Ukrainian refugees are to be offered employment and training help at an iconic Dublin café – which is also putting ‘Red Cross Buns’ on its menu to aid the humanitarian effort.
Bewley’s Café in Grafton Street will be selling the pastries in place of its usual hot cross variety until Easter, with all proceeds going to the Irish Red Cross.
Coupled with the fundraising drive, the café is bringing in interpreters to provide a practical welcome and employment advice and training service to new arrivals fleeing the war in their homeland, in support of the Irish Red Cross.
“We want the café to be a place where people can start their Irish journey, in the same way as so many before them,” said General Manager, Donna O’Leary.
“There is a real need for interpreters in the current crisis, and we have established a team of two Ukrainian speakers at the café to help to guide people who need an introduction to services or help with employment.
“This is not just about Bewley’s – we also want to help to connect people with other potential employers and services.
“We want to work with people to help them get into suitable employment, utilising our vast network as a leader in the coffee industry.
“Within Bewley’s we have available roles in our bakery and head office, from entry level positions to skills such as baristas, sales and engineering and we offer internationally recognised training.”
Interpreters Oksana Karbiwska and her daughter Kamilia are Ukrainian nationals settled in Ireland – and eager to help their compatriots.
“We are here to help, to reassure people, and to be a friendly face in a new country,” said Oksana, 42, who is from Lviv and left Ukraine when she was 19.
“We are delighted to do something practical as it has been difficult being in Ireland and feeling helpless while our fellow Ukrainians suffered.”
The Bewley family came to Ireland as refugees and the business, founded on Quaker principles, has been helping Ireland’s new arrivals since 1840.
“We are following in the tradition of Victor Bewley who, in 1956, reached out and employed and trained people who had fled Hungary on foot following the uprising – some of whom designed and baked the Café’s most iconic offerings,” said Ms O’Leary.
“We will always continue to reach out the hand of friendship and be a home for new arrivals from all over the world.”
The Irish Red Cross has been working with Bewley’s to establish practical needs on the ground.
“This is a good response to the current situation – part fundraising and part practical. There is a real need for displaced people to feel welcomed in their own tongue and to gain access to advice and employment opportunities,” said Liam O’Dwyer, Secretary General of the Irish Red Cross.
Bewley’s Red Cross Buns will retail for €4 each, or €20 for a box of six, with all proceeds going to the aid agency.