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Profile of a VWA Volunteer - Abi, Social Care Programme

Profile of a VWA Volunteer - Abi, Social Care Programme

Date Posted: 17/06/2015
If you are interested in volunteering in Africa with VWA, read about Abi's experience in selecting and arriving with VWA....
Hi. I'm Abi. I have recently completed my second year of degree study, training to become a qualified Social Work professional. I have one final year of study left before I qualify and embark upon the beginning of my career. During my studies at home I have undertaken two work placements; one situated within Children's Services, fundamentally working with children and their families legally considered in need of social service intervention and support to ensure the children's wellbeing and welfare remain paramount. Additionally offering parents support to promote that the children remain within the domestic home, delineated within Human Right's legislation. My recent placement was spanned across both children and adults services within a team directed to supporting young people aged 16-25 with a diagnosed learning disability transition through this dynamic period of their life trajectory. This placement required close collaboration between health, education and agencies for employment to ensure the smooth transition and continuity for young people. I guess that because I've had experiences within a robust system, governed by an ever-changing system of legislation, policies and procedures I was fascinated with experiencing this expertise in a divergent country. 

I was hoping to support Volunteer West Africa, predominantly through working with the Children's Day Centre project, by producing social care documentation, encapsulating the opposing cultural and structural from back at home, to formulate a process of monitoring the developments of each child and their transition and disengage from the support they receive from VWA onto the big wide world of Primary Education within Governmental Schooling. I also feel that being an active member of a family that fosters children 'Looked-After' by the Local Authority at home, I have had varying experiences with children from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds and hold a keen interest in widening my knowledge and involvements in other countries and communities to improve my understandings. I'm hoping that my previous work placements, workload and practice experiences with writing legal documentation derived towards care planning, working directly with children and their families, allow me to bring a holistic all inclusive view towards supporting children and their families within the communities VWA support and helping to formulate documentation that allows for monitoring and a reviewing process of social care development issues as well as hoping to produce a transition process that allows a seamless conversion from the support provided from VWA to family's ownership of their children's continuing education. 

I also have been tasked with supporting VWA to arrange a partnership with the Local School for Deaf and Hearing Impaired young people in Ghana; I hope that my experience with a close family member who experiences a hearing impairment and my understanding and awareness of British Sign Language will be a valued asset to allow communication, however I remain eager to learn and develop my own skills to sign! Around university I work part time in an adult psychiatric hospital and hold a keen interest in child and adolescent mental health; I remain eager to understand the system here in Ghana that supports individuals experiencing mental health problems, and remain mindful that research I have undertaken may be of value if working with young people with identity confusion and mental health issues resulting from their sensory impairment. 

I hope that the 4 weeks I have here at VWA are meaningful in positively impacting upon the local community VWA supports. At present I'm aware that there is a basic process or focus upon social care and I am hopeful that through developing documentation allows for close developmental monitoring for the children within the VWA Day Centre Nursery in Oshieye and the transition and future planning for parents once their children reach primary school age and require formal governmental education. Through doing this I hope to closely interact with the local community, children and their parents, comprehending the vast difference in culture here compared to back at home. I also remain optimistic that my involvement with the House of Grace School for Deaf and Hearing Impaired Children initiates the beginning of a valued partnership that offers support to a specialised school for children that could remain socially isolated from the wider community due to their impairments. 

So far, VWA have completely exceeded my expectations. Having been here for a week, from the start of my placement here I have been amalgamated into a very friendly welcoming team and accepted as a skilled team member, as opposed to a stereotypical 'volunteer'. I really appreciate that we are trusted as skilled individuals with a workload and are able to use our own initiative to complete specified work tasks and I have been able to get stuck in straight away!

Thanks VWA!
Author: Volunteer West Africa

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