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Dublin: 10 °C Tuesday 22 May, 2018
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Older people in Ireland are getting lovely Christmas cards made by Thai kids and their Irish teacher

They’re sending the cards to the charity Age Action, who will distribute them to the older people using their services. Aww.

CHRISTMAS CAN BE a lonely time for many people – but this Irish teacher working halfway across the world is hoping to provide a little bit of comfort.

20161216_154303 Source: Jolene Sweeney

Jolene Sweeney from Gweedore in Co Donegal has been living in Thailand for almost five years now – she’s currently teaching English to primary level students in the town of Chumphon.

This year, for the second year in a row, she has asked her students to make Christmas cards to send back to older people in Ireland, especially those who may not ordinarily get many cards.

20161213_095042 Source: Jolene Sweeney

Sweeney told DailyEdge.ie that she was inspired to start the project last year after reading about James Grey, an elderly Irish man living in London who received thousands of cards after placing a newspaper ad asking for someone to spend Christmas with him.

She enlisted the help of other teachers to explain the project to the students, who were “really excited” to take part:

It seemed like a great learning experience for the students and a nice surprise/gesture for some of the elderly back home.

20161213_150347 Source: Jolene Sweeney

Sweeney decided to send the cards to the charity Age Action, who were only delighted to give them to the older people using their services.

She asked this year’s class to do the same and they were extremely enthusiastic, getting their first drafts done “within the hour”:

Unfortunately for the students our school had been closed for a few days due to flooding, and that meant they didn’t have a lot of time. But in the end they all wrote a card or letter addressed to ‘my new friend in Ireland’. They really are great kids. Really kind and generous.

The cards have been sent off to Ireland, where once again Age Action will distribute them to those who might need a bit cheering up at this time of year.

15515552_10207698261362439_1851780823_o Source: Jolene Sweeney

20161213_110028 Source: Jolene Sweeney

They’re doing their bit locally, too – Sweeney and her co-teacher have matched the money left over from postage and donated it to a home for the elderly in Chumphon.

She says she hopes her project will inspire other people to look out for the older people in their lives at Christmas time:

All my students and I really hope our wee project this year will encourage others to do something similar around Christmas or throughout the year, or even better – get in contact with your local charities and donate or volunteer.

Wonderful. You can find out more about Age Action and donate here.

20161216_100241 Source: Jolene Sweeney

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