By Myra Zymelka-Colis

Seven empowered women of Stichting Bayanihan, the Philippine Women Centre in the Netherlands, have finally completed the six-session Social Service Training “Vertrouwenspersooon” on the 2nd of April 2022. Provided for by Ms. Diana Oosterbeek-Latoza, Bayanihan Chairperson and Social Cultural Worker, the training consists of five virtual sessions and one practical examination, the aim of which is to equip the members of the Bayanihan Social Service Team with the skills and knowledge they needed when providing emancipatory aid to Filipinas in the Netherlands. This training is adapted from the Training for Vertrouwenspersoon by Stichting Mara. Simply put, it is a training to become a vertrouwenspersoon, and the seven trainees who successfully completed the training and passed the practical exams include four members of the Stichting Bayanihan Board (namely Ranessa Chavez-Krause, Agnes van de Beek-Pavia, Veronica Balbuena and Myra Zymelka-Colis), two members of the Stichting Bayanihan Seniors Core Group (namely Marissa van der Graaf and Rose Slotema-Haboc), and one member of the Stichting Bayanihan  Juniors Core Group Coordinating Team  (namely Evelyn Castillo Grooteman).

(From L to R: Evelyn Grooteman-Castillo, Marissa van der Graaf, Ranessa Chavez-Krause, Rose Slotema-Haboc, Diana Oosterbeek-Latoza, Agnes van de Beek-Pavia, Veronica Balbuena, Myra Zymelka-Colis)

What is a vertouwenspersoon?

A vertrouwenspersoon is a Dutch word for confidant, but it is more than being a confidant. During the 1st training, Trainer Oosterbeek-Latoza characterized a vertrouwenpersoon as someone (or in the case of Bayanihan, a volunteer) who is helping and supporting persons who are in the vulnerable position. The role of the vertrouwenspersoon is to stimulate the person in need to use her own strengths and as such will become independent. A vertrouwenspersoon listens, gives signal and guides the said persons;  Also she refers the person in need to revelant persons, services, health institututions and/or to the proper activities.  It has to be made clear that a vertrouwenspersoon is a not a hulpverlener. She does not replace a professional social worker.

What were the trainings all about?

The five sessions correspond to the following five topics:

Session 1 (9 February 2022): Motivation as volunteer of Stichting Bayanihan’s Social Service Team | Expectations from Stichting Bayanihan and from the volunteer | Profile of the Vertrouwenspersoon.

Session 2 (16 February 2022): Steps in Handling Cases |The Power of Listening

Session 3 (23 February 2022): Conversation & Interview Techniques | Balance Between Capacity (Draagkracht) and Burden (Draaglast)

Session 4 (16 March 2022): Privacy, Confidentiality & Setting Limits | Redder in Nood Syndrome & Dramatiehoek (Inroduction)

Session 5 (31 March 2022): De Dramadriehoek– Getting Stuck in a Pattern of Behaviour | Sociale Kaart

Session 6 (2 April 2022): Practical Examination – Role Playing 

The Practical Exam

On April 2, 2022, the seven trainees were put into test through a practical exam, whereby they were given cases to role play. The cases are based from the current cases of Stichting Bayanihan . The exam entails application of the techniques and know-how that was shared and taught by social cultural worker Oosterbeek-Latoza. Furthermore, the trainees should be able to apply what they have learned by role-playing a case as they play the role of a hulpvrager (client or person in need of help), vertrouwenspersoon and an observer. 

It was an intensive five hour session. Indeed social service skills were learned and developed and the trainees are highly motivated and committed. 

The ‘Graduates

After completing the five theoretical  sessions and the practical exam, the trainees received a certificate of attendance signed by Ms. Diana Oosterbeek-Latoza. 

To celebrate a well-spent afternoon of honing their skills as vetrouwenspersoon, the trainor and trainees celebrated and ended the day with a sumptuous dinner and grateful hearts.

Congratulations to our Stichting Bayanihan Social Service Team members!