The GAA 'really made me feel part of the area' says Sayeh
(Above) Boidu Sayeh is action for Westmeath.
Westmeath footballer Boidu Sayeh says that being a member of Rosemount GAA Club played a major role in helping him settle in Ireland.
GAA Ambassador Sayeh moved to to rural Westmeath in 2004 from Liberia. Speaking in Croke Park at the recent launch of the GAA's first National Inclusion Fitness Day, which takes place on September 23, he said that joining his local club was a seminal moment in his life.
“It was great. I had great role models like John Keane. He's winning two All Stars and you are looking up at that. I didn't have anyone else my own colour to look up to, but the community was so close and they really made me feel that I was part of that area and part of them. It helped me big time,” he said.
The GAA is currently rolling out Responding to Racism workshops around the country. Sayeh says that educating people is vitally important in the fight against bigotry.
“I think education is so key. The kids are going to be the future of Ireland and they are going to be the role models coming up. To educate them and for them to come home and educate their own parents it's going to be so key. That's what we want to happen in the GAA and that's we are hoping to happen in Ireland as well.
“The GAA is a huge community in Ireland. It's the biggest sport in Ireland and for them to have that inclusiveness with different people and different cultures it's going to be big for Ireland as well,” he said.
The GAA's Diversity and Inclusion officer Ger McTavish says that it's important that as many clubs as possible register to participate in the National Inclusive Fitness Day.
“Inclusion is about making a difference. Inclusivity is a movement, a move to include. Being truly inclusive is living our GAA motto, ‘Where we all Belong’.
“This work takes many forms. It ranges from ensuring that our policies and practices support the cultural integration and social inclusion of people from across Ireland’s diverse ethnic population, to making sure that all Gaelic games are adapted for people with different abilities,” he said.
Clubs must register online before September 9. To register go to https://www.gaa.ie/nationalinclusionday