"This is a whole, much bigger issue that's a hidden crime; it's forced labour, forced marriage, domestic servitude, it's people not being paid correctly, it's the 2004 Chinese cockle pickers that died in Morecambe Bay."
A launch date for the podcast has yet to be announced, but judging by how important the discussion around modern slavery currently is, she'll have plenty of listeners.
Temple Street Children's University Hospital has claimed that a shocking 842 children who were attending its Emergency Department in 2018 were living in emergency accomodation, or didn't have a fixed address.
This means that there has been a 29 percent increase in the amount of patients who are being discharged into homelessness in Dublin, and one-quarter of the children were under one year old.
In 2017, the number of children discharged from ED who had no fixed address was 651.
The majority children last year presented with medical ailments such as chest infections, seizures, asthma, high temperatures and vomiting.
On the other side, 23 percent of children presented with trauma such as head lacerations, burns, self-harm and hand and arm injuries.
In the final three months of 2018 alone, 260 children attended Temple Street's Emergency Department without a fixed address.
Head Medical Social Worker at Temple Street, Anne-Marie Jones commented on the situation, condemning it as "shameful";
She said: "When these children leave our ED, they stay in temporary accommodation with cramped conditions and no appropriate cooking, washing or play facilities."
She added; "This results in accidents or traumas that wouldn’t normally happen if these families were housed in a family home.”
Dr Ike Okafor, Emergency Medicine Consultant , meanwhile, argued that children's recovery is massively affected by their living situation.
Dr Okafor claims that; "There are children where you do what you can do in hospital, and then you hope they'll go home and recover."
"But these accommodations aren't conducive for recovery for some of the conditions – so they're not the ideal," he said.
He described cases of children undergoing surgery and then having nowhere to go from there, as well as incidents involving children being assaulted trying to find accommodation.
The most recent official homeless figures from November show there were 3,811 children in emergency accommodation that month.
We've all got more than fond memories of tunes such as Gotta Tell You and Always Come Back To Your Love, and soon we'll be hearing brand new music from the versatile singer.
We sat down for a chat with the woman herself, and once our starstruck fever calmed down, we managed to ask her a few questions.
There have been whispers of musical comebacks for many years now, considering her first album Gotta Tell You was released back in 2000 when she was only sixteen-years-old.
While the rest of us were figuring out creative ways to abandon school for a few hours and day-dreaming of Zack Morris from Saved By The Bell, Samantha was making CHUNES.
So why choose now to release her long-awaited album number two? Samantha is a woman of many talents, trying her hand at Masterchef in 2017, as well as appearances in Dancing On Ice and on ITV's Loose Women.
“It’s been in the works for a couple of months, so for me I did Manchester Pride last summer, and I was so blown away by the response. As I was onstage I was literally like, why don’t I have any new music to perform? This is stupid, like it’s ridiculous. I’m one of those people who gets in their own way all the time. Even if I think of doing something, I’ll think of 20 reasons not to do it. I thought, ‘No, enough it enough’. I was afraid to do it again. The timing just feels good, and now I’m seeing that everyone is coming back, I thought, ‘What is going on?’ Hang on a second, I was coming back first!”
Damn right she was. Samantha's popularity with a range of audiences and people of all ages has to be noted, but why do so many listeners seem to relate to her?
“That’s a great question, and I don’t really know the answer. It’s just one of those things, a nostalgia thing. I also think because I was so young when I started, a lot of people literally feel, and they have, like they’ve grown up with me. People have even stopped me in the street to say, ‘Oh hey, how are you?’ as if they know me. I’ve been around for a while, I think there’s that kind of connection where people have really gotten behind me, it’s like I’m a cousin of theirs. It’s that kind of thing, it’s brilliant.”
Samantha still returns home to Dublin fairly regularly, and her little daughter Sage calls it her home too. We wondered if she had stayed up to date on Ireland's current homelessness crisis?
“It’s scandalous, it’s absolutely shocking. That’s why I thought this Just Eat campaign was just such a no-brainer. I’d love if they could double what they did last year, which in itself was incredible. Even especially being home at the minute, and it’s so cold, you just think, ‘Oh my God’, it’s not right. There’s a lot of young kids that are homeless, and it’s heartbreaking. Being a mother now myself, it’s just awful. You never know what goes on in someone’s life, it can happen to anybody, you just never know what kind of bad things could come somebody’s way. It can happen to everybody, and everybody should chip in," she says.
She's partnered up with Just Eat this year for their annual National Takeaway Tuesday to raise funds for the Peter McVerry Trust, who do vital work for the homeless. To date, Just Eat customers have generated over €50,000 for the Peter McVerry Trust, enough to move five people out of homelessness and into better futures.
Samantha comments; "This takeaway campaign is perfect, because you can order food on a Tuesday, get a 10 percent discount and chip in 10 percent to 2019’s Just Eat charity of choice, the Peter McVerry Trust. So you’re doing something good."
Does she notice the homelessness which is also prevalent in Los Angeles too, while she's spending her down-time there?
“Again, who am I to talk about anything, but there are definite areas. Santa Monica area and Downtown area, what I find is that a lot of the problems there are mental health. These people should be in facilities, in LA for me I notice, it’s a lot more of that. Whereas here, it’s more people who are getting a bad run of things. It just seems to be different circumstances, I suppose," she emphasises.
Her daughter Sage was born in 2015, with her husband Torray Scales. We're immediately jealous of Sage, because she's already heard some of her mum's new material;
‘Nightmare before Christmas is her thing. We listen to that soundtrack, and I love it as well, so it’s great. Sometimes she said, ‘I wanna hear mummy’s songs’, she approves of the new songs, thankfully. She’s very sweet, but other times she’s like, ‘Ok, back to Disney’, she laughs.
“She says she lives in LA and lives in Dublin, she loves being home. She gets totally spoilt rotten at home. The back and forth is her norm, she doesn’t know any different.”
We couldn't let Samantha go without trying to get the dates for her new music to be released, it had to be done. For the good of mankind. Luckily, she was ready for the question;
“I was hoping to have a date already. I have to have it within the next two weeks, because I want my first release to be latest end of March, early April. So we’re working on it. I’d love to have two singles out by the summer, and the album definitely will be later on in the year, but I’m on it.”
Me: “Calm down, Shane. It’s only January 4th.”
Also me: “Okay, Samantha Mumba and Madonna, it’s 2019–where are the new albums?!?”
One core difference between now and when Samantha started is, of course, the power of social media. She's aware of it as a tool, and this time it's going to connect her even more to her fans;
“That’s what I’m enjoying the most, there’s no random people telling me what I have to do, I’m fully in control of everything. That’s kind of the most exciting part for me. The people I’ve been working with in the States are so creative, they’re really pushing me out of my comfort zone.”
In terms of teasing some collaborations in the pipeline, she's revealed a song with MNEK has been created, and we are SO HERE for it. The artist is known for working with some of pop's biggest names, among them are Dua Lipa and Zara Larsson.
“MNEK I have done work with, yes, I adore him. He’s incredible, he’s so talented. I have done one song with him, and I have my core group of people to work with. I think he’ll actually be in LA again in another couple of weeks, so we’ll do another session there as well. I’d love to bring him in with my people, because I think they’d all mesh really well. I’m excited for what that will bring. He’s such a talent and a joy to work with.”
Is there anyone she's especially got her eye on, in terms of new female talent?
“I just discovered her and I’m obsessed, it’s Donna Missal from the US. She’s incredible, I love her."
Samantha is 36-years-old, and time has only given her even more glamour, wisdom and thick-skin for the tough music industry.
Her new album is set to encompass that sense of maturity;
My new music is pop R’N’B, it’s current to where I am, I’m a grown woman who’s lived a life. I have a lot of things to say. I’m just expressing them, and hopefully other women will relate to it."
Samantha is the newest 2019 mood; let her reign begin anew.
According to The Irish Times, the issue with homeless families having to sleep rough in cars has worsened in recent times.
In correspondence on April 30th from Focus chief executive Pat Dennigan to Minster Zappone, he said that the situation “has deteriorated over the last few weeks”.
In April, 32 families were left with no choice but to approach Garda stations, as no emergency accommodation beds were available.
“Of these, 12 families (20 children) reported to us the following day they had slept rough, mostly in cars,” Mr Dennigan told Ms Zappone.
The crisis is beyond a crisis. This is not a Republic. No Irish person can stand over this. Where is our sense of shame? The gov's sense of responsibility? Our solidarity? Children left sleeping in a garda station last night as no homeless emergency available via @AnthonyICHHpic.twitter.com/i7UsyIEgKb
Mr Dennigan has explained that he may publish the actual numbers of families that had to report to Garda stations at night each month on their website.
“Our board has repeatedly expressed grave concern for the families in this position and also that our services are being caught in an unacceptable position by the failure of the wider system,” he said.
This is a crisis that looks like it isn't going to be solved any time soon.
Figures emerging from the Department of Housing show a recorded 9,872 people as homeless in June 2018, 3,824 of whom were children.
It is the shocking image that began to emerge yesterday afternoon on social media: a small boy in blue trousers, a red t-shirt, and pair of smart black Velcro runners.
He was seen lying face down in the sand on a beach in Bodrum, a coastal area of Turkey popular with Irish tourists.
The three-year-old toddler, later named as Aylan Kurdi, had drowned – along with a dozen others.
Fleeing the violence of their home in Syria, Aylan and his family were attempting to reach Greece across the Aegean Sea at the time of his death.
The small boat on which they were travelling would have been loaded with migrants before setting off at 2am yesterday from the coast of Turkey.
Aylan, of course, never made it. Nor did his five-year-old elder brother, Galip, or their mother, Rehan. Two people remain unaccounted for; the youngest victim is a nine-month-old baby.
The short journey amounts to just 20km, but none of the passengers were wearing life-jackets, and once tossed into the sea, the children in particular stood little chance of survival.
The only remaining member of the family, the children’s father, Abdullah, had to make a series of unspeakably grim phone-calls to relatives yesterday.
He reportedly could only say: “My wife and two boys are dead,” before breaking down in grief.
Despite the presumed hardship of their young lives – the family lived in the ISIS-besieged Syrian city of Kobane – evidently the Kurdi boys enjoyed moments of happiness too: heartbreaking photographs of the pair emerged this morning.
One shows them smiling warmly while posing for the camera; Galip with his arm around Alyan.
A second snap shows the boys laughing with a large teddy bear between them.
Today, newspapers throughout Europe are dominated by the image of Alyan’s body – many front pages show him being carried gently from the shoreline by a member of the Turkish police force.
Indeed, the photograph is being compared to other historically significant and pivotal images from the 20th century: the stark picture of a burning Phan Thi Kim Phúc taken during the Vietnamese War, as well as the photo used on the cover of TIME magazine showing Muslim prisoners peering through barbed wire during the Srebrenica Genocide.
Social media has been particularly vocal too, with hundreds of thousands of tweets being posted calling for European nations – including Ireland – to do more to alleviate the crisis.
Speaking on RTE’s Morning Ireland today, Minister Brendan Howlin admitted that as a nation we now must “step up to the plate,” to help those refugees fleeing from Syria.
“It’s a world issue,” he said. “And we need to have a world response with a real sense of solidarity.”
Calling it “one of the most challenging issues for human-kind right now,” he concluded: “Seeing the bodies of young children on the shores of Europe is so shocking – and we can’t let that lie.”
Ireland has so far committed to taking 600 refugees between now and 2017.
This year, Germany, which has been at the forefront of campaigning on behalf of displaced peoples from the Middle East, will take 800,000.
Every day, life throws challenges at us when we least expect them –job loss, family problems, health issues. While most of us have all been there, it’s how you handle the problem that sets you apart from the ordinary.
During a crisis, you’re going to have a natural “fight or flight” response – we’re here to help you make sure you can tackle the problem head on instead of running away.
Breathe deeply When you’re facing a crisis, your heart and breathing can speed up and go into overdrive. Make sure you breathe deeply – remember, in through your noise and out through your mouth.
Think before you act Before you go running for the hills, assess the situation and try to determine how to fix the problem or handle the situation. Never think something is impossible before you try it.
Reassure yourself Often your mind will start racing into the worst case scenario so tell yourself that you will be fine. Reassuring yourself out loud will help you gain some perspective.
Accepting that things can go wrong will help you prepare for any future crisis.
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