Graduates strive to change people’s lives

2019-03-13 06:01
photo:andile sitholeSocial workers (from left) Sanelisiwe Zulu, Mandisa Ngubane, Ntombifuthi Khumalo, Mandisa Mgenge, Gugu Sikhakhane and Thulani Lawu.

photo:andile sitholeSocial workers (from left) Sanelisiwe Zulu, Mandisa Ngubane, Ntombifuthi Khumalo, Mandisa Mgenge, Gugu Sikhakhane and Thulani Lawu.

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AFTER graduating from different universities, six social work students took the initiative to volunteer at the Greytown Child and Youth Care Centre in a bid to gain work experience and inject new blood into the social work profession.

Senior social worker Ntombifuthi­ Khumalo, Mandisa Ngubane, Sanelisiwe Zulu, Nomcebo­ Mgenge, Gugu Sikhakhane­ and Thulani Lawu are determined to change the mentality among their peers that unemployed graduates are procrastinating about volunteering at community organisations.

Although funding from the government is always a challenge, according to these graduates, it never deters their undying spirit to go out and reach to the communities and the victims of abuse.

Team leader Ntombifuthi Khumalo­ joined the centre in 2012 with sound knowledge of the social work programmes that she acquired while working at the Richards Bay Child and Family Welfare.

“We work closely with the Department of Social Development. The most important thing I have learned in my profession is that, as a social worker, under no circumstance should we judge or discriminate the victim based on their background, gender and other issues,” Khumalo said.

Another social worker, Gugu­ Sikhakhane, said her love of working with the children grew further after she saw a growing number of orphans at her village.

“I felt motivated to further my studies on social work. Working with the children is something that I am passionate about and I can go the extra mile to reach out to needy children.

“Volunteer services, such as working at the children’s centre, offer us a chance to sharpen our skills and gain work experience in the field of social work,” said Sikhakhane­.

Other volunteers echoed her sentiments and urged the community to familiarise themselves with the services that the centre offers to the public.

“It’s evident that the community is not aware of the services that community centres such as the Greytown Child and Youth Care Centre offer to the community. We need the support from the community,” Ngubane said.

Numerous attempts have been made to encourage young graduates to volunteer at community organisations. Ngubane said many students prefer to be at home than offer their services to the local organisations.

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