You might’ve read in our Advocacy 101 article that the families and children we serve are tended to by social workers. But, what exactly is a social worker and how do we go about finding the right ones for our communities?
Wando’s social workers are actually community members who have a passion for serving others. We assign social workers to students and their job is to ensure the students are well tended to, that their needs are met and that communication between the advocate and their student is kept open.
One of the key ways we keep communication open with social workers is by giving each one an iPad. This allows them to quickly and easily send updates and high quality photos and Skype with our team here in the U.S. without issue.
Through relationships with community leaders and community elders, we’ve been able to nurture these special people in the Jinja community and train and equip leaders to come alongside their community members and help nurture them emotionally, physically and spiritually.
While our goal is to care for the community, we also work incredibly hard to make sure children stay with their families if possible. Several of the children we took in at our babies home (baby Martha, baby Elijah, Alonyo Natasha, Namara Edrine and Mary Grace Aloya) have in fact been able to return home to their families after staying with us. This is primarily because we seek to care for the families holistically. It isn’t just about the parent or the child, rather both.
Social workers have the unique opportunity to get to know the families of the children they care. They meet in their homes, pray with them and get a clear understanding of what their needs are. Because we serve families who live on less than $1 a week our primary object is to truly know them and understand their needs. Since our social workers are from the community and understand the culture and the language, regular meetings and a clear understanding of the needs of each family is much easier to get.
When it comes to finding the best people to care for the community, there is no one better than those who come from the community. As we train and equip these community members to lead and nurture their neighbors, we continually learn how we as an organization can make the biggest difference for both current and future generations in Uganda.