Mahatma Gandhi, once said ,“You must be
the change you wish to see in the world.” He said this because people kept telling him
that in order for people to change, the world must change first.
There is so much inequality and injustice in the world today.
All around us we see that people do not have equal access to education, healthcare and
even food. Every day we see that people are treated differently
as a result of the colour of their skin, their gender or their physical ability.
When thinking of what Gandhi said and the different kinds of injustice and inequality
all around us, it becomes clear that we cannot expect for things to change if there are no
people in the world who begin to change it. There are people in the world who are passionate
about playing a role in reducing inequalities and addressing injustice.
These people help others who are faced with challenges and provide support in order to
improve or change the situation of the people in our communities.
Some of these people are social workers, and today we will look at the profession of social
Social work is based on the principles of human rights and requires one to come into
contact with people of all ages, races, genders and physical ability.
Social work requires a lot of patience in order to work with different populations such
as children, families and substance abusers. The kind of people that a social worker gets
to work with depends on what the social worker has specialised in, as well as their personal
preference. Social workers interact with individuals,
families and communities in counseling, mental health therapy, community development, life-skills
training, adult education, economic empowerment and various prevention programmes.
Social Work also entails social research, the analysis and formulation of social policies
and the management of social service programmes. Few professions offer more diverse opportunities
and anyone who is passionate about making a difference will enjoy this profession.
To be a social worker you must be willing to reflect on yourself and develop yourself
To become a social worker, you need passion and drive- the passion to create a positive
change in the world and the drive to keep going even when facing obstacles.
A social worker needs to be able to connect with people, to communicate well and not be
judgemental. Academically, there are no specific high school
subjects that are required; however, you must obtain good grades in your final year of high
school education to be accepted to university to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Social
Work. Once you finish your studies, you could register
as professional social worker. For entry level jobs, a Bachelors degree is
sufficient, but a Master’s Degree in Social Work has become a fairly standard requirement
for many roles. Now let us move into the future and imagine
you as a social worker. What are some of the joys and challenges of the profession?
Challenges of the profession Depending on where you work, salaries for
social workers are not high and social workers handle big caseloads. Thus, as a social worker
it is possible to become tired and burnt out if you do not know how to manage you caseload.
Depending on the types of cases and kinds of communities a social worker is working
with, fear is also a challenge that may need to be overcome. For example, if you are working
in a violent community, a violent home environment or with a violent client.
The nature of work can be very frustrating at times – The change that you wish to bring
may take time. For example, your work might deal with changing deep rooted attitudes of
a person, group or community and this can be very difficult.
Another challenge is being able to deal with the hard realities that people live in. You
also may not be able to help everyone as much as you hoped you would.
Joys of the profession With the challenges in mind, let us look at
the fulfilling and positive aspects of social work.
Most social workers find joy in making a difference in the community or having a positive impact
on an individual or a group, and helping them overcome their obstacles.
Seeing that people and situations can change for the better is also a fulfilling part of
social work. Dealing with diverse issues and learning from client systems are also a positive
aspect of social work. Social work is an honourable career field
that gains the respect of others. By playing a key role in improving the lives of others,
social workers build their own self-confidence and can feel proud of being involved in such
an admirable profession. We will leave you with this statement by a
social worker: “My work makes me feel RELEVANT. At least I am trying which is better than
just feeling frustrated about what goes on around me”.