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SOCIAL WORK IS NOT A PROFESSION BUT A CALLING SAYS MOKOENA

March is not just a month where winter transitions to spring; it is also a time to celebrate and honour the invaluable contributions of Social Workers around the world. Established to recognize the tireless efforts and significant impact of these dedicated professionals, Social Work Month serves as a beacon of appreciation and acknowledgment for those who work tirelessly to uplift individuals, families, and communities in need.

As a seasoned Social Worker at the Gauteng Department of Social Development, specializing in the statutory unit, Mokoena Mathonkha’s journey has been a blend of education, challenge, and deep fulfillment. Since obtaining her Bachelor’s degree from North-West University in 2019, she has dedicated herself to serving children and families, striving to provide them with the support and guidance they need. 

Mokoena’s work revolves around keeping families together, with the ultimate goal of ensuring the safety and well-being of every child under her care. She believes in a bottom-up approach, advocating for comprehensive developmental services that address the root causes of the challenges faced by her clients. 

However, like many in her professions, Mokoena faces obstacles such as high caseloads, resource limitations, and inadequate tools of trade. 

These challenges hinder her ability to provide the level of service she strives for, yet she remains committed to overcoming them in pursuit of her mission. 

When asked about her inspiration for choosing social work, Mokena’s response was heartfelt. She sees social work as more than just a career ― it’s a calling, she says. 

The satisfaction of helping others, particularly those who may never be able to repay the kindness, drives her forward. For Mokoena, witnessing individuals transform and become self-sufficient is the greatest reward.

In her specialized areas of intake and fieldwork, Mokoena has encountered diverse cases, each presenting its own set of complexities. One notable example is a case involving a child athlete participating in an international event. Despite time constraints, Mokoena’s diligent efforts, in collaboration with relevant stakeholders, ensured the child’s safe travel and participation in the event. 

Mokoena’s approach to working with clients is rooted in both systemic and developmental perspectives. She views individuals within the context of their social environment, recognizing the interconnectedness of relationships and the potential for holistic growth and well-being. 

Central to Mokoena’s work practice, is the integration of social justice principles. She upholds the inherent dignity and worth of every individual, fostering an environment of respect and inclusivity. For Mokoena, promoting social justice is essential, especially in her work with children, as it lays the foundation for a healthier and more equitable society. 

In managing the emotional demands of her work, Mokoena prioritizes self-care through a balanced approach. She engages in fun activities, sets personal goals, and seeks institutional support through case discussions and conferences with colleagues and supervisors. 

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To stay up-to-date on developments in her field, Mokoena actively pursues continuous learning. She attends departmental trainings, keeps well-informed of legislative changes, and stays informed through blogs and podcasts covering relevant social work topics. 

In the face of challenges, Mokoena exemplifies resilience, dedication, and compassion. Her unwavering commitment to serving vulnerable populations shines as a beacon of hope, inspiring others to join her in the noble pursuit of social justice and well-being for all.

SOURCED FROM THE GPG WEBSITE.

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