Volunteering is priceless in benefits
Looking back at my life before Migrants as Messengers (MaM) is something not worth remembering. Before MaM I was downcast because I returned without achieving by expectation. My colleagues where ahead of me in everything. I was rejected and considered a failure by my community. This put me in a state of dilemma and regret. I blamed myself for my failure. I felt my world was ending. I lost all hope of moving forward with my life.
Joining the MaM project as one of the volunteers transformed my entire state of being and gave me a new sense of belonging. The different kinds of trainings, interacting with my peers, telling others openly about my migration experiences and the motivation from the project team contributed to this transformation. I am now respected and seen as a source of information by young people in my community when it comes to providing accurate information on alternative to irregular migration. I initially I thought my dreams had died. But now, I am convinced that my dreams can still be a reality. I have confidence in my capacity to make my dream a reality. I am now back in university pursuing my dream.
Working with my peers have thought me how to handle situations and improve my listening skills. The MaM peer platform gave me courage to express myself freely on social media and helped me build social networks with people from diverse backgrounds, skills and knowledge. This played a pivotal role in my reintegration process in my community. Engaging young people in my community about the risks associated with irregular migration and alternative to irregular migration opened the door of friendship and respect for me among the youths.
I was actively involved in many activities. However, the design and implementation of the cleanup campaigns, inter-high school debates, and creating digital content brought me the most joy. The feedback from community members from surveys conducted after these activities were so positive. Some young people testified that the awareness messages changed their intention to migrate irregularly. This increased my confidence level. I feel proud that I am now contributing to society.
MaM community engagement activities were very educative, interactive, entertaining, and participatory. I felt like young people in the communities we visited embraced and applauded the MaM community engagements activities.
As part of the project sustainability strategy, the volunteers formed an association called the Migrants as Messengers Association of Liberia-MAMAL. The association was officially launched on August 25, 2022 by the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Liberia. We continue to engage potential migrants in communities through community dialogue and interactive discussion on the issue of irregular migration and human trafficking. We also provide alternative to irregular migration. We visit schools, religious entities, universities, intellectual forums, marketplaces and more with this campaign. We continue to seek support to expand our activities to other parts of the country. I am now an agent of change.