The History in Ireland

For many years the Tiglin Challenge outreach team served men and women affected by homelessness, drug and alcohol addiction on the streets of Dublin. In response to some of these needs the Teen Challenge women’s home opened its doors in 2004. It was named ‘Teach Shechem’; ‘Teach’ being the Irish word for ‘house’ and ‘Shechem’ meaning ‘Shoulder’ and it was an important city in biblical times. The women’s home was named ‘Teach Shechem’, meaning a house with a shoulder to lean on.

It was a centre for women (18 years and over) who struggle with drug and alcohol problems and for people in need of life skills training. The programme is a faith based Christian programme with a model of complete abstinence. The women enjoy a range of taught modules in horticulture, cookery lessons, money management skills and crafts. Counselling includes one to one sessions every week with our counsellor Marie Redmond and group work once a week with psychologist Gillian McCutcheon. Classes are based on the Teen challenge 14 studies which include ‘How to deal with Temptation’, ‘Anger and Personal Rights’, ‘Attitudes’, ‘Love and Accepting Myself’ etc.

The programme was 16 months in total, 10 months in ‘Teach Shechem’ and 6 months in our re-entry house in Newbridge. The programme has now moved to ‘An Oige’ in Tiglin. There are 4 phases to the programme, each phase bringing more responsibilities and more privileges. Phase 3 tries to help the women gain work placements and/ or courses for when they progress to phase 4 and the re-entry house. This gives the women time to re-adjust into the community while still having the support of the staff.

Presently the centre can accommodate 12 women; previously 8 women could be accommodated in Shechem House. The vision for the future is to provide a facility whereby women who have children can come into treatment with their children and not be separated from them during their programme.

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