tiistai 26. toukokuuta 2015

Diversity of realities

On Tuesday, we discussed very topical issues. Dr. Heather Ottaway´s lecture "Conceptualising and working with risk in child protective services: The UK experience" considered speak about social risks and how they are constructed culturally and locally construct. More and more social risks are constructed as they are the responsibility of individual themselves. Ottaway´s lecture emphasized how important it is for a social worker to understand the way the social risks are constructed culturally and locally. Understanding the risks is crucial for being able to help the customers from various with very different backgrounds. We have to take into account the globalization and internationalization in the social work even if it´s not part of our work environment at the moment. The world is getting smaller and one day even the remotest little village in Finland might have inhabitants from another end of the world whose background differs drastically from our own.

The British student panel was about homelessness in the UK. Students reviewed told about their own experiences about working with homeless people. It was astonishing to hear that in UK legislation local authorities do not have a duty to secure housing for all homeless people.  This has resulted in that homelessness is a real problem in the UK. During the Pakistani panel we saw very touching and heart breaking pictures and a video how people live in refugee camps in Pakistan.  Social work has its own unique features in every country, but still all the students share the same goal to take care of people in weaker and unequal position.

What stick into our minds was the discussions how much environment, circumstances and standards of living infects on human rights. In many countries, like in Finland, human rights are mostly taken as for granted, what they are not all globally.  In discussion, we built up the idea of making human rights as a global brand.  Could human rights be as well-known and wanted as CocaCola is nowadays all over the world?

In closing ceremonies, we reflected the contents of the International Summer School 2015. The general opinion of the participants was that the International Summer School 2015 has been a success: the atmosphere has been warm and lectures and panels were educative.  All the participants were inspirited about the possibility to discuss with other people who  are interested in the same issues – the social work. Summer School was awesome experience especially for the students. We got to know the students of social work from all around the world and got new friends, too. We hope that co-operation between universities will continue and there will be International Summer School also in 2016 in Rovaniemi!

As educating and informing the International Summer school has been, we are looking after deeper discussions about the concepts that regard social work. We found out, for example, the concept of wellbeing at the general level as easy to define and understand. For deeper and global level and in social work practice it probably differs hugely between welfare states and developing countries.

Anita Tervo and Pilvikki Harju, Social Work students, University of Lapland, Finland


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