their phones but by giving up their snaps, messages, calls, emails, shares, likes and stories for just one full day they can help raise vital funds to help us support many more people for whom technology is not just a luxury but essential to their quality of life,” she continued. 

Two of the TY students at Merlin College, Shane Curran and Abby Smyth, are both thriving thanks to their use of Assistive Technology in and out of the classroom.   The students, who have Spina Bifida, have just received great results in their Junior Certificates and put their success down to their use of technology to make reading and writing easier.

Shane is a passionate sportsman. He has been a member of Galway Speeders for many years and is also a member of IWA Sport and Connacht GAA. Shane plays wheelchair basketball, hand cycling and wheelchair hurling to name a few, but excels in athletics where he regularly competes nationally in Discus, Shot Put and Javelin. He has previously competed in the IWAS Junior world games in Holland in 2015 and is due to compete in the same competition in Portugal later this year.

Abby uses her assistive technology to download and read through all of her coursework on screen.  As she says herself, the touch of a button is more important than a turn of the page for her learning.  She also uses it to keep in touch with friends and to organise her busy social life.  She is going to be one of the first to miss her 24/7 social media access when she gives up her phone too on October 24th.

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