In 2012, in the midst of the recession, Suzanne Roche experienced the financial hardship of sending four children back to school, and she reached out to her community for assistance. After being inundated with a wave of generosity, Suzanne offered her surplus of books and uniforms to her friends and neighbors, and she quickly realized that the difficulty of paying for school necessities was a common one. With this realization, Limerick’s Gateway to Education was born. Suzanne continued to collect donated book and uniforms and sold them at deeply discounted prices to alleviate the hardship of paying for education. In the next five years, she moved her shop from a shed in her backyard to a location on O’Connell Street and finally to its current site on Wickham Street in Limerick City Centre.
As time went by, Suzanne also began to receive donations of clothing, novels, and household supplies, and she sold these too in order to maintain the shop. One day, a local mum walked into the shop and shared her concerns about her daughter’s education—the woman couldn’t read or write, and she was unable to pay for anyone else to help with her daughter’s schoolwork. Suzanne immediately saw an opportunity to help the Limerick community in another way, and she formed the Homework Club(now the Fun Learning Club), where volunteers from the University of Limerick tutor children who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford the help.
We at Limerick’s Gateway to Education know that our role promoting education in Limerick is a worthwhile and important one, and we continue to strive to make education accessible for all.