I Hope You Grow: Homeless children write moving book about their experience

The current homeless crisis has left 3,829 children without homes across the country.

Thousands of Irish youth feel as though they have lost everything, but Focus Ireland has reminded them that they still have the power to make their voice heard.

Partnering with Kids’ Own publishers, the nonprofit organisation wanted to make sure that these young people could share their story across the nation and help make a difference for other families in their shoes.

They set up a series of workshops in Dublin, gathering each individual’s story as they wished to express it and created a book titled I Hope You Grow.

This book – which aims to reach an audience of children all over Ireland – contains a blend of poetry, stories, artwork and photography by the children.

Mary Branley and visual artist Maree Hensey worked with the group of children, all of whom are experiencing homelessness, supporting them to develop the work for this special publication.

The children opened up and described their experience in moving words, drawings, and photos.

Child's drawing from book

Amir, eight-years-old, said: “The park was near where we lived but we had to move. The guy was selling the house so we all had to move. It was like a piece of glass shattering.

“It’s sad and you feel like you might not see your cousins again. All day you don’t get time to rest, you have to pack and pack and pack. I had no idea where I was going.”

Recent Focus Ireland figures for Dublin show that three families became homeless every single day in September - a total of 88 families with 193 children.

Focus Ireland Services Manager, Roisín McDonnell explained: “While we celebrate the diversity and individuality of children, this project brought together a group of children who had one thing in common: they have all lived in temporary accommodation.

Child's photo from book

“This gave them a shared understanding of each other’s lives and a commonality which created a support system for one another.

"These junior artists, writers and poets knew that this book would help other children who were living in temporary accommodation not to feel alone and to help them look for some of the good things that were happening in their lives.” 

You can purchase the book on Kids’ Own’s website. Half of all proceeds will be donated towards helping homeless children and families.