UK funds advocacy training for migrants

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

In this June 2, 2019 file photo, Venezuelans line up outside the Queen’s Park Oval, Port of Spain to be registered under the TT government amnesty.

THE British High Commission in Port of Spain funded a month of advocacy training for migrants from Cuba, Cameroon, Mexico and Venezuela, delivered by the Living Water Community (LWC), said a commission statement on Friday.

The programme, from May 4-June 4, aimed to empower migrants and refugees to actively participate in decisions which affect their lives, including efforts at integration and leading their own humanitarian responses.

The high commission said, “A diverse group of participants, including men, women, members of the LGBTI community, people with disabilities, youth and citizens with dual nationality that lived in Venezuela most of their life, attended two high-impact face-to-face sessions and 11 online sessions.

“The training focused on self-awareness, empathy, resilience, leadership, supportive communication, community mobilisation, storytelling for change, adaptive leadership, strategy and advocacy and participated in individual and group psychotherapeutic techniques to help with, understanding and facing life’s challenges.”

The project sought to help participants in their own advocacy, mobilise their communities for change and find solutions to promote social cohesion and peaceful community relations.

British High Commissioner Harriet Cross said, “This training is about equipping people with the tools they need to develop themselves and their communities and contribute positively to Trinidad and Tobago. Migrants and asylum-seekers face a myriad of challenges after leaving their homes and the British High Commission is proud to support this training which gives them the tools to empower themselves.

“I was very happy to meet participants at the end of the training and witness their passion, learn about their resilience and listen to their plans for improving their own lives and enhancing the experiences of migrants in TT.”

She was proud to support this project by LWC as “a transformative experience for participants.”

LWC official Rochelle Nakhid said, “We want to empower migrants to find their voice and tell their own stories. The goal is to bring the voice of excluded groups to the attention of policy makers, the general population, and humanitarian and development actors, with them speaking directly from the heart of their represented communities.”

Venezuelan migrant David Sequea said, “I had many expectations and I never imagined that it would be so good.

“This programme has transformed me internally because now my world perspective of what I could achieve and do for others has changed exponentially for the better.”

The high commission said the success of this first phase of the project showed the commitment of participants who had made profound contributions without hesitation.

A second phase in July will address protection, psychological first-aid, strategies and a Know your Rights programme.

“The goal is to ensure that in the future, participants are equipped with the tools they need to support others and be enablers within the migrant and refugee community in TT, raising their voices and being an active part in solving their problems.”