Eight winners including a first appointee to the Oireachtas, an Institutional redress campaigner, an inspirational student, a TV musical finalist, a 16-year old multi titled boxer, a female youth leader, a women's drama group and a suicide and mental health activist, were honored at the annual Traveller Pride Awards in the Pillar Room, Dublin, last week.
From Ballinrobe, Nikita Maughan won the award for Youth. Nikita, who is 16-years-old made a positive contribution to her community, setting up a Traveller girls’ group, the first in Ballinrobe, to empower young women by helping to increase their self-esteem and confidence.
Picking up her award she said: "It’s a very proud moment to be chosen among others for this award. I'm glad all my hard work has been recognised by The Traveller Pride award. It's an honour and a great achievement for me as it's the only girl group that has been set up."
The Irish Traveller Movement is the coordinator of the event which is jointly supported by eight Traveller organisations. Speaking at the opening of the ceremony, Michael Power of the Event Committee said: "Each year we examine the value of these awards to the community and beyond and return to the essential need of a dedicated space to showcase and single out Travellers individually who are not just excelling or trailblazing across a myriad of environments, but many doing so despite gender or intersectional inequalities, sometimes educational disadvantage and mostly against a backdrop of racism based on their Traveller identity.
"This makes their achievement more remarkable, this event also emphasizes the need to ensure greater inclusion where Travellers can have parity in Irish life in all its parts, social, cultural and political and fundamental protection in health, housing, employment and education."