In 1988, at the age of 19, Mirjam came from the Netherlands to Cork Simon to volunteer for nine months. The experience had a lasting impact on her and changed her life’s trajectory. 33 years later she's still in Ireland, her home, and still feels connected to Cork Simon.

"That time in Cork, I felt a sense of community. I felt extremely at home, I really felt a sense of belonging. I still have lifelong friends from that time. It's a very happy memory, you know.
And it really shaped my life as well, and the choices I made. I'm working in mental health services now, as an artist, and I'm sharing the empowerment art has.
I think, what I realise from when I was in Cork, I think I realised my own strengths and how I could carry them through in life. I found a purpose in myself, it cemented in myself the direction I wanted to go with my life.
And I think the biggest thing is that I'm still here in Ireland. I think that’s it, you know - a sense of home; feeling at home in a country, feeling at home with where I wanted to go in life. So I'm very thankful for having had that experience."

Mirjam reflects on Irish society and the experiences of the service users she met at Cork Simon in the late 80’s ...