Gisborne social workers acknowledged the impact of the tragic Christchurch massacre on the victims and their families at a gathering at EIT this week.
EIT social work lecturer Sarah Elliott said that in coming together to acknowledge their profession for World Social Workers Day, their hearts were going out to the Christchurch community and enormous amount of suffering unleashed there.
She also paid tribute to their Canterbury colleagues, acknowledging the huge workload they faced in the days, weeks and months ahead helping people to work through grief and trauma.
The theme for World Social Work Day was “Promoting the Importance of Human Relationships.”
In the words of Aotearoa NZ Association of social workers president Sally Dalhousie, social workers knew well that connectivity and relationships between people could play a major role in changing the lives of people who had been marginalised, were experiencing isolation.
“We are standing in unity working toward social justice,” Sarah Elliott told the lunch gathering.
The group included EIT social work degree students and social workers from a broad spectrum of Gisborne groups providing social support. They included those working for Hauora Tairāwhiti in areas such as grief counselling, oncology, family violence and child protection. Others worked as social workers in schools, intellectual disability and organisations such as Te Hapara Whānau Aroha Centre and Te Pa Harakeke (Tairāwhiti Children’s Team). Introducing themselves, they all spoke of a passion for working with people, and a desire to make a difference, particularly for those who were vulnerable.
Many of them were past students and later graduates of EIT.
Sarah Elliott told them that as a lecturer, she wanted to inspire the social workers of tomorrow.
At a time of national sorrow, the work and professional practices of social workers was highlighted more than ever.