SOCIAL WORKER GOES THE EXTRA MILE TO ASSIST CLIENTS IN SHELTER

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Social worker Keamogetswe Masemola at Wembley Homeless Shelter

By Madali Chibambu

  • Keamogetswe Masemola (37), a dedicated social worker at the Wembley Homeless Shelter in Johannesburg South under the Gauteng Department of Social Development, finds deep fulfilment in facilitating positive changes in the lives of homeless men, a task she approaches with dedication and compassion.
  • Transitioning from a career aspiration in financial management to social work due to financial constraints, Masemola’s commitment to making a difference led her to the Wembley shelter, where she tirelessly assists clients in rebuilding their lives by offering support in job readiness and family reunification.
  • Despite the challenges of building trust with clients and facing potential rejection when reuniting them with their families, Masemola finds immense reward in witnessing her clients successfully reintegrate into society through employment opportunities and reconnection with loved ones, embodying the core values of social work.

Keamogetswe Masemola (37) is a social worker employed by the Gauteng Department of Social Development, based at the Wembley Homeless Shelter in Johannesburg South.

Masemola finds fulfilment in her work with homeless men, noting that witnessing positive changes in her clients brings her joy and satisfaction. She adds that she always goes the extra mile when assisting her clients because no one ever wants to see himself in a shelter. Masemola’s career as a social worker started at Ikusasalethu, a non-profit organisation until she got a permanent post at the Gauteng Department of Social Development.

“As a teenager, I wanted to be a financial manager, but due to a lack of funds, I then opted for social work through Unisa. When I joined the Wembley homeless shelter, I told myself that I was here to change people’s lives regardless of gender,” says Masemola.

“Meeting a client for the first time without knowing his background is one of the biggest challenges, especially for male clients. Firstly, you must build trust with one another before going deep into serious issues,” she explains.

“As soon as you win his trust, that’s when you realise that they are not just homeless, but they also have a good background, and some of them are educated. I always assist with drafting their CVs, preparing them for job interviews, and making sure that they are ready.”

Masemola expresses that the most rewarding aspect of her work is witnessing her clients sign out after securing employment. Additionally, she undertakes the challenging task of reuniting clients with their families at the shelter, despite facing difficulties due to potential rejection.

Her advice to new Social Workers is to put more effort into their work and put their feelings aside because they will be working with vulnerable people. “As social workers, we have the belief that a client should be respected regardless of their situation.”

Masemola highlights that Social Work Month is a very special moment where they celebrate their profession and everything they have achieved.

Picture taken by Madali Chibambu

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