The Narcissips “Education Initiative” & Do we take Education for Granted in Ireland?

Like all, we have the best intentions but more often than not, time escapes us and as I was once told, (many times…)

“Reilly, the path to hell is paved with good intentions”....

In starting Narcissips in 2019, I thought it would literally be something which would last a few months.

Something in which I would be able to;

  • Get some experience in building and managing a small Irish business


  • Help my friends and family choose reusables, at an affordable price to help them make the move away from single-use plastics and;


  • Give others the same luck of the draw that I got and help them with access to two things I think we can easily take for granted in Ireland: Education & Clean Water.

Never did I anticipate the snowball & ripple effect that has since in sewed.

However, same with all things – rarely anything that is achieved in life is done so without the help, kindness, and patience of others (which includes you if you’re ultimately on this email list or reading this blog).

Growing up, I had zero idea what I really wanted to do with my life and never saw myself going to college.

From my earliest memories, I toyed with the idea of being a Fireman, or a bodyguard mostly but lord knows. I guess in retrospect, both of those options showed I had somewhat of a desire to help others either way.

I was far from the best in School and have some scarring memories of suspensions, the age old Irish threat of being "sent to boarding school" and a few too many days spent on the corridors being kicked out of classes. (God, I really hope my kids are less of a boll#x than I was haha)

None the less, after finishing the Leaving Cert, I had zero clue what I wanted to do and began working full time in my local Supervalu. In hindsight, this was one of the best things in the world as it really made the importance of Customer Service stand out for me.

There are plenty of stories & enlightening moments there but to keep it brief – I was coerced into going to college by managers in the store a Grant was made available for me to study Theology & History in Maynooth. (while I told people for years I wanted to be a priest, this was not the case)

Ultimately, I did a U-turn after one year and had to repeat first year to study Business through an Arts degree where the college had agreed, if I met several "Academic Standards", they would enable me to get a place in Business & Management which was way out of my initial reach due to the Leaving cert.

(That Irish Leaving Cert point system which broke my fecking heart for several years.) 

After Maynooth anyway & thoroughly enjoying the Business & Management degree where I focused on modules including "The Sustainable Enterprise" I was once again blessed in getting a scholarship to study my Masters in UCDs Smurfit Graduate Business School.

For that, I am ever grateful as lord knows where I would be without it and I have seen first hand, how important it is to give other a "hand" which has led to me ultimately wanting to give others the same luck that I got and pay it back!

While I know the Irish educational system is far from perfect, and many others would probably have a lot worse to say than I but I still feel most take it for granted. At least we have a functioning system that most of us can attend to whereas there are still millions who either cannot afford to go for a variety of reasons across the world.

None the less, three years on and into running Narcissips – with your support, we have contributed to helping 122 children from impoverished backgrounds across the third world access education for the first time.

This is one of our core goals in linking with and aligning to the UN's Sustainable Development Goal 6 – “Access to Education”.

There is so much chatter about 2030 plans and 2050 plans which baffle me when there are so many people who need a plan now. Also, these 2030 and 2050 plans with perspective, show us how lucky we are (in the midst of all the sh1t going on in Ireland at the moment) that we could be a hell of a lot worse even still.

The fact that we can plan for 8 years down the line compared to others worrying about tomorrow. I am not sure if that’s a good, bad or Dark perspective but there ya go – since starting this I’ve not wanted to be anything other than honest and do my own thing.

Ultimately, the Narcissips “Education Initiative” has helped over 122 kids so far thanks to you!! 

Here's to helping many more over the coming years in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 4 which you can read more about here.

For now, if you made it this far, Thank you – and again most importantly – you have directly contributed to helping keep Ireland that little bit cleaner by choosing reusables as well as helping someone access education for the first time!

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

Yours Sincerely,

Cathal O’Reilly

Written by Cathal O Reilly

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