When I returned to Liberia from my migration journey, I had problem setting down in my community. This is because I wasn’t prepared to speak, and many youths wanted to know what happened during my journey. Expressing myself was a problem. For this reason, I stay away from them. Some of my family members also had problem with me because of this.
When I was approached with the idea of joining the Migrants as Messengers Project as a volunteer, I agreed but had some fear. However, during the training sessions, I met other returned migrants who had similar story like me and were willing to speak out. I witness how my colleagues shared their testimonies during training sessions. Initially, majority of us had issues with presenting our stories, however, the techniques used by the trainers helped us greatly. This motivated and encouraged me. The fact that we were able to freely share our testimonies with one another during training sessions drove the fear of speaking out away. I am now able to speak and interact with many people from diverse backgrounds. People in my community and family members are so happy for the level of transformation that has taken place in my life. The project strengthened my communication, connectivity, and creativity skills.
I am currently one of the advisers of the Migrants as Messengers Association of Liberia. An association founded by volunteers who participated in the implementation of the Migrants as Messengers Project in Liberia. As part of our strategy, a three-day retreat was organized to discuss the future of the association. I felt so fulfilled being part of the planning and implementation of the retreat. Seeing all the Volunteers coming together in one place for three days was a great experience. We decided at the end of the retreat to remain engaged with the communities in addressing the growing issues of misinformation about migration. We initiated the development of a one-year sustainability strategy which has been finalized.
Engaging young people was a great learning experience. They were very excited about our testimonies. This was because of their desire to migrate abroad. The different kinds of youth driving activities (football tournament, academic competition, theater performance, etc.) that were used to bring the young people together in these communities were beautiful. The messages about the risks of irregular migration, human trafficking and the alternatives to irregular migration were highly welcomed and appreciated by the young people and their parents. The Wakawell website resonated with the young people of Liberia.
There is a need to continual engaging young people on migration and human trafficking issues. This is a mission the Migrants as Messengers Association of Liberia has taken upon. We will continue to engage the youths and their parents across Liberia who have the desire to migrate abroad providing them information about safe migration. I will continue to change their mindset.
I feel so good seen myself providing life saving information to my peers.