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The Shanty Education Project Ltd. a registered charity, was established in 1986 to provide “second chance” community-based education to the residents of Tallaght West. It was founded by Dr Ann Louise Gilligan and Dr Katherine Zappone who began running courses in their own home in Brittas, Co. Dublin. Gradually, with the help and generosity of people living within and outside Tallaght, the project developed to offer up to 10 courses with childcare for participants. In the process, the organisation won a number of awards for its community initiatives.
In September 1999, the organisation re-located to a brand new multi-purpose community facility – An Cosán - in Jobstown Tallaght West. An Cosán is so called because it offers local people a path to learning and leadership. The organisation provides a service to a district of Dublin that is severely disadvantaged as a result of poverty and high levels of unemployment. An Cosán provides community-based education, childcare and enterprise.