Sustainability Story: Four Questions for Caroline Kuyper



Q1: Tell us about yourself, where in Donegal are you based and what things do like to do?

I live in Buncrana, Inishowen, Donegal. I like going for walks by the sea or anywhere else in nature, working in my garden, taking part in community activities, in particular creative ones like with Artlink, spending time with my grandchildren one afternoon a week, knit & crochet yarn bombs for change. Singing and reading.

I took part in the IMMA Eco Art Festival last October and I felt heartened by the many different creative approaches to ecological issues, how many people do care and do what they can, awareness raising, planting trees, rewilding, growing mushrooms, visioning the future, litter-picking etc. What is missing is urgent radical action by government and corporations and we need more truth telling by the mainstream media, whether that is highlighting the daily weather extremes in the wider context of rising CO2 or calling out Greenwashing etc.

Q2: What change making activities are you pursuing in your life at this time?

I grow some of my own food, I have a rainwater harvesting system (barrels) to water my garden, I use water in my house sparingly.

I compost my food waste.

I am learning about saving seeds and I give/share/swap them with folks in the area – seeds, seedlings and produce.

I am part of the Amach Anseo Community Garden at Dunree.

I use a bus whenever possible or walk to town, try use my car as little as possible, combine journeys & things to do when I do use the car. As I live up a hill, it’s about 25 minutes down, and 35 minutes up!

I pick up local litter regularly, sometimes as part of Buncrana Tidy Town Committee, sometimes on my own.

I sing in a local choir about climate change, biodiversity and social justice.

I co-set up Extinction Rebellion Donegal-Derry/Strabane and the Red Rebel XR Donegal group too.

I co-founded the Buncrana-Palestine solidarity group, regular stalls, info evenings & fundraisers and bulk buying Palestinian produce (olive oil, dates etc) yearly.

I am involved in the Inishowen against Goldmining campaign.

I am involved in the Action North Waste Campaign, about safe disposal of buried toxic waste dump at Bridgend and holding those responsible accountable.

I support the local organic farms (White Oaks and Bee Organic) buying their produce regularly when money permits.

I am involved with Derry Zero Waste as well as the Environmental Gathering in Derry.

I make yarn-bombs, (knit and crochet) to highlight ecological issues and raise awareness to hang in public spaces.

I am part of an informal group of people in the area that run occasional swap shops or passing on items of books, clothes and household items and ran a Repair café in the past etc. We are like a Transition Town collective.


Q3: How do you interact with ChangeMakers?

I did the original course at the start, then later did part of the facilitators course, I go to the seminars yearly and when possible, to workshops. I organised a zero waste training workshop, given by Rachel Dempsey, whom Changemakers had used.

They are ‘my tribe’, people who care about social and ecological justice, about human rights, global and local etc. I have learned a lot, been challenged, stimulated and encouraged.

Q4: What conversations would you like to pursue with the wider ChangeMakers community?

  1. Political economy: We need to name and understand the ideological economic model of neoliberalism – that harms planet and people- and increases inequality, in order to effectively challenge it. I know Trademark in Belfast run courses on it. Further info:
  2. Doughnut Economics. I took part in a workshop at IMMA on this alternative economic model, staying within ecological and social limits. The Irish Doughnut Economics Network offer training/workshops, I spoke to a woman, Mary from Transition Kerry, and Roisin from Wexford Environmental Network. Further info:
  3. We need to talk about local turf cutting! How it is a tradition and ‘free’, which matters to a largely poor population in rural Donegal, but how it’s costing the future in reality. How folk need to be fully supported to insulate their houses better (government aid) and use more sustainable alternative sources of fuel & value the bogs for the vital carbon sink it is!
  4. Wind-power/water power: Not the corporate profit-driven huge models, but smaller scale community owned and managed, not on the bogs (Meenabog landslide) etc.
  5. Tree-planting – yes, but native and varied. Not Sitka spruce monoculture plantations, laden with pesticides, as they are ecological dead zones.




Hope for a Home: A Story Exchange Workshop for Women

A story exchange to share stories about home for women living in Direct Provision in Donegal.

What makes a home?

What are your hopes for the future?

You are all welcome to join us for a story exchange and discussion workshop facilitated by Francine Blaché-Breen and Eve Li.

Here, we will look at the topic of home as a local, national and global issue to raise understanding, awareness and empathy as global citizens.

Exact location in Ballybofey to be announced, places limited to 6 to 8 people.

Registration link

‘Machines’ screening at Disappear Here Film Club in June


📌 Our May Film Club screening is the exceptional ‘Machines’ directed by Rahul Jain, a portrait of the daily life of the workers in an Indian textile factory, revealing its beauty as well as its shameful working conditions. 🎦

May 6th 7.30pm The Market House, Clonmany. Admission is €7.50 🎟️

Many thanks to Clonmany Community Centre for providing this wonderful venue.

As usual, our club is brought to you with our partners at Change Makers Donegal & Concern Worldwide 🌍

This is another one not to miss. ✅



Leave No Trace is the April Film Club Film

🎥Our monthly Film Club in association with the Disappear Here Film Festival and funder, Concern Worldwide, is back. Change makers are invited to attend our screening of Leave No Trace on Saturday 8 April at 7.30pm in Clonmany at The Market House, Clonmany. Admission is €7.50 and you don’t need to book in advance.

Post Show Discussion

For the post show discussion, we will have a special guest speake,r Eric Ede from Disappear Here Film Festival’s sister festival Black Rock City Film Festival, at Burning Man in Nevada, USA. Leave no Trace is one of the 10 principles of Burning Man and we will open the floor to questions afterwards.

What is this month’s feature film about?

Will (Ben Foster) and his teenage daughter, Tom (Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie), have lived off the grid for years in the forests of Portland, Oregon. When their idyllic life is shattered, both are put into social services. After clashing with their new surroundings, Will and Tom set off on a harrowing journey back to their wild homeland.

The film is directed by Debra Granik from a script adapted by Granik and Anne Rosellini and based on the novel My Abandonment by Peter Rock.



Film Club Update

For this year’s Club, we have changed the day to Saturdays (usually the first Saturday of every month) and we have changed the format to include feature films on important topics (such as housing) and documentaries, we will retain the post-show discussion.

Thank you to everyone who took part in our March Film Club during which we presented Black Gold, Wake Up and Smell the Coffee followed by a great post-show discussion about all things Fairtrade.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Celebrate #Fairtrade Fortnight in Donegal


THREE INISHOWEN towns are aiming to secure Fairtrade status ahead of Fairtrade Fortnight 2023.

Buncrana is currently in the running to be named Inishowen’s third Inishowen town [Carndonagh and Moville have already received the prestigious title], with Ballyliffin and Clonmany setting their sights on ‘Fairtrade Community’ status.

As part of the campaign, ChangeMakers Donegal has been working with volunteers in the local communities and is now inviting Inishowen shoppers to buy fair trade products this February during Fairtrade Fortnight which runs from 27 February to 12 March.

Myra McAuliffe, Project Coordinator with ChangeMakers explains how encouraging people to buy Fairtrade products, such as tea, coffee, bananas, chocolate and even flowers and cotton with the Fairtrade mark can make a difference.

“Most of us enjoy a cup of tea or coffee but did you know everyday items such as these provide an opportunity to act in solidarity with the people who produce the goods?” explained Myra.

“The Fairtrade movement works with farming co-operatives, businesses, and governments to make trade fair for farmers and workers. It provides safer working conditions and fairer pay while for shoppers it means high quality, ethically produced products.”

To support the Buncrana efforts, ChangeMakers are inviting Ugandan Tea Farmer Innocent Owomuhangi to Inishowen to speak to the community about how important it is to them that we buy Fairtrade items where possible.

The first of these events will take place on Monday 6 March at 1pm in the Exchange Buncrana. This is a public event and everyone is invited to come along and listen what Innocent has to say and how local people’s shopping choices make a difference to the people in his community in Uganda.

Buncrana councillor Jack Murray, who is also chairperson of the Fairtrade Buncrana committee said they have small changes within the council, ensuring that fairtrade tea and coffee is available in all Donegal County Council buildings. It will also be available in local restaurants and cafes, where possible.

“This Fairtrade Fortnight we encourage Inishowen people to buy Fairtrade,” said Cllr. Murray.

“We look forward to welcoming Innocent Owomuhangi from Uganda to Inishowen for events in Buncrana and Clonmany.

“Everyone in the community; whether you are a shopper, a chef or business owner, is welcome to come and meet Innocent who is a worker on the Kayonza Growers Tea Factory Limited in Uganda and an Ambassador for Fairtrade International.”

Cllr. Murray added: “While buying Fairtrade is an act of solidarity with people in places like Africa and Colombia, it is also another step towards being a sustainable region.”

Meanwhile other Inishowen events as part of the Fairtrade fortnight include:

  • On Sunday 5 March at 7:30pm, the monthly Disappear Here Film Club is back with a climate change themed film planned and a post film community discussion with Innocent Owomuhangi, Fairtrade International Ambassador.
  • Carndonagh residents can attend the Carndonagh Fairtrade Coffee Morning, in association with Spraoi agus Sport Mother and Toddler Group on Saturday 4 March at 11am.
  • Fairtrade Dunfanaghy are organising a Fairtrade Coffee morning on Thursday 9 March, location and time to follow on our social media pages.


Local Schools to embrace Fairtrade

Local schools are also getting behind the campaign; Crana College in Buncrana is applying for status as a Fairtrade School. Its students will present a stall at SuperValu Buncrana showcasing Fairtrade products and they will partake in an education workshop with ChangeMakers Donegal, the Irish Aid funded community project, which champions the cause to think global and act local in Donegal. Primary school students at Scoil Phadraig, Rasheeny, will learn about Fairtrade too in a workshop with Patsy Toland of ChangeMakers Donegal and WorldWise Global Schools.

For more information and resources visit & or contact



Donegal Businesses; Start Your Sustainability Journey Today

Donegal Businesses; Start Your Sustainability Journey Today

Sustainability for Everyone – start your journey today and gain your passport to a better tomorrow.

ChangeMakers is looking for six local businesses in Donegal to take part in our new certified Sustainability Passport programme.

What is it?

A certified, guided, free programme designed to help businesses take more sustainable actions in their workplaces and communities.

Made up of five ‘how to’ guides providing key facts and figures, suggested actions and their measurable impacts, and an online link to resources across five routes:

Route 1.          Water and Energy

Route 2.          Reusing and Recycling

Route 3.          Ethical and Responsible consumption

Route 4.          Biodiversity and Gardening

Route 5.          Equality and Inclusion in our communities







How Does It Work?

Embark on your Sustainability Passport journey in three easy steps:

Step 1 ­- Attend an engaging and informative ‘how to’ webinar for Social Enterprises (time to be decided in consultation with the local businesses that sign up).

Step 2 – Consult with a designated mentor who will guide you on your chosen route and what actions to take.

For example, if your chosen route is Water & Energy, then you could take simple actions such as adjusting eco setting on appliances to power-saving mode, installing sensors and timers throughout your premises and switching to LED lighting to reduce usage, decrease emissions and save money.

Step 3 – Share your actions (via an ‘easy to use’ online platform) to gain certification, while creating a resource of local-based knowledge, tips and learning that helps your whole community progress along their sustainability journey, with local and global benefits.

To start your Sustainability Passport journey today and ensure a better tomorrow for you and your community, click on the SIGN UP button below to contact Kate at ChangeMakers Donegal.

Sign Up

Celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight with a Coffee Farmer from Honduras

Fairtrade Fortnight is 27 February to 12 March this year.

Celebrate Fairtrade in Inishowen with a special event featuring Jose Daniel Aguilar, a coffee farmer/coop manager from Honduras, who will speak to the local community about how our choices impact the lives of many.


Where: The Exchange Inishowen Buncrana.

Date: Monday 6 March 2023 at 1pm.

Grab a Fairtrade Coffee on your lunchbreak.

All welcome.




Home: The Bookless Bookclub Series presented by ChangeMakers Donegal

The Bookless Bookclub Series: Let’s talk about Home 

ChangeMakers Donegal presents a new Bookless Bookclub Series on the theme of Home, Homeless and the Global Refugee Crisis.

Over four evening workshops, on Zoom, join ChangeMakers Donegal’s Francine Blache Breen and Annette Patton to talk about home. Using poetry, art and film to discuss important topics that matter in our collective lives today, we create a space to talk, learn and reflect with like-minded people.

Be inspired, be informed, to take action as a global citizen in your local community today.

We ask that you sign up to all four workshops at Eventbrite. Taking place across four consecutive Wednesday evenings, the dates are:

  • Wednesday 22 February, 7pm-9pm on Zoom
  • Wednesday 1 March, 7pm-9pm on Zoom
  • Wednesday 8 March, 7pm-9pm on Zoom
  • Wednesday 15 March, 7pm-9pm on Zoom


All welcome. Sign up to the Bookclub with no books today.

Notes from Cloughaneely – Excerpts from past work by Eve Li ahead of the Stories of a Home workshop in Donegal

Originally from London, Eve lives in the Donegal Gaeltacht. In her recent works, Eve has worked with stories, photographs, even recipes, to create immersive experiences that communicate themes of home, emigration, and immigration. Currently her exhibition, The Bridge of Tears is on display at An Grianán Theatre, Letterkenny Co. Donegal. The exhibition features her co-facilitator for an up-coming ChangeMakers Donegal workshop, Francine Blaché-Breen.

About Stories of a Home

Now, Eve is collaborating with ChangeMakers Donegal, a community project specialising in Global Citizenship education for adults funded by Irish Aid, and Facilitator and Community Worker, Francine Blaché-Breen to create a new workshop centred around the theme of home. In this workshop, Eve’s input will feature a story exchange where participants are paired and share a story with eachother and then come back together as a group and share their partner’s story as if it were their own.

Bring Your Story

Participants will be asked to share a story or experience of home which they are comfortable sharing. Ideally, people would jot that down in advance of the workshop.

Francine Blaché-Breen will open the workshop talking about housing as a human right, looking at this issue of MICA and its ripple-effect as a social justice issue. Taking a global view, Francine will talk about similar scenarios around the world and the role of the Government and the regulators. This informative, educational, creative, participatory workshop will create a safe space to relate to each-other and others around the world. Pre-registration is essential, see booking link below.

Notes from Cloughaneely

Eve Li sent ChangeMakers some notes and photos of past work. Here, we share some excerpts of other past works of Eve’s to give people a glimpse into her practice ahead of the new ChangeMakers Donegal Stories of a Home workshop on Wednesday 30 November 2022 at 7pm – 8:30pm. At Stories of a Home which was especially created for MICA Week 2022, participants will be invited to bring a story about their home with them to Greencastle Community Centre. With an intimate group, we will create a safe space for people to reflect on the true meaning of home. The workshop was inspired by the MICA Week but of course people don’t have to talk about MICA specifically, rather, about what home means. Our intention is that this will create a supportive space for local people.

The Bus Stop

My bus stop installation in Killult about missing things from ‘home’ (London) which was the transport system for this installation:  When I first moved here, to Cloughaneely, I moved from London. I had lived there all my life. It was a big change. I couldn’t drive and I lived on farmland. I was isolated and cut off from the rest of the world. So, I lost the independence I had of moving about freely the way I did back home in London. And, where this piece is (Killult main road), it is where the buses stop. But, buses are not frequent here in rural Donegal (or anywhere rural!). So, in the days I couldn’t drive (which was too many years!) I would look out the window here and wish and imagine there’d be something like the London bus and tube service here. Where there are frequent buses every 6-8 minutes. So, if you miss one bus, there’s always the next bus. And, 24 hour buses! I missed the 24 hour buses I would take to get home after a night out. The buses go everywhere in London wherever you live. After 15 years here, I could still tell you which number bus to take to where in London. And, wouldn’t it be lovely to have trains in Donegal? I know there were trains once upon a time here but they are long gone. Wouldn’t it be lovely if we had a rail service up here again? Maybe, an express train from here to Belfast or Dublin!


A Letter from Grace

The Woman’s Group in Pobal Earrasch in Falcarragh where I went to speak about my Bridge of Tears project to ask people’s experiences of emigration.  One woman Grace shared her experiences with the group and wrote about her parent’s experiences and her own experiences in this ‘letter’ on paper.

Her community theatre project (an immersive theatre experience),The Bridge of Tears-The Stories of Asylum Seekers, Refugees and Immigrants with An Grianán Theatre, launched on Culture Night Donegal 2022 and the installation is open to the public until December of this year. This immersive experience explores the experiences of Irish immigrants abroad and the experiences of asylum seekers, refugees and immigrants who live in Donegal and Ireland. Opening hours there are 9.30 – 3.30 PM Monday to Friday.



This picture was part of the Motherhood Theatre Workshop 2022 I facilitated.  As part of the storytelling and helping to write their stories for sharing and performing, participants were given canvas boards to express their stories of Motherhood through drawings. For this exercise, some also wrote their first paragraphs of their monologues in prose, poetry, and song.  This participant who now lives in Direct Provision drew a picture of her home in South Africa and her children in front of it where her motherhood journey started.

ChangeMakers Donegal’s Stories of a Home Workshop Booking

🕖 Wednesday 30 November 2022 at 7pm – 8:30pm at Greencastle Community Centre, Donegal.

Pre-registration via Eventbrite is necessary, so participants can receive guidance before the workshop, to reserve your space visit:

For more about ChangeMakers Donegal and our exploration of social, economic and environmental issues, visit




Soil & Soul: The Only Difference is U and I: A World Soil Day Celebration

Join Joanne Butler of ChangeMakers & OURganic Gardens and Gráinne O’Neill of ChangeMakers and Síolta Chroí on World Soil Day 2022.


What can I expect?

A safe space to:

•Explore how we can reconnect with soil in our daily lives in Donegal;

•Look at the practicalities of soil health, with the option to get soil tested if you wish;

•Make the connection between soil health and wider nature restoration by learning about gut health and soil health;

•Think about connecting with soil and the land as healing for mental health and generational healing when it comes to themes of colonialism, capitalism and modern soil management techniques;

•Reflect on the importance of soil in the context of the global challenge of climate change, learning how working the soil can mitigate the excess of carbon in the atmosphere.

According to the United Nations:

•95% of the food we eat comes from soil;

•About 1/3 of our soils are already degraded;

•Over the last 70 years, the level of vitamins and nutrients in food has drastically decreased;

•Globally, over 2 billion people are affected by hidden hunger or micronutrient deficiency



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