SPD’s Community and Social Service Department (CSSD) comprises social workers or case management officers. They are professionals who put on multiple hats in order to help persons with disabilities and their caregivers lead more fulfilling lives. Our senior social worker Junaidah Baharawi shares with UPDATES why she became a social worker and her journey thus far.
People join social work for many reasons. For me, it was an opportunity that I chanced upon.
Social work was foreign to me back then as no one in my family was a social worker and neither was I exposed to that field of work during my school days.
I had graduated from a local polytechnic with a Diploma in Business Administration. I was not ambitious and the only important thing to me was to find a job so I could help my father, who was the sole breadwinner. I had four other school-going siblings then.
I first worked at a student care centre as an assistant to the supervisor in managing the children and conducting activities for them. Being a greenhorn in the workforce, it was very challenging for me, especially having to manage the children when they misbehaved. I was often very curious as to why the children behaved the way they did and was usually told that it was related to some family issues.
I had always wanted to help those children but I did not have the skills or the expertise to do so then. I was told that only social workers could help them. I saw the social workers in action, talking to the families in the counselling room but not knowing what was actually happening behind those closed doors. That was an eye opener and the start of my journey to becoming a social worker.
It has been thirteen years and I still enjoy helping, empowering and advocating for people who need my help and expertise, and I intend to continue doing so. I really appreciate everyone who has allowed me to enter into their personal realm, trusting me to journey with them as we overcome challenges together. It is an indescribable experience and feeling, being able to help a person in need.
Through the clients, I am able to reflect on myself and on how I can improve as a professional, as well as to really be grateful for all my blessings.
To me, social work is about helping others. My slogan has, and will continue to be, “what you have, you give, and you will get back”.