What Does Social Work Mean in Estonia?

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Social Work in Estonia means especially protecting people and giving them a chance to have a more meaningful life. Helping people who are at risk and finding more resources from the government to do a better job and improving the field.

Firstly, Social Work means fighting for peoples rights. In Estonia many elderly people do not know all their rights so social workers has to help them with advice and tell them where they can go if they have some kind of problems with their legal rights.

Secondly, social work means helping people who are at risk to improve their lives with using theories and methods to give them a chance to have a more meaningful life. But in Estonia it is very hard because people don't come to ask help. Social workers have to find these people and give them opportunity to live normal life. Why is it so? People are mostly ashamed of asking help because it means they are weaker than others.

Thirdly, social workers are underpaid in Estonia and our job is not highly rated by the government - therefore there are not enough social workers in Estonia. There should be a social worker in every school, hospital and kindergarten, but the salary is so low that people can earn much more with any kind of other work. As a result almost all workers in this field are women.

Furthermore, the public's opinion about social workers in Estonia is not very indulgent. They think our job is to change bedpans (social worker = nurse). This is because we didn't have Social workers in Soviet Time. A few years ago some people had difficulties understanding the meaning of social workers and their job. But now it is changing because even the national television has a TV-show called "Puutepunkt" witch shows how people with disabilities and other problem are living and solving their problems. This show helps to understand what is the meaning of social worker and how hard is to deal with different problems.
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