LUMEN Issue 3 - June 2012 | Page 23

As social workers we are not superheroes but are enablers .

As social workers we are not superheroes but are enablers .

went the extra mile to get to know their students and their problems instead of merely fulfilling their teaching duties . Having been on the receiving end of strong fraternity support provided by his classmates and form tutor who visited him on the very day that his father passed on , he feels it is only right he passes this on – something his role as a social worker enables him to do naturally .
While Fareez is ever ready to extend that hand of help to his clients he maintains a fine balance between the social work ideal of ‘ doing no harm ’ to the family and preserving the relationship he has with the clients ’ parents , especially if the clients are minors . In cases of child protection and suicidal ideation , he often finds decision making a challenge . He explained , “ When I feel that children might be at risk , I may have to link the children to the Child Protection Services under the Ministry of Community Development Youth and Sports , an action which may make the children ’ s parents become upset with me .” The other thing he needs to keep in check is also that of managing his own emotional involvement with his cases . There is always the temptation to come into the family system and take over certain functions of the family members , but this action can in fact be disempowering for the family , and create dependence on the social worker . Hence , Fareez continually reminds himself : “ As social workers we are not superheroes but are enablers .”
So has receiving the Most Promising Social Worker Award 2011 changed Fareez in any way ? He said , “ Winning the award is just an added bonus on top of what I should already be doing as a social worker ,” but more importantly , he
added , “ It ’ s a win for the social workers in my entire agency ( The Ang Mo Kio Family Service Centres ) as we have worked hard to ensure high standards of service delivery for our clients .” If he had his way , he would rather give an award to all social workers as he feels their jobs are tough and many people are doing a lot of good work out in the field .
As we were about to part ways , he mentioned , “ Now that the so called excitement is over , it ’ s back to work and doing what I love .” Spoken like a true blue superhero .
This page ( top ): Fareez receiving his award from the President
This page ( bottom ): At his 1997 cohort ' s 10th year reunion Facing Page : Fareez and some of his 4C1 classmates