The Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) of Trinidad and Tobago yesterday launched a three-part video series titled Pan to the Poet as part of their “I am Here: Borders of Hope” campaign.
The video series features three pairs of poets highlighting topics related to interactions and relationships between Venezuelan migrants and locals through spoken word poetry.
The campaign, an initiative of the PADF, was created to encourage and facilitate informed discussions about migration and its impact on migrants and their host communities.
The poets came up with the ideas for their pieces during workshops facilitated by Kamilah Morain, Deputy Director of PADF in Trinidad and Tobago and the First Citizens National Poetry Slam (FCNPS) 2021 winner, Derron Sandy. Derron is also the artistic director of the 2 Cents Movement.
Kamilah said, “The workshops provided participants with a safe space to interrogate and explore in depth the prevailing discourse on and perceptions of migrants and migration in Trinidad and Tobago. Participants were encouraged to reflect on their lived experiences; this served as the point of departure to critically engage with key concepts underpinning the current conversations on migration and to form their own opinions on the subject.”
After the workshops, each pair developed their poem and performance with Derron’s guidance.
Samuel Negrin and Mishael Henry were featured in the first video on Saturday. Samuel is a Venezuelan migrant who came to Trinidad six years ago. Mishael was born in Venezuela and migrated to Trinidad as a toddler and has known no other home.
They refer to each other as “hermanos” (which means brothers in Spanish), and they hope the series positively impacts the way in which locals develop, nurture and their relationships with Venezuelan migrants.
Derron, who directed the video series said, “Pan to the Poets is a unique and exciting collaboration and another critical step for spoken word poetry in Trinidad and Tobago.”
The following videos will feature Melyssa Rosillo and Ronaldo Mohammed, and then Renessa John and Paola Silva.
Borders of Hope & the Pan American Development Foundation of Trinidad and Tobago.
“I Am Here: Borders of Hope” is a campaign initiated by the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF). It was established to raise awareness about migration and its impact on migrants and their host countries and communities.
The PADF has operated in Trinidad and Tobago since 2013. However, since 2019, the PADF has worked on addressing humanitarian issues in the country. PADF and its program partners, with funding from the US Department of State’s Bureau for Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM), are providing protection and assistance to refugees and asylum seekers, and sustainable solutions to vulnerable Venezuelan migrants and other host community populations. Activities are designed to increase Venezuelans’ access to legal status, promote local integration, and improve the lives of vulnerable populations.
People interested in watching the video series can follow the “I am Here: Borders of Hope” campaign on Facebook and Instagram (@iamherebordersofhop) and Twitter (@BordersHope) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
ABOUT THE POETS
First Video Release
Mishael Henry — is a Venezuela-born Trinidadian poet with The 2 Cents Movement. He captained the 2019 Raise The Bar Secondary School Poetry Slam Champion team (South East Port of Spain) and a Trinidad and Tobago National Poetry Slam semi-finalist.
Samuel Negrin — Born in Caracas, Venezuela, the 19-year-old considers Trinidad a second home. His passions and hobbies are Taekwondo, photography, modeling, and working out in between.
Second Video Release
Melyssa Rosillo — Is a 26-year-old Venezuelan / Trinidadian national. She studied performing arts in Venezuela, is a very creative person and is always willing to learn new things. She has good communication skills.
Ronaldo Mohammed – A Trinidadian poet operating with the 2 Cents Movement. He is pursuing an MSc in Global Studies and holds a BA in French and Spanish from The UWI.
Third Video Release
Renessa John — is a 19-year-old Trinidadian artist, writer and spoken word poet hailing from East Trinidad. She has been writing for over nine years. Renessa is currently an undergraduate student at the University of the Southern Caribbean, pursuing a Bachelor’s in Primary Education.
Paola Silva — A young Venezuelan who lives in Trinidad. She has been active with The Heroes Foundation and has worked with us as a translator on The Agro Viva project.