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Students create games about changing the world

17 May 2019

Winners of the 2019 Trócaire Game Changers competition included board games, card games and video games

Winners in the Youth category, David O’Dwyer and Tom Laffey from Youth Work Ireland Tipperary – Cashel Neighbourhood Youth Project, show their game ‘SDGs and me’. Photo : Garry Walsh.

There was incredible energy at the final of the Trócaire Game Changers Competition this week at the Helix in DCU, Dublin. Giant dice were being thrown, cards were being dealt, and tablets were being tapped.

Young people from across Ireland were trying out the games of fellow finalists which explored issues such as human rights, the hazardous journeys of refugees and the challenges of delivering aid to countries affected by poverty.
Trócaire Game Changers is a competition for young people who want to change the world and believe games are a way to do this. On this first year of Game Changers, over 80 games were entered into the competition from Primary and Post-Primary schools, and Youth groups.

22 games made it through to the final, and the Trócaire judges were blown away by the quality and creativity of the games that made it in to the final. The final prize winners on the day were chosen by the other finalists themselves. Every group got to play all the other games and then voted on their favourites.

Loreto Secondary School, Balbriggan were winners in the Post-Primary category as well as overall winners of the Game Changers event by popular vote with their game ‘The Hunt for Human Rights’. Eve Mathews, Molly Egan, Jaia Kavanagh, Laura Masterson, Ellen Kearney, Lucy Edgeworth and Willemijn Bosscheart show their game. Photo : Garry Walsh.

Síofra Manning and Mia Conlon from Holy Child Killiney show their game 'The Real Game of Life' which was runner up in the post-primary category. Photo : Garry Walsh

John Conroy, PJ Mongan, and Cian O’Donovan from Foróige Ballybane, Galway together with youth worker Eddie Quinn. They were runners up in the Youth category with their game ‘Survivalist Pro’. Photo : Garry Walsh.

St John of the Apostles National School, Knocknacarra in Galway were winners in the Primary category with their game 'Around the World’. Alex Clohessy, Jack Faherty, Nathan Hopkins and Kyle Jordan accept their award from Trócaire's John Smith. Photo : Garry Walsh

Scoil Chroí Íosa from Galway were runners up in the Primary category with their game 'Refugee run'. Rosalita Myers, Aleksandra Rydzewska, and Leanne Clarke accept their award from Trócaire's John Smith. Photo : Garry Walsh

Eric Eduardo from Gort Community School, Co. Galway shows the video game they developed called ‘Know Your Ps’. Photo : Garry Walsh.

Young people have power

Trócaire CEO Caoimhe de Barra told all the assembled finalists not to underestimate the power that young people have. "You have power – never forget that" she said, adding that "you have a voice, you have rights, you can create change. The biggest changes happen when people work together".  

Caoimhe raised the Climate School Strikes in Ireland as a great example of how young people can achieve change. "The Irish Government declared a Climate Emergency in the Dáil last Thursday" she said. "Do you think they would have done this without the Climate Strikes and young people raising their voices?"

"We hope that the people who play your games will be inspired to think about the issues you are focusing on and that they will take action. They might ask their parents to raise issues about global justice with the election candidates when they come to your door for example. They might look at what they can do to reduce the impact of climate change or to help make the world a fairer place for all people". 

Caoimhe ended the day saying "I warmly congratulate all of you – young people and educators  - on your work and I want to thank you for putting your energy and passion behind these important issues of global justice that you are highlighting here today".

Trócaire CEO Caoimhe de Barra speaks to the finalists. Photo : Garry Walsh

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