Does Anybody Know. . .

Posted on March 30, 2009

Nalini Negi (bio) admires a method used by frontline providers to serve transnational migrants.


I did a qualitative study on social service providers in Texas who are working with different migrant groups.

I mean the research is indicating that there's a lot of people who are going back and forth between borders and are living transmigrant lives, are leading transnational lives. The reality on the ground in terms of frontline providers is that they are overburdened especially there are very, very few Spanish speaking providers in many, many different states, different regions.

One of the things that the service providers that I interviewed were doing, which I thought was really creative was, since they were very frustrated with the fact that there was very few of them that were Spanish-speaking and that were being basically referred all of these Spanish-speaking clients to, what they started doing is they created this online MSN forum in which, I think it was called like the Spanish Speaking Providers Forum Austin, in which they would write down any sort of tips or ask for any sort of referral things.

And one of the social service providers told me that one of her clients later on as she was working with him, she identified him as being a transmigrant or a person who goes back and forth. And at this point, he was going to go back to Mexico to a particular village. And she had no idea about services that he could continue to access there.

So she put something on the MSN forum saying, "My client is going to ABC place. Does anybody know of a social service provider who works there and that you can refer my client to?" And she got a response back.

So I mean, this is a very cost-effective way, and it's also an easy way that social service providers have been able to pool their own resources, their own knowledge to more efficiently and effectively service clients who may be transnational or transmigrants.

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Excerpted from interview with researcher at the 2008 National Hispanic Science Network on Drug Abuse Conference in Bethesda, MD.


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