Erin Gerber completed a 10-month international field placement as a gender-based violence trainer/counselor in Thailand. She was based in Mae Hong Son in Northern Thailand, serving in two camps with approximately 23,000 Karenni refugees.
Her responsibilities included mentoring refugee staff on counseling women and families affected by gender-based violence. She trained staff in effective case management and worked closely with the agency staff to ensure survivor safety throughout the resettlement process.
Erin tells how helping these women to "find their voice" gave them the confidence and courage to speak their truth. "It's that voice that you hope can make a difference in this work and in these populations. You believe in their own capacity…you believe they can speak up for themselves. My challenge was to find how I could use myself to help magnify their voices and make them louder. It was a true gift to be able to bear burdens and struggle with things together even though we were from different backgrounds."
Erin received a dual degree in social work and pastoral ministry. She is a first generation college graduate. For her leadership and excellence in academic performance and field placement, Erin won the 2009 BC Social Work School Award. She has mentored members of the Global cohort program on self-advocacy, self-care, and work balance issues. Erin continues to work in the relief and development field with the International Rescue Committee in Ethiopia as a gender-based violence program manager.