One of the best things about social work is the common passion to help the vulnerable members of our society, that brings together people from all walks of life. We are all united by a drive to help support people during times of difficulty; and that is what makes One Stop Social hugely passionate about our community. One organisation who is furthering this mission of unity across social work is ZUKSWA, who we proudly welcome as corporate members of OSS Membership. Officially dubbed the Zimbabwe UK Social Workers Association, the service has recently grown to include non-Zimbabwean practitioners, bringing about a change of name to include the UK Social Workers Association, making them now more known as ZUKSWA/UKSWA. As an association they’re out to show social workers in the UK from Zimbabwe and other BME communities that there is a place of support and comradery for them to turn to.
While the UK is built on the strength of people from a whole range of backgrounds, at times our differences do still come into play, and for those who don’t fit into a particular box, it can be a slightly isolating place. Therefore, organisations like ZUKSWA do a great service in catering to the communities who may feel left out. With such polarising political views at the moment, black and minority social workers can have a hard time and face more of a struggle than white practitioners. By accepting these different experiences, we can then all work together to ensure the structures are in place to support practitioners, no matter their background, race, religion or orientation. ZUKSWA/UKSWA work to develop an understanding about the experiences social workers from Zimbabwe and other black communities can bring to the UK, so that practitioners nationwide can learn from foreign ideals and values to develop good practice.
ZUKSWA History & Mission
Established in 2015 by Hilda Chehore, from a desire to fill the gap of support that social workers found both at work and during their studies. She noticed that, unlike other communities, there was no organisation for social workers from Zimbabwe to come together and be there for each other during difficult times. She has since built a team of like-minded practitioners with a range of experiences, all out to help the members of black communities who work in social work in the UK. They work to raise awareness about the struggles that BME students and professionals can face, and the cultural differences which come into play when developing a practice. Hilda and her team hope to eventually work with practitioners from all black communities, to really build a strong support structure for this, at times overlooked, demographic.
ZUKSWA are keen to increase the number of opportunities available to black practitioners, so that race and nationality play less of a role in the recruitment or development process than they currently do. Through training, conferences, networking and meetings ZUKSWA hope to develop the self-esteem of their members and personalise support to the individual needs of the black social worker community. They also act as the voice for BME social workers through a Trade Union, advocating for better placements and guidance for students from minority backgrounds.
How to join
Student social workers and social workers can make self-referrals direct to the organisation. All you need to do is email Hilda or send a message through to 07443850451 to get the process started!
We at One Stop Social work to be the modern voice of front-line practice, representing your views and advocating for the changes that you, our community needs. Hence, we love to see examples of other organisations with the same values as us, like ZUKSWA, working to raise awareness and educate the UK social work sector about the differences that should unite us, not divide us. The best thing is, they don’t want to take on this mission alone. ZUKSWA are looking to work in partnership with universities, local authorities, charities and other organisations so that the entire social work sector can become a more inclusive and fairer place to work for BME professionals.
As Hilda commented to us, it’s so important to remember that “the best resource social workers have is each other”. So, whether you’re a BME practitioner or not, let’s echo that sentiment in everything we do, and show each other the consideration and support we show our service users.
Are you interested in becoming corporate members of OSS Membership like ZUKSWA, so that your organisation can start enjoying the rewards, benefits and more importantly, be an active player in defining the future of social work? If so, then get in touch with our team so that we can start to build you a bespoke package to suit your needs and budget.