Social Work: Two Different Worlds

Seeking to improve the quality of life in a community or an individual is a field studied by social workers. It is both an academic and professional endeavour that utilizes different methods such as research, direct charity-based model, community organizing, education or knowledge provision, and intervention in times of crises. These methods are used especially for those who are vulnerable such as those in need of single mother help, the persons with disabilities, affected by conflict, in poverty, and victims of social injustices brought about by the gap between the rich and the poor, corrupt government, and lack of access to basic services. All over the world, the practice of social work varies from the situation of one country to another.

In Denmark where only 4-8% of their total population is living in poverty, they use the welfare system where in they are protected through the provision of health care, free education, and other forms of social protection. The country of Denmark supports social work, even the private organizations sometimes gets their fund from the country funds. They do not only provide basic needs but also give counselling, and case management to complement those previous material efforts given.

But it is a different story for a country like Philippines with most of the people suffering from different levels of poverty. Poverty in first world countries is different from countries like the Philippines. Being middle class in the Philippines means you can barely or cannot afford to buy your own car, being in poverty means that going to college is a very hard decision for you and your parents, being in extreme poverty means you do not have a home, live in the streets, have never been to school, and is neglected by the government. Government spending in the Philippines means paying its debts worth billions, funding the ongoing war in the South, or being spent by officials for their families and themselves. Social work in the Philippines is both an effort done by the government and non-profit organizations. The country has a department which focuses mainly on social work and community development and one of the famous efforts is the CCT or conditional cash transfer which relies on giving the people an amount of money.

Both models presented here are charity models which can do little for the development of an individual. We need a better and more sustainable model through empowerment. It is hard work but it pays off in the long term.

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