Thank you, Ms. Christine Quickfall, CEO of Badisa and the rest of the  Management  for this wonderful opportunity to share a special message to the  BADISA – social workers as we commemorate World Social Workers Day on the 16 March 2021. It is personally, for me very special as after more than 30 years of experience in the field, I am a proud social worker!  I am also honoured to have a son in the profession who is also part of the BADISA – family. Indeed a proud father but must I must confess, he keep me on my toes!

Today is a very special day on the global calendar as it provides a wonderful  opportunity to witness the solidarity amongst social workers and promote our common message of the developmental care and hope to individuals, families and communities. This year’s theme which is “Ubuntu: I am Because We are – Strengthening Social Solidarity and Global Connectedness”  is therefore of great relevance seeing that the world is still challenged with a global pandemic and the effects of the COVID19 – virus.

Many individuals, families and communities still deal with the effects of the pandemic which include the psycho- social and economic effects that social workers amongst other frontline  workers have to deal with on a daily basis. Social workers always have to ensure that families and communities are taken care of, many times at the expense of their own personal needs which includes their own safety and protection and that of their families. You promote ubuntu through caring and empowerment of the most vulnerable of society which include amongst others children, women, older persons and people with disabilities. You fulfil these tasks with absolute commitment, passion and dedication and at times in very challenging environments and very limited resources.

Social workers in the Badisa – family have over many decades proven that the strengthening of families and the development of communities are paramount to ensure a true spirit of ubuntu. This reminds remind me of a saying that I have embraced over many years which is  “ Umuntu, Ngumuntu, abantu” meaning a person is a person because of people or in beautiful  Afrikaans ,’ n mens is ‘n mens deur mense. We, our clients and our fellow – social workers including our support staff, are because of what we invest in one another.  Fellow social workers, you are beacons of hope for the most vulnerable in our society which include children,  women , children and people with disabilities . These happens many times at the cost of our very own families but remember you are Difference Makers, you are gifted and empowered with knowledge, skills and passion that are part of being “ubuntu – carriers”. Your work requires a whole of society approach and as social workers of Badisa you have proven to be at the forefront in strengthening solidarity against Poverty,  Gender-based Violence, Child Abuse and Neglects, Substance Addiction and many other ills in society.

You as essential service workers serve on the frontlines of the pandemic and some have sadly  succumbed to COVID19. We honour the legacy of those who has passed on.  You had to respond  to the hunger in communities, extreme poverty and increased levels of un-employment and trauma, depression and hopelessness which often requires psycho-social support. Some of you and your family members  have tested positive and had to be quarantined which has impacted your work, but you remain faithful to the task at hand.

Today as we commemorate this special day, I want to salute you as social workers together with your families, be it in your local branches, dependency recovery places, facilities for older persons and institutions for the children, youth , women and people with special needs, for taking the lead in the promotion of ubuntu in society.

I conclude with a quote I received this week that reminded me of the importance of my own self -care , “ Taking care of myself doesn’t mean “me first”, it means “me too” – L.R. Knosts.

Strengthen your solidarity  and connectedness with all other colleagues in the field across the globe.

“A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed” – Proverbs 11:25

Thank you

Derrick Schroeder (Pastor / Registered Social Worker)

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