I am Melanie Mohammed, a bi-lingual, mobile counselor for migrant children, adolescents and persons twenty-five years and under at ChildLine Trinidad and Tobago. ChildLine TT is an NGO that aims to uphold the well-being and protection of children and young adults by providing psychosocial services, free of charge, through our Counseling and Outreach units, as well as our Helpline unit which operates 24/7. Essentially, I focus on providing our counseling services to migrant persons in Trinidad, specifically Spanish-speakers, through workshops, telephone counseling and in-person counseling sessions in a flexible and portable manner.
In my context of dealing specifically with the migrant community, I have found that there are recurring issues regarding difficulty in adapting to life in Trinidad through cultural differences and a language barrier, trauma linked to the life-threatening journey of migration (particularly seen in younger children), and the strong sense of hopelessness in the face of a seemingly degraded and derailed future.
I was recently introduced to VOICE through participation in their training on “Working with Adolescent Girl GBV Survivors on the Move.” As a relatively new practitioner, the prospect of this training held great appeal to me. I believed that it would educate my perspectives on the migrant community and their specific situation, as well as strengthen my psychosocial knowledge base.
The VOICE training’s structure permitted freedom to ask questions at any time, and continuously encouraged all participants to share their points of view. I developed greater understanding of the similar challenges encountered and helpful practices used by persons who provide services to this community in differing fields. After the training, my understanding of the mental framework of violence as a social learning tool for all genders, and the implications of trauma informed responses, has continued to be an essential consideration in my work.
I am now strongly inclined to pointedly assess the process I follow with each client through the lens of a reframed crisis case management structure designed to address the trauma. In doing so, I believe that impactful efficiency is improving, and that all needs of my clients, both overt and covert, can be met to a greater degree of sufficiency.