Melissa Noel, an award-winning multimedia Pulitzer Center journalist, delivered a presentation to Pennington students on February 5 over Zoom. Noel presented “Beyond the Barrels: How Migration Impacts Caribbean Children.”
Noel spoke to students in the Global Studies program about her investigation into the human costs of economic migration from the island of Jamaica. Often, when parents in the Caribbean region travel to other countries to find work, they must leave their children behind. These children are often referred to as “barrel children” due to the shipping barrels packed with food, clothing, and other goods that their parents typically send them.
“Generally, migration from the Caribbean region is viewed through an economic development lens since cash remittances from abroad are a valuable source of income for many households across the region,” said Noel, who explained that the mental health impact of economic migration is largely disregarded in mainstream media. “What I sought to report on are the unintended consequences migration can have on families, particularly the well-being and mental health of children, who are often being separated from their parents for five or more years.”
Students asked Noel thoughtful questions and left the presentation with a new understanding of this under-reported issue.
Internationally recognized as a Caribbean diaspora leader, Noel graduated from Howard University and the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She produces video, print, and digital stories for news outlets including NBC News, Caribbean Beat Magazine, Ebony Magazine, and the Huffington Post. Learn more about Noel, and read about her research for the Pulitzer Center.