'Yesterday, I did a 35 minutes presentation at Hoskins Girls Technical School on Family Violence and Trauma; more of an education awareness session on issues of family violence and its traumatic impact on children, young girls and women.
I talked about Developmental Trauma, to inform mostly female students and their female teachers of the impact of family violence altering fundamental neurochemical processes, which in turn can affect the growth, structure, and functioning of the brain. I used the work of Atkinson and Atkinson (2008, 2010), de van Kolk (2007), Schwartz and Perry (1994) and Perry et al, (1995).
I included our local research findings and studies to show and explain in simple plain English and tok pidgin with examples on how violence and trauma impacts people across socio-economic strata.
Then I talked about Trauma responses in early teens and adolescents (youth) aged 12-17 years. Emphasis was placed on frequent episodes, experiences and incidences of family violence witnessed or experienced as a child that can be very traumatic for teenagers, as they may involve actual or threatened harm to self or loved ones. They can also elicit feelings of intense fear, helplessness or horror and are often associated with many losses.
After that, I talked a bit on how early teens and adolescents react following trauma with emphasis on teenager’s reaction to traumatic experiences depending on their developmental level, premorbid functioning, previous life experiences, level of exposure to the trauma, parental reactions and subsequent changes in living situation.
The school have now requested for We Al-li to conduct a workshop on Family Violence-Community Recovery and Child Development and Childhood Trauma for both staff and students during the 3rd term holiday.
The small We Al-li team who attended and participated in a workshop last week had their first taste of carrying out an awareness session on Family Violence, Trauma and its impact on children, adolescents (youths), men and women at Hoskins Secondary School this afternoon.
Grade 9 and 10 students and their teachers attended the session. After the session, teachers approached this small team requesting that the same session and topics be given to Grade 11s and 12 students, and other staff members.
Tomorrow, this small team will be finalising a strategic plan that came out of from a similar workshop conducted by Emeritus Professor Judy Atkinson at Hoskins. On the Friday, this team will be presented with their certificates.
On Saturday and Sunday, the team is invited to Gavaiva Village for a community awareness session on family violence, trauma and its impact on women, men, children and youths.
Thanks to the We Al-li Kimbe team for organising the sessions with the schools and for supporting me reaching out to young people.'
Professor Judy Atkinson had this to say on Donald's Facebook page: "This is the work that really makes me feel good. Thank you for your commitment and willingness to work in this way. So often we sit in conferences and meetings at government levels, but we never reach out to communities - kids in schools - teachers - you are showing the way Donald. Feeling sooooo good. about this."
What I can say is, "Keep up the fantastic work, Donald. And congratulate your team and audience on what they are achieving. You have the passion, the tools and the knowledge to catalyse grassroots energy and activity, and create real change in PNG."
Donald Moi has a BA in Social Work at the University of Papua New Guinea, and has been writing a book with Judy and Carlie Atkinson on violence trauma healing in his country, helping We Al-Li to accredit courses with the National Training Council, and been instrumental in the setting up of the PNG Healing Foundation.