GIS – 5 December 2013: Chairpersons and Members of Social Welfare Committees from the 57 Social Welfare Centres across the island gathered this morning for a Conference on the theme: ‘Social Work Challenges and the Way Forward’. The Minister of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare, Mrs Mireille Martin, was present at the Conference.
The event, held at the Conference Room, MSIRI, Réduit, was organised by the Ministry of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare. Its main objective was to provide a platform for discussions and the elaboration of the 2014 action plan as regards the list of activities and projects to be implemented in the social welfare centres next year.
In her opening address, the Minister of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare stated that the Conference provided an opportunity for participants not only to develop the yearly plan of activities of the social centres and to share experiences and perspectives but also to build their capacity in order to offer high quality services to the community. She recalled that activities at the centres should be geared towards empowering communities by providing them with the relevant tools and skills to contribute to the country’s social, cultural and economic development. She pointed out that though members of the Social Welfare Committees are volunteers and representatives of civil society, they should understand clearly their roles and responsibilities and deliver their tasks accordingly while also operating within a result-oriented framework.
According to Mrs Martin, in light of challenges posed by loss of moral, social and family values, the group activities organised by social welfare centres should focus on strengthening family values and reinforcing family bonds. She also called for more children- and youth-centred after-school community-based activities. ‘The social welfare centres should become an extension of the family, providing a safe and secure environment for the development and growth children and youth’, she added. To that endeavour, the Minister urged participants to develop partnership and work in close collaboration with officers of the ministry as well as other public and private sectors and Non-governmental organisations.
During the Conference, Mr Ibrahim Koodoruth, Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Mauritius, made a presentation on Social Work: challenges and opportunities, where he advocated the need to change social work so that it can match the country’s expectations for high quality, accessible, responsible and personalised services.
It is to be recalled that the mission of the 57 Social Welfare Centres operating under the aegis of the Ministry of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare is to promote the well-being of community residents within three to five miles of the centres. The activities organised by the centre target different-age groups: children, youth, men, women, persons with disabilities, elder persons, families and other vulnerable groups.
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