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  • Northside East

Hats off to Maya Lily for coat idea

Friday, 1st November, 2019 8:00am
Hats off to Maya Lily for coat idea

Maya Lily has shown great initiative to help the homeless this winter. PHOTO: DARREN KINSELLA

Hats off to Maya Lily for coat idea

Maya Lily has shown great initiative to help the homeless this winter. PHOTO: DARREN KINSELLA

Aoife O’Brien

YOUR unwanted coat can save a life is the message that an 11-year-old Killester native wants everyone to hear.

In the face of Ireland’s homeless crisis, Maya Lily Lawless-Cotter has come up with an innovative way to help homeless people.

She has started a coat drive in her local village of Killester, asking people to donate winter coats that they no longer need or want. The coats will then be distributed to people who are homeless or in need.

Maya Lily came up with this idea after seeing first-hand the suffering faced by homeless people in the city.

“It breaks my heart to think of all the people there sitting on the street, freezing cold while I go home and I’m sitting in front of a warm fire and go to a cosy bed,” she says. 

Deciding that she wanted to do something to help, Maya Lily designed posters detailing the extent of the homeless crisis in Ireland and asking people to donate their unwanted coats.

“I was putting letters into people’s houses and then telling them to bring their coats to our house and then I arranged them into bags for women, men, girls and boys,” she says.

In the space of two weeks Maya Lily has collected over 50 coats. She wanted to make sure that the coats went directly to the homeless and not into shops, and decided to contact Tasnuva Shamim Foundation Ireland. 

This organisation meets outside the GPO every Friday from 8pm to 10pm to provide food to the homeless and to people in need. 

After telling Tasnuva about her idea they arranged for Maya Lily to join them outside the GPO last Friday, October 25. 

They provided her with a table to display the coats, so that when people queued up for food, they would also be able to get a coat.

Following the success of her first coat drive, Maya Lily is hoping to organise more over the coming months. 

She has met with her school principal at Belgrove Senior Girls’ National School to initiate a collection there.

She also hopes to have a collection for blankets and sleeping bags. She plans to meet with her Parish Priest to ask him to encourage people to donate their unwanted coats, blankets and sleeping bags, during mass, for another collection.

Maya Lily’s mother Natasha said she is very proud of her daughter. 

“Maya Lily is a quiet, shy girl and she has really had to push herself out there to do this,” Natasha says. 

However, this is not the first time that Maya Lily has been involved in social activism. She recently sold some of her books and donated all of the money to the Laura Lynn Foundation and set up a lemonade stand to raise money for a girl who was sick.

Maya Lily hopes that her idea will spread and that other schools and villages might start a project similar to hers. 

If anyone has any unwanted coats, blankets and sleeping bags and they would like to donate them to Maya Lily’s collection to be distributed to the homeless, she can be contacted at


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