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Helping hands

education Updated: Sep 22, 2011 11:29 IST

The lowdown
Social work involves helping individuals, groups or communities enhance or restore their capacity for social functioning. It deals with issues of social change clubbed with social justice and human rights. Welfare workers develop the capacity and potential of the needy, enabling them to help themselves.

Social work, however, is very different from what people perceive it to be. It is not charity work

Clock Work
9am: Go to office
10am: Go to the field; interact with people
12noon: Meet outreach workers
1pm: Quick lunch
2pm: Design training programmes
4pm: Prepare and review reports
5.30pm: Work on a new proposal/ project
6.30pm: Meet the staff at office, discuss plans for new project in slum areas
7.30pm: Leave for home

The payoff
A beginner can earn anywhere between Rs10,000 to Rs20,000
which can go up from Rs20,000 to Rs1 lakh as one reaches senior levels. For self-employed professionals, the sky is the limit

. Basic knowledge of human behaviour, society and its systems
. Compassion for fellow human beings
. Should be emotionally mature, rational and sensitive
. Should have good listening, observation and counselling skills

Getting There
Social work is an interdisciplinary social science and profession with practising professionals and students from diverse backgrounds. However, a master’s in social work is the standard and ideal qualification for this line. A doctorate is an added advantage

. TISS, Mumbai
. University of Delhi
. Institute of Rural Management, Anand, Gujarat
. Department of Social Work, Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi
. College of Social Work, Nirmala Niketan, Mumbai and Department of Social Work, Christ College, Bangalore are
also among the better institutions in India

Pros and cons
. You achieve a unique sense of satisfaction helping others
. Work schedules are erratic; witnessing the deplorable conditions others live in could be frustrating

The work is often frustrating, but it can bring you happiness like no other job in the world

Kapil Pandey, president, Kutumb Foundation which educates the urban displaced