As one of our initiatives in Global Social Work Finland, we are happy to share our reflections and knowledge related to social work. Thus, we were excited to be invited to participate in TAMK International – Eye On TAMK 2021 (Tampere University of Applied Sciences) online week. The event was arranged completely online and there were teacher, students and presenters participating. Global Social Work Finland participated on the program of Social services.
In our presentation we were four social work professionals sharing our thoughts, experiences and reflections about social work on a global level and in such context. During our presentation, we came into an empowering and astonishing realization: in our association there is so much professional knowledge and ground level understanding about social work. And about the world as its context, as well. We were just four people presenting, but still from very different perspectives:
One of us has social work experience for decades, a deep understanding of the history and development of social work in the welfare system, but also from the perspective of scientific research. In the session, she was sharing her story of how meeting other people from different backgrounds and cultures had been her passion since a very young age, and by persistency she was able to find her path to it. She became a social work professional. By studying social work related studies, working in the field, by participating in international conferences and engaging in research lead her to meet people from various cultures and parts of the world. To hear and share each other’s views and understanding – and to see it’s value and power.
Additionally, two of us are currently working as a social worker (sosiaalityöntekijä) and a social counsellor (sosionomi) in social services. They work in different sectors of social work and in varied tasks, but still sharing the same values and objectives. Both of them had also been in an exchange or doing voluntary work in Tanzania and engaging with local communities there. That led to a great opportunity to reflect together the similar experiences: to help someone is to stand with them and not just trying to tell what should be done. As a human to human. Also, the fourth of us currently works as a senior lecturer and international coordinator in the degree program of Social services. Thus, being in contact constantly with future social welfare professionals and their reality. She has a great viewpoint to current studies of social services, but also a nice position for addressing global issues in the studies.
There were a couple of dozens of students participating in the online session. The questions and reflections shared were great. The world-wide pandemia has narrowed significantly the possibilities for students to go abroad at the moment. Still, the point of widening one’s perspectives by meeting other people here in Finland and online was addressed to have become especially important among students. Also, the fact that solidarity, empathy and standing along with people from various backgrounds doesn’t neseccarily demand meetings face-to-face in these times of communication. Also, the international programme provided by TAMK/TUNI was addressed as one opportunity to engage and meet up with people from everywhere.
Despite sharing the activities of Global Social Work Finland, we came into a deeper conclusion in the online session. Humanity. It got emphasized that to actively remember that we are all humans first, is vitally important. It is not important only from human rights and social justice perspectives, but also as social work professionals. In social work field we engage with different kinds of people and our task is to help and support them. Some are similar to us, from similar backgrounds, while some have lived a life we cannot even imagine. And still, to keep in mind that each person is first human, no matter the way we are and what we do. This conclusion was greatly reflected by the students, in the session.
Thank you to all participants for such rich and valuable discussions together and for TAMK/TUNI for this opportunity!
ps. Global Social Work has just formed the new board for the year 2021. If you are interested in our activities, please don’t hesitate to contact us 🙂