This World Social Work Day, Department of Human Services’ staff member, Yasmin, reflects on why she became a social worker.
“Over the years, I’ve seen many people living in poverty and homelessness, with chronic health issues and unresolved inter-generational trauma,” Yasmin said.
“That’s made me very socially conscious and gravitate towards work that helps people meet their basic human needs.”
Yasmin’s background is Arrernte, Mudburra and Arabana, as well as Irish and Afghani tracing back to train line workers and cattle drovers across the Northern Territory. She spent her childhood in Alice Springs where she developed a strong desire to support others.
“Growing up in Alice, I wasn’t in the most privileged position but I always had a roof over my head and food in my belly,” Yasmin said.
Yasmin joined the department as a cadet in 2011 and has been in a social worker role for four years. She’s also a member of the National Indigenous Social Work Group, which was formed by the department’s social workers in 2009 to improve recruitment and retention of Indigenous social workers.
“The group aims to promote culturally safe and responsive social work practices with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and inspire our social work colleagues and the broader organisation to truly hear and understand their voices,” Yasmin said.
“While all the department’s social workers strive to understand the cultural responsibilities and barriers impacting people they serve, Indigenous social workers can provide vital insight and knowledge from our own lived experiences of culture, kinship and connection to country.
“Whenever we can, we try to extend our knowledge and provide other staff opportunities to learn and adapt a more culturally competent service.”
Yasmin has high hopes that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representation will continue to grow in social work services.
“I can’t recommend this line of work enough,” she said. “It’s so rewarding to help people recognise their own resilience and resourcefulness and take back control of their situation.
“The more Indigenous social work perspectives we have in the department, the better.”