Home Miscellaneous Promoting Social Workers’ identity in Nepal

Promoting Social Workers’ identity in Nepal

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Kathmandu, February 27, 2016: As a Social work student most of you have gone through the awkward moment when somebody near asks you, “What are you studying?” and end up with the response Sociology! Right after your answer. It is not because they are naive or didn’t contemplate about our discipline but we are miles away from justifying them what we do and how we are different from other Social Sciences. Question yourself! It’s been 19 years since Social Work education has landed in Nepal, are we able to make some visible changes? If so, why we have to ask for our identity with our government and often organize demonstrative rallies and campaigns. Social workers should have sustainable plan and suitable strategical interventions with ample patience for their recognition in a stalemate country like Nepal. This article will attempt to argue how Social worker can promote their identity in Nepal.

There are about seven dozen Social work colleges here in Nepal which are running on a competitive basis with each other (organizing world social work day, superiority with the colleges’ identity and lack of cooperation with other’s creativity are some of the partial examples). Up till today, Social workers’ identity is in conundrum not because of the state negligence or lack of recognition but because Social work colleges are being established by the business minded monsters that care little about developing young minds and producing trained Social workers who can make dire changes in our community. If there is no changes there won’t be any recognition. Expecting from such culprits is a part of vain rather all social work students should unite themselves into a single network not to launch protest rallies for their identity but to retort the social issues of our daily lives. Social work students could plan to promote their identity in the layer of two major principles: “responding and promoting” and “change and recognition”.

Similarly, there are around 5,000 students undertaking the social work education in Nepal. We can find one venue in which two students from each college can be invited for discussion regarding how we can respond social issues and promote our identities. Our discussion could be able to create single unified Social work students network and proceed to design single T-shirt with same color and common theme like “together for change”, “helping others” etc printed on it. Through discussion, two representatives will share the information with their colleagues and do their best to convince them for the joint venture we are about to carry on. After building the overall negotiation and collective agreement, preliminary phase will be ended up by wearing the designed T-shirt by all Social work students in same day from every corner of our valley and country if possible. Wearing same T-shirt on the same day and repeating every week by at least 5,000 students will eventually create a curiosity and discourse in the mind of the people regarding – Who we are?

Country is not popular by leaders, it is popular by its citizens. The role of Social work students is crucial for their recognition than that of their alumni. Unified Students will respond the social issues which we witness at least in that particular day (a day which has been fixed in the discussion to wear that ti-shirt either Sunday, Monday or some others). We have to notice and start with the extremely minor issues. We can do our best in securing the old age reservation seat for senior citizens, women’s seat for sisters and mothers and handicapped seat for differently able persons in public bus at least in that day.  We should report to the police about any suspicious incidents i.e. possible trafficked person (girls trafficking cases are increasing in post earthquake period), alcohols trade (through public bus en route in the morning), soliciting money with fake documents in disguised identity and the like. We can assist the persons who are confused regarding their destination (might be tourist or novice one).

On the other hand, the group of unified social workers can join the Bagmati cleaning campaign every week happening across the Kathmandu valley. Visualize! If the double digit Social Work students will go to the cleaning campaign wearing the proposed T-shirt, it will definitely embrace the public glance and media coverage. Appearance of more than 1,000 students for the cleaning will direct new Social work movement in our country. In the present context, students can visit the earthquake affected areas to empathize the situation by providing emotional and social support to the victims. Organizing blood donation program, fund raising events, conducting awareness campaign are some other things that we can do. The facebook group page should be created for sharing the experiences, creating the events and informing about something to the thousands of students which will be under our team.

Finally, Social work students can employ the Chinese strategy- ‘do more and advertise less’ about their activities unlike others – ‘do less and advertise more’.  Students should engage themselves on table talk and discussions, formulating new ideas and strategies on how to work in the community instead of how to promote. We can think at making even a tiny change in the lives of people. We give recognition to Pilots and doctors not because they have demanded from us but they are important to us. Social workers have to deconstruct the slang ‘our country couldn’t give us anything’ to the ‘what could we give to our country’. We should do our best and leave the rest. Public will evaluate who we are, society will evaluate what we do and so the government. Mandela waited 27 years in prison for the difference he had envisioned in South Africa and Sachin Tendulkar waited 25 years for the difference he could make in Indian cricket, we too wait for change and difference we can make in our country and ultimately to our obscured identity.

Rajesh Bhusal

Master’s in Social work

Tribhuvan University

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