Monday, 20 June 2016

When there is a calling, the way will follow

“I’ve come to believe that each of us has a personal calling that’s as unique as a fingerprint – and that the best way to succeed is to discover what you love and then find a way to offer it to others in the form of service, working hard, and also allowing the energy of the universe to lead you.” – Oprah Winfrey

When we choose our careers we often consider the future, the remuneration and the opportunities.  But sometimes we just listen to the calling and we follow a path that leads us to a position where we serve with love and build other people’s lives rather than focus on building big careers.  A dynamic group of ladies manage operations at Child Welfare Tshwane and they embody the phrase, “Charity begins at home, but should not end at home”.  They do their work with compassion and love to ensure that the lives of children in Tshwane improve.

Child Welfare Tshwane (CWT) was established in 1918 to care for vulnerable and orphaned children after the war and is still doing amazing work in the City of Tshwane.  Apart from the 24-hour care facility, the Bramley Child & Youth Care Centre, in Groenkloof, the Organisation also runs service points in Mamelodi, Eersterust, Sunnyside, Elandspoort, Atteridgeville and Olievenhoutbosch.   CWT launched an ECD (early childhood development) program in Sunnyside in April 2015 and have already seen excellent results with the children and families who are part of this program.

At the helm of the Organisation is Linda Nell (60) as Director.  After a positive experience with social work at a young age, she decided that this was the career for her. “I also enjoy working with people, I find them very interesting,” says Linda.  She enjoys her work, especially to motivate and inspire people.  Her personal goals are to always be of value and to be resilient in mind, body and spirit.  To achieve this, she enjoys reading, exercising and cooking.  The one thing she would want to change about the welfare situation in South Africa is the funding as it remains a constant challenge to meet the financial needs related to caring for vulnerable children.   Linda finds motivation from her favourite quote by Sandra van der Merwe “Those who encouraged me to play and cheered me when I did well”.

Winnie Moshupye (49) is Manager: Social Work at Child Welfare.  Her role comprises of overseeing the risk assessment, family preservation and legal protection services are fulfilled to the best standard and quality. Winnie became a social worker because she has a passion for helping people, wants to relief poverty and to help people feel empowered. “The most rewarding part of my work is to see the improvement in the individual development plan of a previously abused child”, says Winnie.  She dreams of one day running a Centre for the aged in Lephalale as she would like to also see the elderly cared for.  Winnie stays healthy by going to gym, running and cycling and enjoys socializing with friends and family.  Her vision for welfare in South Africa is that the system will strive to encourage independency rather than fostering a culture of dependency on the social support systems.  It is not wonder that her favourite saying is “become independent rather than dependent”.

 Babies are often abandoned or made available for adoption and this special program is run by Nina de Caires (48).  Nina always liked all different people and was originally caught by the “social” term of social work and expected something totally different – today, however, she knows that this was her calling.  She is currently Supervisor: Adoption Services and enjoys the diversity of her work.  “Each case is different and you meet many amazing people,” says Nina.  It is her goal to make a difference in the lives of each individual and family she meets and she enjoys the experience of seeing how people’s lives change after an adoption.  She walks a path with the families and has many positive stories to share after many years in different positions with Child Welfare Tshwane.  Nina enjoys walking for fun and to stay healthy.  In her opinion the salaries of social workers should be looked at as many social workers work long hours and also do such important work.  Despite this, her favourite quote comes from Mother Theresa “Never worry about numbers.  Help one person at a time, and always start with the person nearest to you”.

Mary-Jane Motshwane (53) is Supervisor of the Foster Care supervision program, the program supervises children and their families who have been placed in alternative care via a court order by the children’s court. This is to prevent foster children who are at risk not to be abuse or neglected and make sure they are well-cared.  Mary-Jane became a social worker to make a difference in her community, and also assist the less privileged and vulnerable be able to help themselves and not be dependent. Mary-Jane support and guide supervisee in her Program to meet their goals.  She always strives to be a better person and her dream is to see people happy and free from suffering.  To meet the demands of her position she enjoys a bit of gardening to stay healthy.  “I do not go to the gym, but rather do house work – that way my house is in order and clean and I do not feel as if I have wasted time to go out for exercise”, says Mary-Jane.  If she could change the welfare situation in South Africa she would invest in skills development so that, instead of hand-outs, people will rather be trained and able to also give back to the community.  “We need to cultivate pride”, says Mary-Jane when she also explains how the current system encourages dependency.  Mary-Jane believes we should continue dreaming but also take each day as it comes.

Dineo Daly (28 for the past 12 years) is Supervisor: Risk Assessment.   “I relate well to people”, says Dineo when asked why she is a social worker.  “People find me easy to talk to and that helps in our environment”, she continues.  She enjoys knowing that her work has made a difference, even if only in one child’s life.  Dineo dream of the day when she can spend quality time with her family.  “I married for love, because if I had married for money I would have been a stay-at-home mom” says Dineo, whose family is very important to her.  Dineo hopes that someday people will realise their own potential and she believes that the welfare system should help them do that. She likes to be fit and healthy and walks 5km each Saturday.  Dineo finds her spiritual strength in John 1, chapter 4:4: “Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world”.

Yolandi Singleton (30) decided to be a social worker because she has a lot to give and enjoys promoting the self-esteem of children. She is currently heading up the Assessment and Therapy unit at CWT.  The interaction with children is the best part of her day and she feels so strongly about domestic violence that she hopes to one day be part of the work group to re-write the Act.  She wants to help shape the Act to ensure that the victims are protected and get more help.  To stay fit and healthy she enjoys Hip-Hop and walking and she tries to always eat healthy.  Yolandi says one thing she would change about the welfare system will be to get social workers to take more responsibility for cases and not just step away when it seems impossible.  She also believes “do unto others as you would have them do to you”.

Front, from left to right: Winnie Moshupje; Nina de Caires
Back, left to right: Yolandi Singleton, Mary-Jane Motshweni, Helena Willers, Dineo Daly & Linda Nell.
Helena Willers (60) is Manager of Bramley Child & Youth Care Centre.  She chose to be a social worker because she wanted to improve people’s quality of life.   It is rewarding for her to see the progress and change in a child’s life during the time the child spends with Bramley.  Bramley currently provides 24-hour care to 45 children between the ages of 6 and 19.  Helena stays fit by climbing stairs at home and she dreams of travelling more in her life.  If she could change one thing about the welfare situation she would want to see a change in the image of the profession and also more people caring and showing empathy for others.    Her favourite saying is something the children can also benefit from “In this world you can be anything you want to be, but it is important to first be yourself”.

The group dynamics will change when a male colleague will join as Supervisor: ECD and Drop-In Centre program, but for now this group of ladies work diligently and rescue children from potentially harmful conditions and to ensure that they are safe and healthy and that they get the support needed to ensure that each child reaches his or her full potential.  No one can change a bad beginning but we can work towards creating a better future and these ladies are definitely working hard at creating better futures!

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