When Uttarakhand was ravaged by the Himalayan flash floods in 2012, Quamrul Huda, a second-year student at the Delhi School of Social Work (DSSW), University of Delhi, decided to do his bit to help the affected people in the region. He visited the area with other students and undertook several rehabilitation projects. He says, “Studying at DSW has been an eye-opener as I have become more sensitive to social issues. Helping people put their life back on track after being hit by a disaster is a life-changing experience.”
Many students at DSSW, like Huda, are involved in social projects and research studies initiated by the department. MPhil scholars of the department have submitted dissertations on an array of pressing and contemporary topics including study on media portrayal of child abuse in India, the socio-emotional impact of HIV/AIDS among the infected and realities of rehabilitation and resettlement in a village in Jharkhand.
DSSW has also been granted a Gender Resource Centre- Suvidha Kendra, which initiates a number of programmes to usher in social, economic and legal empowerment of women, particularly those belonging to the underprivileged sections. On an average, six health camps, 12 nutrition camps and 22 OPDs (open publication distribution systems) are organised annually by the centre. It also runs two vocational training centres, and has successfully formed 31 self-help groups and various community clusters in Burari in north Delhi.
“Everyone here is driven by a desire to make this world more tolerant towards people and society at large. We are a group of people who have come together to make a difference in the world,” says Manoj Kumar Jha, professor and head of the department.
USP: DSSW has a unique programme structure with both theoretical knowledge and practical work given equal emphasis. The curriculum has been designed in such a way that the students have theory lessons with concurrent field work throughout their course of study. The field work unit of the department regularly conducts workshops and seminars with eminent social work practitioners and experts from various domains. “Social work is a non-conventional field of study. DSW has offered me a comprehensive education experience, complete with field work,” says Sumaya Maaz, who is pursuing a master’s in social work.
A number of departmental projects have been undertaken by the college faculty and the students. The Centre for Community Development and Action (CCDA) caters to children, adolescents and the elderly, besides focusing on initiatives for the empowerment of women. There are four main programmes of the CCDA — Buniyad, which runs a balwadi to impart pre-school education to the underprivileged; Sanjeevni, which aims to provide quality healthcare facilities to the vulnerable population and promote awareness about diseases and healthy living; Shristi, a women’s empowerment programme working towards the formation of self-help groups in Burari, New Delhi, and its adjoining areas, and Disha, a vocational training programme helping women develop skills and facilitating them to explore employment avenues.
The Centre for Child and Adolescent Well-being undertakes organised and scientific study and treatment of children, who exhibit unhealthy traits, unacceptable behaviour and an inability to cope with social and educational expectations.
Programmes: DSSW offers three programmes. For admission to the PhD programme in social work, a written test is conducted, followed by a presentation of research proposals before the department research committee. Admissions to the MPhil in social work are done after conducting a rigorous written test and interview. For admission to the MA in social work programmes, a written test is conducted, followed by a group discussion and personal interview.
Infrastructure: Set in the north campus of the University of Delhi, DSSW has a well-maintained and spacious campus. The library has over 30,000 books and approximately 50 national and international journals. It also has a computer centre with 24-hour internet connection. The institute also has a hostel which can accommodate about 60 students. This has facilities like RO water, internet, TV with DTH connection, a common room and a visitors’ room. The department auditorium has a seating capacity of about 500.
Faculty: DSSW employs 23 permanent teaching staff and 10 guest faculty members, most of whom are involved in a number of research projects and studies, and hold positions in various national and international organisations and committees.
Placement Cell: The placement cell of DSSW is quite active. A number of corporate sector organisations, private sector social enterprises, national and international foundations, schools, hospitals, NGOs, research-oriented institutions, social action and advocacy groups connect with the institution for placements. Top recruiters include America India Foundation, Gandhi Fellowship, Hero Motorcorp, YP Foundation, Udyan Care and Save Life Foundation.
Activities: DSSW has an independent students’ union and a hostel club union. The hostel has its own interactive website, which provides comprehensive information. Students also celebrate various festivals on the campus .