When ‘welfare’ is the watchword

  • Riya Wadhwa, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jul 06, 2016 16:21 IST
Social workers are trained to help the needy solve their problems. (shutterstock)

Social work is a profession concerned with helping individuals, families, groups and communities to enhance their individual and collective well-being. It aims to help people develop their skills and their ability to use their own resources and those of the community to resolve problems.

Social workers are trained professionals like doctors, engineers, and lawyers. Social workers provide help to needy people to solve their socio-psychological problems. They work as counsellors, psychiatric social workers, field officers, programme coordinators, project and programme implementers, community mobilisers, community development officers, etc. They also work as advocates and catalysts to ensure the rights and entitlements of the weaker sections. The fundamental work of social work professionals is to protect human rights and ensure social justice to each and every human being.

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Social work professionals can work with various agencies, including government departments and their welfare programmes, and developmental departments such as social welfare department, tribal development, women and child development, labour welfare, child protection, youth welfare, rural development, panchayat raj, programmes like Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, National Rural Livelihoods Mission and Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. Social workers also work with national and international NGOs on different sectors, such as education, health, sanitation, agriculture, livelihood, child rights, gender and women empowerment, well-being of adolescent girls etc.

There is huge scope for social work, as demand for professionals is increasing each day. The government and private companies have recognised the importance of trained social workers. In India the pioneer institutes like Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai; Delhi School of Social Work students have huge demand because of their academic strengths and competencies. The Central government and various state governments are recruiting professional social workers for effective project and programme implementation.

“In India the biggest challenge for a social work professional is that there is no recognised social work council in India, like other professions have. Another challenge is that social work is a practice-based profession, so the students those who don’t have any field exposure face difficulties in getting jobs. At many places social work students don’t have command over English communication making it difficult for them to survive in this corporate world” says Dr Sudhir Maske, assistant professor of social work, Delhi University.

They should have a good understanding of various policies, programmes and acts. They should have good command over English communication and writing.

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