Opinion | Career in Social Work! (Part-1)

The social work profession promotes social change, problem-solving in human relationships and the empowerment and liberation of people to enhance well-being.  Social work is primarily developmental work, wherein a group of people or a community work for some common cause that is related to the welfare of a person, state, country or community. Social work is a combination of art and science to bring in some effective changes in society for the welfare of humanity. Social workers basically enable or help people to fight for their rights. Social work is basically a professional as well as an academic discipline that works selflessly to improve the quality of life and wellbeing of an individual, group, or community.

The main emphasis of social workers is generally focused on areas such as human development, social policy, public administration, psychotherapy, program evaluation, and international and community development. Utilising theories of human behaviour and social systems, social work intervenes at the point where people interact with their environments.  Social service is not restricted to a particular place, country or community.  Social workers are organized into local, national, continental and international professional bodies and they all work accordingly in their respective fields and areas for a good cause.

The main fundamentals of social service include principles of human rights and social justice. Professional social workers work for the development related to these fields of human rights  and social justice and their main tasks involve in case management (linking clients with agencies and programs that will meet their psycho-social needs), medical social work, counselling (psychotherapy), human services management, social welfare policy analysis, community organizing, advocacy, teaching (in schools of social work), and social science research.

History of Social Work

Historically, social work was carried out by people who volunteered their service for the service of mankind. The concept of charity goes back to ancient times, and the practice of providing for the poor has roots in many major ancient civilizations and world religions. Today with the rapid modernization and advancement, social problems have become more complex and social work needs some professional people with skills and desire to bring about a change. Whereas social work started on a more scientific footing aimed at controlling and reforming individuals, it has in more recent times adopted a more critical and holistic approach to understanding and intervening in social problems.

Social work has its roots in the social and economic upheaval brought by the Industrial Revolution way back years ago, which particularly started with the struggle of society to deal with poverty and its resultant problems. Since the only focus of social work at that time was aimed at dealing with poverty, it was intricately linked with the idea of charity work during earlier times. But today it is well classified in much broader terms. Today there is a clear classification between social work and charity work. Whereas charity is only aimed at providing some basic facilities to the poor or needy people, social work is aimed at bringing a change in the society, a change for human betterment.  Modern social workers can be found helping to deal with the consequences of these and many other social maladies in all areas of the human services professions and in many other fields besides.

Career Options in the Field of Social Work

Social work as already told is not restricted to a particular state or a community; social workers have a number of professional associations, which provide ethical guidance and other forms of support for their members and for social work in general. These social workers work as a group for solving problems of the people who fail to seek any help from the government. These associations can be international, continental or semi-continental, national, and regional. The main international associations are the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) and the International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW). These organizations work in different areas like medical help in times of war or epidemic, children welfare, labour welfare or some other important issues related to the common man. Social service can be termed as service working for the developmental process of a particular area where the government authorities failed to perform.

The main areas where social workers are involved include: 

Community Development: Social workers with specialization work in administrative as well as management fields volunteer in to bring about community development, human development, and resource development. These mainly concentrate on the community development both the rural as well as the urban community.  Professional social workers work in a variety of settings, including non-profit or public social service agencies, grassroots advocacy organizations, hospitals, hospices, community health agencies, schools, faith-based organizations, and even the military. These work for promoting awareness of the rights of the citizens and also the various government projects aimed at benefiting the general class. Professionals from any field passionate about improving the lives of others can enter into this sector and work for their community and country as well.

Healthcare and Medicine: Social workers also help in the clinical setting and also run in several charitable hospitals and clinics aimed at providing free or affordable treatment for everyone. Social workers also contribute to the preventive and promoting rallies to promote various aspects of health care and also to bring about awareness about some common and life-threatening diseases like AIDS, malaria, and TB etc. providing for special schools where handicapped and children with disabilities enroll in is yet another function of these social work organizations. Educating drug addicts, organizing anti-smoking campaigns and rallies against the health affecting programs includes some sincere effort from these people.

Family and Child Welfare: Specialists from medical fields provide some useful service for child and family welfare. There are many diseases related to children that can be life-threatening. These medical representatives organize free camps for the check-up and spreading awareness among deprived masses that do not get enough facilities. Major organization working for child welfare is UNICEF (United Nation International Children Emergency Funds) that works in area of child development and is constantly working in countries all around the globe for eradicating many diseases like polio, chicken pox, and smallpox etc. these have been constantly campaigning to aware the masses against malnutrition in children that may retard growth of children or may even lead to some serious health complications. (To be continued)

– The writer can be reached at vkmalout@gmail.com


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