Ellah Mukwati Herald Reporter
More than 10 000 refugees and asylum seekers are currently staying in the country’s refugee camps and urban areas, Public Service, Labour and Social Services Minister Priscah Mupfumira has said.
Minister Mupfumira said this on Friday during celebrations to mark the International Day of the Social Workers.
“Zimbabwe recognises the strength and resilience of all those displaced by war, persecution and human rights abuses in pursuit of peace, safety and stability,” she said.
“It is Government’s prime responsibility to care and support its valuable citizens, through social service provision.
“However, without, the complementary services from other stakeholders, where social workers are engaged, Government alone would not be able to fully meet the needs of the vulnerable groups. Thus social work is vital.”
Minister Mupfumira said social workers play a pivotal role in the society.
“It is from this view point that the social work profession is associated with serving society, through working with individuals, families and other groups of communities.
“Society therefore expects the social worker to be a catalyst, to bring about the desired positive change,” she said.
“The ordinary person in the street will always expect that some good will come out of every contact with a social worker.
“It is therefore imperative that the social work profession be dynamic to keep pace with changes in society.”
National Association of Social Workers president Mr Aaron Zinyanya commended Government for the support accorded to the sector.
“We recognise the good work that the Government has done and continues to do for the fulfilment of this theme.
“Government has put in place legislative, institutional and programme mechanisms to promote the worth and dignity of our peoples,” he said.
“Recently we had a landmark ruling banning child marriages and to us as social workers this issue is more social than legal and there is need for a lot of social mobilisation and conscientisation in our communities and social workers come in handy.”
Dr Gidraph Wairire from Kenya said there was need to look at the root causes of displacements of people in the process of helping them.
“Refugees and displaced persons are like any other people only that they thrive in extremely difficult circumstances as a result of the experiences that force them into such situations,” he said.
“Social work has an inseparable role in not only enabling them to deal with their situations but also in addressing the root causes responsible for displacement of people in our respective societies.”
This year’s commemorations ran under the theme “Promoting the Dignity and Worth of Peoples Focusing on Refugees and Displaced Persons”.