Isabel Galetx is from Pamplona in the Basque region of Spain. In 2016 she relocated to Ireland with her husband Biktor and 2 sons and is now living in Bagenalstown. Her younger son Oihan has successfully started in St Brigid’s Boys National School and her older son Ekai in the Vocational School and she has been amazed as to how quickly they have adapted to the life here and nearly speak English like a native. “They are embarrassed of my English” she laughingly says. “When they bring friends home and I try to interact with them, they tell me to be quiet, as I have such a strong Spanish accent”. The boys quickly made friends on the estate where the family is living: “There is a football net on the green in front of the house. On the first day they were shy, but once they went out and joined in they were quickly welcomed by the other players

Isabel got in touch with Failte Isteach in January and has been a regular ever since in the group that meets in Oak Park Community Center every Monday at 6.  She also attends the small group that has started to meet recently in Bagenalstown Family Resource Centre. One aspect she really enjoys about the classes is the big mix of nationalities. “I am really happy to meet with all the different nationalities” she says. “At home we would not have had the opportunity to meet as many different nations as here in Carlow. I like to meet new people so I am really happy with this“. She pays tribute to Sandra, the Co-ordinator and all the tutors in the way they have made her feel so welcome from the first day. She has been inspired by the whole model and thinks that it would be great to see something similar set up in her native Spain.

Failte Isteach is a simple,  friendly,  way of promoting greater inclusion and participation in our local communities. It has the extra aspect of providing opportunities for volunteers to contribute to their communities and engage actively in society. The energy and warmth in the groups are palpable on Monday evenings and Friday mornings in Carlow and on Thursday evenings in Tullow. Feel free to drop in or get in touch if you would like to take part and do something really worthwhile.