“Many of the clients who came to me were traumatized by the experiences of the Bougainville crisis and I saw the need to equip myself with counselling skills,” Donovan says.
Meet Donovan Tami, a welfare officer at Child and Family Services in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville (ARoB). His role is to prevent and respond to any abuse, violence, discrimination and exploitation of children or family members.
He provides referral services to clients by helping them to access legal services, psycho-social services, and protection orders to victims of violence and abuse through the courts under the Lukautim Pikinini Act 2015 and Family Protection Act 2013.
“It is very challenging to rebuild a society that was traumatized by civil war,” Donovan explains. “We are faced with many behavioral issues that transpired from the crisis. Many of these issues are affecting the lives of families, children and women in Bougainville,” Donovan says.
Donovan’s passion to contribute towards rebuilding his society has driven him to take up studies in counselling to empower himself to address these problems. He was one of twenty-five Papua New Guineans to study a Graduate Certificate in Counselling short course under the Australia Awards Scholarship program in 2021.
“I was very happy when I was awarded the scholarship and will always be grateful for being one of the lucky recipients of the scholarship to study the course on counselling,” Donovan says.
He says that the course has equipped him with crucial knowledge and skills in counselling and has boosted his confidence when listening to clients and helping them to support their individual needs.
His counselling services have also gained trust from his clients. “It is very encouraging and satisfying when I serve the clients and after some time, they refer other clients to me,” Donovan says.
“I am happy to be a male counsellor amongst many female counsellors. Men cannot deny the fact that they have emotional and psychological problems. Seeking help from male counsellors can be helpful for male clients, especially in a male dominated society.
“I would encourage a lot of men and women to be advocates against any form of violence that are affecting our families and society. The most vulnerable people being women, girls, and children. We need to look after our families. There are services available that can help us. Protecting our nation is everyone’s business.”