2021 World Social Work Day: “Macau Social Work under Pandemic”
A symposium with the theme “Macau Social Work under Pandemic” was held to celebrate 2021 World Social Work Day.
The World Social Work Day is an annual event that provides opportunities for social workers and others in the social service sector to celebrate their achievements and raise awareness and support to advance human well-being. 2021 World Social Work Day was celebrated on the 16th of March, 2021, the third Tuesday of March, with the theme “Ubuntu”, meaning to strengthen social solidarity and global connectedness. This year, the Social Welfare Bureau has authorised the Social Work Professional Committee, coordinating with schools and associations, to organise a symposium with the theme “Macau Social Work under Pandemic”. It was held at the Clementina Leitão Ho Brito Theatre. The two topics discussed in the symposium were “social innovation during the pandemic” and “the pandemic’s effect on mental health”.
Professionals from different fields of local social service agencies shared their experiences and challenges with service innovation during the pandemic, attracted over 200 audiences. As the sudden virus outbreak brought a halt to many of the social services, many service users lost access to the usual services. Covid-19 also severely impacted disadvantaged groups such as the unemployed, foreign workers, and people with disabilities and their families. In response to this situation, many agencies embraced online counselling, workshops, and events to help service users maintain their routine.
The Social Work Department of the University of Saint Joseph (USJ) is one of the seven co-organisers of the event. The Rector of USJ, Prof. Stephen Morgan, and the Dean of the Faculty of Social Science and Education (FSSE), Prof. Elisa Monteiro, were invited to attend the opening ceremony. The rector was also invited to the stage to announce the topic of the event alongside other distinguished guests from local agencies. The head of the USJ Social Work Department, Prof. Ning Tang, and member of the Macau Professional Council of Social Workers, coordinated the entire event. Social work year 3 students took the main lead in designing and monitoring the opening ceremony, with Mr. Andrew Wong and Mr. Peter Kuan as the group leaders, and Ms. Camille Leong as the English MC.
The event offered a unique opportunity for social work students to gain insight into the contemporary challenges of local social work and were also able to obtain practical experiences in working with local agencies, strengthening their understanding and connection to the social work profession.
Another part of the event: Social work students’ gathering in the evening at USJ green campus. Social work students from the Macau Polytechnic Institute organised the gathering, around 80 social work students from USJ, MPI, and City University of Macau participated.
Author: BSW Year 2 Student, Cater Chon