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Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity
Michaela Rafferty AFSEE

Michaela Rafferty

Youth Engagement and Campaigns Organiser, Just for Kids Law

Michaela is a youth worker and an activist who currently works as a Youth Engagement and Campaigns Organiser at Just for Kids Law, having joined the organisation in 2020 as Young People’s Development Worker (School Exclusions). In her work, she engages with young people who have been excluded from mainstream education to enable them to become social action leaders in transforming the use of school exclusions and advocating for a more inclusive education system.

Before joining the AFSEE programme, Michaela was a Community Youth Worker in Belfast working on peace and reconciliation, personal development and active citizenship programmes. Over the course of her career, she has been working tirelessly to highlight and find ways to tackle the inequalities that young people face on a daily basis.

At home in Belfast, most of her work has been with unemployed young adults from either side of the North of Ireland’s community divide. At Springboard Opportunities, she ran personal development training programmes for young people facing barriers to education and employment as a result of poverty, homelessness, drug use and mental health difficulties. She has been part of a Right to Work: Right to Welfare activist group and a housing campaign group, and started a Youth Right to Welfare group that trains young people on a human rights approach to challenging welfare reform.

Michaela has also worked internationally in grassroots projects aimed at creating positive change for marginalised communities. She was part of a women’s empowerment project in Tajikistan that helped women develop the skills to create startup businesses, in a country with a high number of female-led households. She developed a youth rights project in the West Bank in Palestine, working with young people from refugee camps to educate them on their rights and capture their stories of life under occupation. She worked in refugee camps across Greece, creating services to cater for the gap in provision for refugees entering Europe.

Michaela holds an undergraduate degree in Community Youth Work from the University of Ulster and a MSc in Inequalities and Social Science from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

The young people I work with give me hope every day. Their resilience and determination to get through the toughest of challenges in the hope that things will get better gives me the ability to believe that the next generation will ensure that positive change is coming, because they are creating it.

Michaela Rafferty


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