PhD student, VUB
To obtain a master’s degree in clinical psychology at the VUB (2014) Luna Machtelinckx wrote a narrative thesis about mothers with an incarcerated partner and did her internship for 6 months in Bolivia. This internship existed of giving psychological guidance to street-connected youngsters and psychotherapy to children in vulnerable situations, living in institutions. After her studies she went back to Bolivia to participate at the development of the Joint Diary Project in La Paz and Santa Cruz, which had the aim to involve children actively in the research process by considering them as co-actors, inviting them into a dialogical process and acknowledging their expertise on the topic of their lives of living on the street. In 2015 she attended a course about collaborative research practices and therapy at Kanankil Institute in Mexico.
Since October 2015 Luna is doing a PhD in psychology under supervision of Prof. Dr. Gerrit Loots and Dr. Marcela Losantos, with a 4 year funding of VLADOC (VLIR-UOS). The project focuses on the psychosocial wellbeing of children and adolescents living in vulnerable situations due to migration, poverty, social exclusion and violence in La Paz and El Alto, Bolivia. The aim of the project is to understand their decision-making processes of leaving the street, emphasizing their social agency, connectedness to the street and survival strategies. Research findings of this project will be directly shared and disseminated among stakeholders, hopefully offering childcare organizations more knowledge and insights to improve their programs.