Being a Social Worker
I became a licensed social worker 16 years ago. Throughout these years, I have learned that the measurement of being effective is not on how long we have been working but on how we touched the lives of others. I have worked with different agencies in Mindanao, been assigned to different far-flung areas where the only mode of transportation was a single motor. Through those experiences, my skill in doing community organizing and in dealing with people in different walks of life was honed. I learned to be flexible, to be more understanding and patient when the situation calls for it. I learned to be more emphatic but at the same time be able to detach myself from many emotions so that I can be more objective in my decisions.
Working with World Vision now as Program Officer is the coming together of all the lessons I learned in the past as a social worker. Advocating for the betterment of children in the communities of Misamis Occidental and helping ensure that their parents and their communities are able to support their well-being is humbling. The need in many communities in Mindanao is massive but this calling reminds me that this world is still full of kindness. In one of the schools that World Vision works with, we have recently constructed three units of communal toilet. The installation of a water facility is also on the works. Imagine the number of children who had to endure months and years of not having all these. Think about the consequences of lack of water to their health. Thank God for generous donors and partners, we are able to make a difference in these areas. As a social worker, I live for moments like this – seeing positive changes in the communities.
This calling is not always easy though. I love working for the children because I am also a mother. There are times, however, when I can’t be with my own kids because of this. My children grew up seeing me only during weekends. I would travel for six hours every Friday afternoon and go back to work in the early morning of Mondays. There was a time when I went home and cried hard when, upon entering our home, I saw my youngest child already walking. I wasn’t there when he was learning how to do it. I am one of the happiest mothers when the organization implemented the work from home initiative every Friday. That meant more time for my children to see me around the house.
I know there is so much more to learn, more heartbreaks and probably bumpy roads ahead, but this is a calling I’d gladly respond to every waking day. Despite all the challenges in our profession, hearing thank you from the community is enough. Seeing their lives transform for the better and knowing that God is pleased and honored with it is my reward.
Written by: Jhoy Maung / Misamis Occidental Program Officer / World Vision