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Seoda means 'gem' or precious stones and the Seoda programme run by the Sisters of Mercy, South Central Province, Ireland is certainly a precious opportunity.

Seoda is a ten month long programme for young people, preferably those finished college. It gives them an opportunity to reflect on their own lives while helping others. The programme involves outreach work and spiritual and personal development. It is based in Limerick and is now in its fourth year.

This year Seoda is involved with 'Doras Liumni' - the 'Development Organisation for Refugees and Asylum Seekers'; a local disadvantaged primary school; the 'Bedford Row Family Project'(co-sponsored by the Mercy Sisters and Franciscans); a hospitality service for those waiting to visit prisoners at Limerick jail and finally a Community Development Project.

Seoda encourages reflection and self development. This takes the form of a reflection period once a week and a weekend activity once a month such as an Art Therapy Course. Each worker has a mentor - a person outside the Seoda programme to talk with.

Much of the work involves voicing peoples' humanity and this enables the workers to find their own voices. Reaching out and being present to other people makes it necessary to discover a deeper self.

The Seoda programme offers a unique opportunity to help others while helping oneself. In better understanding ourselves we can better understand our fellow human beings.

Seoda is a challenging, rewarding and precious gift from the Sisters of Mercy to young people.

Seoda Story

My name is Regina. I worked as a Seoda Volunteer in 2002 in Limerick, Ireland. Doras Luimni was one of my work placements. There I worked with refugees and asylum seekers. I also worked with the Bedford Row family Project developing facilities for families of prisoners. In Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School I gave students quality creative time. All of these placements were different and challenged me in various ways.

Personal development is a very important part of Seoda. As a volunteer, Seoda encouraged me to aspire towards achieving a balance in my life. Activities such as Art Therapy, Communications and Meditation helped me address my needs.

I really enjoyed the new experiences and developing my gifts. We all have gifts. Seoda is a gift, a jewel, something precious for you.

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