Social Work Students field trip to UGAMM and FOAM





Students from BSW Year 1 visited two local social agencies, UGAMM (União Geral das Associações dos Moradores de Macau) and FOAM (Macao Federation of Neighborhood Associations) during their course of “Community Organising”.

Author: BSW Year 1 Student, Samanda Deng

On November 18 & 25, 2021, students from year 1 Bachelor of Social Work Programme, accompanied by Prof. Helen Liu from the Faculty of Social Sciences and Education (FSSE) visited two local social agencies, UGAMM (União Geral das Associações dos Moradores de Macau) and FOAM (Macao Federation of Neighborhood Associations).  

During the course” Community Organising” of our two visiting experiences, it allowed us to identify our goal and the path that we will be taking in order to achieve them.  Within hours of arrival, we had discovered that the demands of society were much larger than what has been portrayed to us in our shielded and comfortable community, our eyes were shocked by the disparity between the reality of Macau to that of our imagination.

The social workers were travelling down roads that we were never aware of, the ends of the path were not the tidy small houses we had expected but a call for urgent unmet needs to be answered. 

We were astounded by the urgent needs of individuals who were living just minutes away from my safe and cozy home. These two visiting experience in UGAMM have given us a clear perception of the counselling rooms for a diverse community, and the facilities were filled with remarkable equipment.

Further, through the class of Community Organising we acquired a clear understanding of how the UGAMM cooperates with and manages new local leaders. For example: we had witnessed social workers in UGAMM work towards creating an owners committee in order to manage the community facilities and continuously assist in the development of the community.

Within the organisation of the FOAM, social workers are capable of understanding the needs of the community and work on solutions to enhance and improve the quality of life for individuals in the community. Representatives of the FOAM had provided emergency centres for residents in need of shelter and ensured that the community had efficient water and food supply after the disaster. Furthermore, the FOAM remained in contact with various relevant departments to provide information and continued to mobilise the community.

Overall, this trip has allowed us to be aware of more individuals’ circumstances and how various factors affect them drastically. Further, we have acquired extensive knowledge on how there is high potential that individuals’ circumstances can change enormously. The tour has exposed us to some of humanity’s most distressing aspects, and it is difficult to pull yourself away from it. But we have begun to recognise the good in basic necessity that previously we took for granted. We are incredibly appreciative for what we have and realised that genuine wealth is not derived from material possessions.