PASSION TURNS TO A SOCIAL WORK PROFESSION

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Social Auxiliary Worker Thandiwe Nogomela from Heidelberg Office during Social Work Day celebration at Gold Reef City

By Tendamudzimu Goza

  • Thandiwe Nofemela’s journey in social work began in 2007 as a stipend volunteer for the National Youth Services under the Gauteng Department of Social Development. Despite her contract stipulating four-hour workdays, her passion for helping beneficiaries drove her to exceed these hours regularly, dedicating extra time to her role.
  • Transitioning from a stipend volunteer to a social auxiliary worker in 2008, Nofemela pursued further qualifications in social auxiliary work, earning a higher certificate. Her commitment and dedication led to her securing a permanent position as a social auxiliary worker in July 2009, where she remains dedicated to aiding clients.
  • Embodying the principles of dignity, respect, and non-judgment, Nofemela emphasizes the importance of treating each client uniquely. Inspired by her supportive colleagues, she is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Social Work degree at the University of South Africa and mentors others while studying, aiming to become a qualified social worker.

Thandiwe Nofemela is a social auxiliary worker from the Heidelberg office. Her journey began back in 2007 when she joined the Gauteng Department of Social Development as a stipend volunteer for the National Youth Services. According to her contract, she was allocated four hours of work per day, but her passion for her role led her to consistently exceed this limit, dedicating additional hours to assist as many beneficiaries as possible.

Her passion for the social work profession grew and she also started seeing herself as a future social worker. In 2008, Nofomela obtained leadership to pursue social auxiliary work from the department. This was an opportunity she took seriously, and upon completion, she was awarded a higher certificate in social auxiliary work. During the same year, she scored an interview for a permanent position as a social auxiliary worker in July 2009.

“Being a social auxiliary worker means that I am an agent of change who has a love for people and dedication to assist clients at all times. I give information, link clients with resources, and direct clients to the relevant social workers,” said Nofomela.

Her job involves screening clients and creating files to refer them to the intake social workers for further intervention. She also conducts home visits, does assessments, and compiles progress reports. Furthermore, she does presentations for the department’s events.

Nofomela said that a social auxiliary worker, “Must treat every client with dignity and respect, understand that they are unique, and be non-judgmental.” She adds that it is important to be non-judgmental and respectful, she saw this when she had to deal with alcohol abuse. “I struggled with alcohol consumption at some stage, and I am now happy to say that social workers who were in my circle or team were very supportive and always maintained social worker principles and values when helping me deal with my alcohol abuse,” she said.

Nofomela added that the professionalism of her social worker colleagues inspired her to further her studies and become a social worker like them. This led her to register for a Bachelor of Social Work at the University of South Africa, and she is now studying towards her final year and on her way to becoming a qualified social worker.

When she is not studying for her social work qualification, she is being mentored to be a life coach. Nofomela’s advice to those who are in pursuit of the social auxiliary and social worker professions is to have a sincere interest in people, have a belief in people’s potential, and be good at communicating with people.

Picture taken by Eric Malema

 

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