Commemorating International Social Workers Day at the University of Fort Hare

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The Department of Social Work at the University of Fort Hare (UFH) continued its tradition of commemorating International Social Workers Day (ISWD) with an enlightening event held at the Miriam Makeba Arts Centre on the East London campus recently.
Observed every third Tuesday of March, the ISWD serves as a platform to recognize and honour the invaluable contributions of social workers worldwide in combating social injustices, poverty, discrimination, and other societal challenges.
This year's theme, "Shared Future for Transformative Change," highlighted the collaborative approach needed to address ongoing societal issues.
Sharing some background to the day, Mr Sifingo Mbona, Lecturer and fourth-year course coordinator at the Department said the origins of ISWD trace back to 1983 when the International Federation of Social Workers United Nations Representatives, led by Jack A Kamaiko, proposed the initiative to bring attention to the crucial role of social workers on a global scale. “Since then, the United Nations has designated March as the month dedicated to acknowledging the tireless efforts of social workers and advocating for social change.”
In attendance, were members of the University community, including students from various departments, displaying the spirit of inclusivity and solidarity.
Delivering the keynote address, Dr Kim Schmidt, Head of the Department of Social Work emphasized the importance of collective action in fostering positive societal transformations. The event also featured valued contributions from the Student Counseling Unit (SCU), Gender-Based Violence Prevent Unit (GBVPU), and SANCA (South African National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence) East London, shedding much-needed light on topics affecting students on campus.
Highlighting the importance of the profession, some of the students shared their stories of resilience and dedication to making a difference in their communities. In addition, the South African Council for Social Services Council assisted social work students in taking the Social Workers Oath of Practice, reaffirming their commitment to ethical and professional conduct.
Mr Mbona extended gratitude to the organizing committee comprising four social work honours students, Melisa Nkombise, Unathi Sidinile, Nompumelelo Dladla, and Siphokuhle Sofeya who worked alongside him to make the event a success.
“We are also grateful for the unwavering support from staff at the Department and the Faculty of Social Sciences & Humanities which highlighted the importance of collective effort to uphold the principles of social justice and empowerment.”
“The event echoed the sentiment encapsulated in the phrase, Aluta continua; vitória é certa - the struggle continues, but victory is certain, reinforcing the commitment to creating a more equitable and just society, one where the transformative power of social work continues to be recognized and celebrated,” Mbona concluded.