Interview with Mélanie, new GAMS coordinator in Wallonia!

Mélanie Jocquet has held the position of coordinator of GAMS Belgium activities in Wallonia and social worker since the beginning of 2020. She is based in Namur and occupies a central position within our team. We can only introduce her to you!

From social work to the coordination of activities

The bulk of Melanie’s work is coordinating the activities of GAMS Belgium in Wallonia. “We provide training and animations; we take part in meetings all over Wallonia. Women come to us from Couvin, Bastogne, Jumet…”.

She is also in charge of the social follow-up but also of part of the first intake interviews.

All over Wallonia

For the Namur branch, I work daily with two community animators, Ismatou Bah and Yasmin Hussein, as well as our psychologist, Maud Jeulin.” The Namur team works with external partners such as family planning, mental health services, social and medical offices, as well as reception centres for asylum seekers, among others.

But the activities are not limited to Namur. The team in Liège consists of Samia Youssouf, responsible for activities in the province of Liège, Fos Mohamed Nur, community animator and Charlotte Royen, psychologist. “It’s a great asset to be able to work in a multidisciplinary team in order to accompany women in the best possible way.”

As regards Hainaut, GAMS also organises monthly standby duty in Charleroi.

Combating specific violence against migrant women

Melanie is committed to the fight against female genital mutilation (FGM). “In the context of my previous professional experiences, I have accompanied women in their application for asylum. FGM is so ingrained that women integrate this violence… and don’t talk about it. You have to take time and build up a relationship of trust to make people aware that this so-called ‘traditional’ practice is violence that needs to be combated.”

While gender-based violence affects all women, migrant women face specific violence. “I really enjoy working with migrant audiences. Over time, I have become more interested in the place of women in society, my own and the women I meet… In general, it has become clear to me that migrant women experience a continuum of gender-based violence. From their life in the country, to their exile, to the asylum procedure or other procedures in Belgium, … They are particularly vulnerable and at risk.”

She is up for it

She looks forward to organising more community activities for her colleagues. “It’s a very rich experience, really empowering for women to strengthen each other. I am learning a lot, as a professional but also as a woman. I will do everything I can to support women in the best possible way and enable them to learn more about society and about themselves.”

To contact Melanie

Mélanie is available on 0493 49 29 50 or via melanie@gams.be.


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