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Minister Simeon’s message on World Social Work Day

Mrs Jeanne Simeon‘Social issues must be at the forefront of development’

 “If we want sustainable communities and environments for our children and families, we must put social issues at the forefront of development. We must give our social workers a greater say in the decisions that are taken in our communities. We must plan better and with people in mind.”

This comes in a message from the new Minister for Family Affairs Jeanne Simeon on the occasion of World Social Work Day being celebrated today.

The full text of Minister Simeon’s message reads:

“World Social Work Day, commemorated every year on March 21, is an opportunity to highlight and appreciate the importance of social work.

“It is a time where we join the international community in strengthening existing relationships and partnerships as well as spreading knowledge about social work, its values and principles.

“It is also an occasion for professional reflection where our social workers and their partners meet to discuss on present challenges, explore new working practices and propose solutions so that we can continue to promote and realise the dignity and rights of all our citizens.

“This year’s theme ‘Promoting Community and Environmental Sustainability’ offers us a fresh perspective from which to assess the significance and contribution of social work in our society.

“While we are all aware of the various social problems that are impacting on many individuals and families, not many of us appreciate that social problems are only the manifestations of more complex and profound changes that have happened in our society. And in many instances, the causes of social problems are not social; they may be economic, environmental or cultural.

“It is for this reason that we must adopt new approaches and new ways of thinking in order to address not just the symptoms but also the actual causes of problems. This is where the theme is relevant because through the prism of sustainability, we are able to appreciate the extent that our society has changed and the resulting impacts.

“We cannot talk of sustainability without talking about change. Our society has changed and continues to change. Some changes have been positive while others have been negative. Negative changes are often problematic and unsustainable. They impact adversely on our quality of life and weaken the fabric of society. They affect families and communities. It is these changes that we must manage and address.

“Our social workers have a crucial role to play in this process. At a fundamental level, they promote and advocate for sustainable change. They empower marginalised and vulnerable individuals and groups who are often left isolated and demoralised by the impact of change. Not everyone can be resilient, not everyone can cope or has the strength to seek help. For those people, our social workers can be the difference between getting back on their feet or simply giving up on life.

“On this Social Work Day, I commend the efforts of all our social workers. I thank them for their dedication and hard work. I recognise the difficult environment they work in and the numerous challenges they face.  But I would like to reassure them that government will continue to support them at every level. Yours is a vocation that has value but unfortunately is often overlooked.

“Social work must have a better outlook. We must recognise its importance because sustainable environment and communities is about individuals and their families.

“I therefore call on all ministries, organisations and stakeholders to adopt a holistic approach to development. We cannot reduce development to pure economics or environmental concerns with just conservation. We must have a greater understanding on the relationships between people, their communities, their economic activities and how these impact on their lives. Sometimes it is development that changes people, that changes their values and lifestyles. Sometimes, it is development that renders people helpless and hopeless. This is unsuitable development.

“If we want sustainable communities and environments for our children and families, we must therefore put social issues at the forefront of development. We must give our social workers a greater say in the decisions that are taken in our communities. We must plan better and with people in mind.

“Our social workers cannot just be problem solvers. They cannot just pick up the pieces of broken lives and dreams. It is for this reason that we must engage with them and make space for them at all level to bring their contribution and experience so that together we can create the sustainable families and communities we all want to see.

“I wish all social workers continued success in their profession and all the best for the future.”

Source : Se3ychelles NATION

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