International Summer School on Indigenous Children’s Rights in Moncton, Canada
A quick update while being here.
Today I presented at the International Summer Course on the Rights of the Indigenous Child at the Université de Moncton in Moncton, Canada. There, I shared the stories Panamanian indigenous Ngäbe-Buglé migrant children harvesting coffee in Costa Rica entrusted me, as written down in my book “I write with the right”. It is nearly two years ago that my work got published and each time I go back to it, I learn something new. Each time, it provides an opportunity to reflect on the process – and see the flaws… This research is always feels very personal to share and speaking about it does make me feel nervous. Today, for the first time, I shared my lessons learned as a child rights and development professional in the process of this study. Furthermore, I framed it for the first time as a personal decolonization and ‘depaternalization’ process – that is still ongoing, by the way. A process that is necessary for ‘us professionals’ to be able to fulfill our role in children’s rights / child protection / development (or any related field with people, really) in a responsible manner. To me, that felt like what I had to do, but also as quite vulnerable, being in front of a room full of youth advocates, lawyers, indigenous persons and persons of all tones of skin color.
After leaving the stage, I felt like moving away quietly from the scene, hoping nobody would approach me. I did not stand a chance and received some very nice, emotional and worthwile comments and questions. Being vulnerable and brutally honest is scary and empowering.
I am very thankful to all who have contributed to my personal and professional development, but mostly and as always, I am eternally thankful to the children who have made me (hopefully!) a more sensitive person and professional. Sigamos adelante.
Emily Chan, thanks for taking and sharing this picture!