Category: Society

Food for thought…

As a budding sociologist, I found the above article very interesting and thought to share on this blog. Consider the quotes below, from the article…

They say when all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. And the risk is that when every policy adviser is an economist, every problem looks like inadequate per-capita gross domestic product.

Shouldn’t we consider other views, such as sociological views on what is going on in the world, in Zimbabwe, in the US?

Economics is only a piece of a broader, societal problem. So maybe the people who study just that could be worth listening to.

One comment I liked on this post in NY Times:

Mathivanan India March 18, 2017
It’s true. Economy is a social institution. Therefore, economic problems are part of social problems. When economists look into economic problems they generally miss the woods for the tree. Sociologists can see an economic problem in a wider perspective but are not specialists. What we need is multidisciplinary approach.

What do you think?

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My sex appeal is not who I am!

Is it ever possible to live in a world in which a “beautiful” woman can also be regarded as smart, wise and intelligent? I mean, can they ever see past her sex appeal Definition …….to experience the depths she possesses? Is it that once you see her physical beauty, that is all you can focus on?

Is it always that the “beautiful” woman has to live in a world in which men see her and immediately think of sex? That it is largely acceptable because we are just basic creatures acting upon instinct. “Men are visual creatures” …but this is not just a post for men. Women are just as guilty of treating other women as nothing other than physical objects.

I wonder if there are any people left in this world who can see past the physical; who yearn to dance with the mind and soul of a beautiful woman; beautiful both inside and out…People who find beauty in the intelligence and morality of a woman and not just her shell… People who are not intimidated by an intelligent and moral woman but instead are pulled even closer.

For I know she is tired of being defined by her physical beauty. She is so much more than that. As India Irie sang “I am not my hair, I am not my skin, I am not your expectations…” Watch Video

If you are out there and you have any courage to seek a deeper connection, there are still people like us who dare to look beyond the obvious. Delve deeper and ditch the norm.

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The Orchid blooms from the inside…free image from pixabay.com

 

Why I am a feminist…

 

For me, feminism is about justice. I’m a feminist because I want to live in a world that is more just. I’m a feminist because I want to live in a world where a woman is never told that she can or cannot—or should or should not—do anything because she’s a woman. I want to live in a world where men and women are happier, where they’re not constrained by gender roles. I want to live in a world where men and women are truly equal, and that’s why I’m a feminist.  Chimamanda Ngozi Adichiecropped-img_20140905_212111.jpg 

I found this so inspiring and thought to share…

Why I decided to be a mentor…

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Quote by Jason Early

Mentorship is a personal developmental relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person.

Mentorship is something I always had an interest in. In fact, when I was growing up I wanted to be mentored by some successful person. As a highly ambitious person, I knew from a young age, that I wanted to do big things and realised early enough that in order to achieve my dreams, I would need to learn from the best. In essence, that was all I knew about mentorship and I wanted it. I never got to have a personal mentor myself but in all honesty, I had a lot of informal mentors in my home{ my mother being the main one}. I just never had a professional mentor giving of their time to assist me.

Fast forward to 2015…about a decade later, I found myself voluntarily signing up to be someone’s mentor. It was a proud moment and that is why I am blogging about it today.

So why did I do it?

  • I just feel that I have a lot to share with the world and I want to explore as many platforms of doing that as I can in this lifetime. I am all about giving back where I can and it starts with really small efforts to see a change in the world one day.
  • Volunteering is a passion for me and when this opportunity to be a volunteer mentor came up I jumped at the idea.
  • The idea of a young person so hungry for knowledge, especially about my area of expertise #socialwork , excites me. It makes me feel like I am making a difference.
  • I love the feeling that I am responsible for the guidance and personal development of another individual and that they look up to me as someone who can actually be their guide.

My mentee is a recent graduate who is trying to enter the field of social development and wonders how she can do it. I will be working with her for a period of six months and I am so excited to start.

This is an open call to anyone who feels the same passion to share what they know. Join me in the mentorship world. It is fulfilling to be in touch with our humanity and share what we know without expecting anything in return. It is such a refreshing thought in this greedy world we currently live in. Volunteer in your community, mentor some youth today, do something for someone just because…Trust me it is worth it!!!

Drop a comment if you want to know more about how you too can become a mentor.

Transitions…

Tulips

Its been a hectic couple of weeks…what with the submission of my thesis proposal and all. Yes graduate school is no child’s play. I am glad that I can still get some time to write and today I want to talk about a topic that has been on my mind because of my thesis, TRANSITIONS!!!

A bit of boring background…

My thesis is around young people making the transition from residential care to adulthood, which basically means looking at the path young people who grow up in children’s homes take when its time to leave the home and get back into society. Anyway this is not about my thesis, but as I was reading on transitions I realized that we all go through transitions in the course of life and I thought to share mine.

First some clarity on what I am talking about…

Coles classification includes the education-to-work-transition, transitions from family of origin to family of destination(domestic single-marriage-transition) and the transition from residence with parents to independent living (the housing transition).

Granted this is by no means a simple, straight forward process to move from one life stage to another and often we are stuck in one phase for various reasons. Sometimes we leave one phase to go back to another phase and back again.

Education-to-work transition

Nowadays progressing from the school-work phase is not as predictable as it used to be and judging by the numbers of unemployed young people, it is an impossible dream for some. I thank God I was able to make this transition straight from college in 2009, that is when I got my first job as a social worker at Child Welfare. But as I stated above, transitions can reverse themselves in the life course, so I left work to come back to school. Which is perfectly normal and is an upward transition, meaning I made progress.

Living transition

We all cannot wait for that moment when we get to move out of our parents’ homes to live independently, that one is an exciting phase. All that independence and not having to ask to go to that party or that gathering and come back at your own time. I made this transition at age 19, in 2005 when I left my home country Zimbabwe for the first time to go to South Africa to study. It was an exciting time but I was still a very young adult needing support from my family.

Domestic transition

This is when one moves from their family of origin to family of destination. Well, I still need to work on this one….I hope I can start my own family in the near future *from my lips to God’s ears*

I learnt that all these transitions are not in any way following a linear pattern. Sometimes it is back and forth, what some scholars call the yo-yo effect. So then just imagine if you struggled with your own transitions yet having family and friends supporting you, how much more difficult is it for young people who grow up in care of institutions and foster care? Just thinking about this made me reflect on the work I did with children back in Cape Town and those children who turned 18 and had to leave state care to go back into society. What are their chances in the real world after being sheltered and taken care of for years? Just reflecting upon it makes me realize why the work I am doing is significant. I want to find out what more can be done to provide support for young people leaving care into adulthood, because it does not make sense to take care of them when they are babies and then leave them to fend for themselves with no support after 18. After all do we, who never grew up in orphanages and children’s homes, ever really leave our families? We still go back regularly for support so why should care for these young people end at 18.

So when you are thinking about your personal transitions, spare a thought for those with less fortunate circumstances than yours and how they are making those same transitions!!!

Happy weekend ♥

“What do you think you’re doing talking about us in this way?”

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“In 1990 I was invited to give a paper on disability research to a conference of academic researchers in Sweden and this gave me the opportunity to reflect on the issues involved. To this day I remember entering the conference room on the first morning with the other researchers, none of whom were disabled, and finding the words ‘what do you think you are doing talking about us in this way?’ written on the board. No-one except me thought it referred to us; those who even noticed the comment at all simply assumed the board hadn’t been cleaned by whoever had used it the day before.

What did we think we were doing: pursuing knowledge for the benefit of humankind? Informing policy and practice? Helping disabled people? Building networks? Developing our own careers? Having a freebie at someone else’s expense? All of those things probably and more; but also much less.”(Oliver 1997:15)

This was a class assignment in the research module of the Masters in Social Policy I am taking. The question asked the learners to describe the role of the researcher in emancipatory research. I have decided to publish this because I feel it has huge implications for society and I found the above excerpt very interesting and thought provoking. I wrote a much more academic article for marking but this is another personal evaluation of the topic and not at all subject to academic grading. It is my personal view. 

After reading the above excerpt I thought what a good observation. So often society assumes that we are doing things for the benefit of others when in actual fact we have not consulted the “other” about whether that is what they actually need. We spend thousands, and for those big foundations, millions of money on conferences and projects for different groups of society that we think are in need. The statement also implies the presence of “us” and “them” which already signifies the divisive nature of society.

Is true emancipation of oppressed groups a realistic goal or an impossible dream? How do you seek to empower someone unless you have consulted with them and together concluded that they are indeed seeking what you as a “helper” seek for them? How many times do policy makers and “concerned” citizens do things “for” and not “with” the people they seek to assist? Who is really benefiting from our well meaning acts? Where is the voice of the marginalized in the policies we are making? Where are our motivations coming from? Because it is not enough to congregate and discuss what we think are the solutions to the world’s problems without proper consultation with those affected. We might actually do more harm than good because what we perceive may be so far from the truth.

Do not begin to assume you know the full extent of someone’s problem if you have never walked a mile in their shoes. There is more to the personal experience than can be described. Assuming that we know people’s needs or what is right for them is downright patronizing. The question above has surely given me cause to pose before I think a certain intervention is what my client needs without hearing from them how they propose to solve the quandary they may find themselves in. This is a basic core of social work “helping individuals to help themselves”. First year of college basics.

I just wonder if anyone actually found an answer to that question “What do you think you are doing talking about us in this way”? What would you even say? Um.. we thought that these bulleted points on our written strategy that we have been working on for weeks/months/years are just what you need to solve the problem of disability/poverty/…any perceived lack of something. Most of the findings are actually based on research but I stand by my view that nothing beats the subjective experience.

I fully understand the extent of hopelessness that marginalized groups may feel. Who marginalizes them? Who emancipates them? Emancipation in most cases is a very expensive commodity. How do you emancipate yourself with no resources or income to do so? So the “haves”make it their mandate to provide what they think is needed but there must be another way to do it without making the “have nots” feel further disadvantaged and offended. Our terminology alone is discriminatory, socially constructed to create “otherness”. Disability/poverty/lack…are all man-made terms. We are all human and we are all capable until someone tells us we are not!!!

It’s worth a thought…