The Importance Of Networking In Trinidad & Tobago
The Importance of Networking in Trinidad & Tobago
I was reminded yesterday of a true life experience I had surrounding the importance of networking or in lighter terms: if you know where someone can get help then empower them with the information. I meant to write about this particular inncident when it actually happened, however being a father of three boys on the Autism Spectrum leaves little time for anything extra. Needless to say the reminder made me determined to journalize it today.
Some months ago I was a passenger in a maxi taxi. At a certain stop a worried looking man got on board with two little children. The man began talking with the driver whom he seemed to know. The driver inquired about his welfare and the man began to agonizingly describe his depressing situation. Apparently, his wife left him and went off to be with another man while leaving him alone to raise his two children. Due to the children's tender ages the man, who was evidently a responsible father, took up their care but had to quit his job and attempt to work from home with no help from anyone - not even the mother of the children. You could hear the sound of desperation in his voice as he wanted to take care of his children but was running out of resources to do it.
Now, while listening to him lament his situation I immediately remembered a post I made at the Single Fathers Association Of Trinidad & Tobago FB Page in which I said:
A single father that is from Trinidad / Tobago taking good care of his children… how rare is that! That has to be a good man, Trini women should take note in this superior cultured quality that makes a man, not how well he can whine or hold a beer or give you lyrics.
Actually its not as rare as we are made to believe JB. I see numerous fathers a day wanting to be there for their kids but a bias system or upset ex spouse with a grudge is doing all they can to keep them out.
Therefore, I knew this father needed help and he could get it from SFATT. I do not normally get involved in anyone's conversation as I prefer to 'mind my own business', but on this occasion it was warranted. I told the father that there is a place he can get help and maybe some assistance and he was very humble in learning about it. I whipped out my mobile and showed him the SFATT website and the contact information which he took down. By the time he recorded the numbers on his phone I arrived at my destination and left.
I had not thought about it again until many months later (Yesterday) when the same man stopped me and said he was happy I gave him the information because he was able to contact SFATT and got great advice. He took the mother of the children to court and got full custody of the children and now the mother has to pay maintenance. He also started to tell me that because of this turnaround in his life he is now able to take care of children and start up other prospective ventures to help other people.
I should state, I am not a member of SFATT nor do I know that father personally, I still don't even know his name, but I knew he needed help and I had information that could help him. I am a member of the Autism Parents Association of Trinidad & Tobago - APATT
and were his children under the Spectrum I would have directed him there so he could know the places and people he could go / contact for help. At APATT we do that - pass on information to people who need it. Not everything has to be solved by the almighty dollar or a donation, sometimes you can help someone by just networking - pointing them in the right direction so they can get the help they need. Having worthwhile information also saves many from heading in a direction they wish they had not since lots of money and time might be spent on something that was not necessary or simply a scam, hence we encourage parents to make reviews of services they received and establishments they have attended so others can read and become enlightened. As an Autism Parent for almost 16 years I can tell you I wish I had someone to pass on the information in those first years of being an Autism Parent that I have today. Not even the so called "Professionals" was able to give me 1/3 of the info we have now through research and networking.
This is something I feel more people in Trinidad & Tobago need to do - be proactive in doing some research, acquiring the facts, and then empowering their brothers and sisters with the information so they do not need to suffer in ignorance or be the bearer of the infuriating injustice of the system or people who should care but do not. When the population as a whole becomes aware of fact from fiction and can tell when they are being 'abused' then collectively the citizenry can unite with a common voice to demand change - demand justice.
In the end it is about the welfare of the children and their future. Lip service and pity does nothing to help - we need to network and in the process save our children.