Emma Gilchreest is the regional Programme Director, based in Maynooth University, for the MEND region College Connect programme.
She began her career in Zambia, addressing the barriers to girls accessing second level education at FAWEZA (Forum for African Women Educationalists of Zambia). During her time in Zambia she initiated the building of a SAFE house for girls who were experiencing danger walking to and from school every day. A community development approach to the project contributed to its success and the Zambian Ministry of General Education has now incorporated the SAFE house concept in the Revised National Education Policy.
Upon returning to Ireland Emma took up post of Managing Director with the Offaly Traveller Movement. Emma led the Movement through its most robust restructuring process of its history which has resulted in a thriving Traveller rights organisation today. Offaly Traveller Movement has many programmes responding to the needs of Travellers in; health, mental Health, men’s health, youth, education, enterprise etc. Most notably Emma co-designed and developed the Travelling to Wellbeing Service which was initially funded for a 3-year pilot and was then successively taken on by the HSE in 2016.
Emma holds a B.A in Humanities and a Masters in Equality Studies. She is passionate about human rights and access to meaningful and appropriate services.