What Is Social Work and Why Is It Needed

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“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.” E - Edith Wharton Social work is a profession that helps in improving the quality of life and wellbeing of people or communities. This essay analyses and underpins the understanding of the nature of social work from diverse perspectives. It also throws light on the need for social work and on the multiple social issues necessitating social work contribution. Social work is a broad concept .It does not have a definite connotation. To a common man social work means philanthropy or charity. It can be defined according to a person’s outlook on social work. According to Sheppard, social work is the occupying space ‘between the mainstream and the marginal society’ (Sheppard, 2006). The social work profession promotes social change, problem-solving in human relationships, and the empowerment and liberation of people to enhance well-being. Utilising theories of human behaviour and social systems, social work intervenes at points where people interact with their environments. Principles of human rights and social justice are fundamental to social work (IFSW, 2000). O’Connor et al (2006, p 9) in their definition of social work and social care, on the ‘interaction between individuals and social arrangements’ highlighted the promotion of equitable relationships and the development of people’s power and control over their own lives. Zastro (2004), expresses the goal of social welfare as fulfilling ‘the social, financial, health and recreational requirements of all individuals in the society.’ According to Solas, a...
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