THE ROLE OF THE SOCIAL WORKER TO EMPOWER FAMILIES IN A DEEP RURAL COMMUNITY

Corinne Strydom, Cornelia Wessels, Herman Strydom

Abstract


A research study was conducted at Heuningvlei near Vryburg in the Northern Cape Province of
South Africa during 2006. The study was called “Tshwaragano”, meaning togetherness, and
was sponsored by the National Research Foundation. The research focused on health issues and
poverty, and was undertaken to determine their effect on families in rural areas. Seven master’s
students and two PhD students were involved in the project. The master’s students did a needs
assessment with their specific aim in mind and developed guidelines. The PhD students used
this needs assessment of the first phase to compile their social work group-work programmes to
empower the families of Heuningvlei and to enhance their quality of life. This article reports on
a section of the research which examined the living conditions and income of the households,
and the causes and effects of poverty and unemployment. Aspects such as crime, violence and
marital conflict received attention. Because the strengths approach was used in this study, the
strengths of the families were investigated. Finally, the roles of the social worker to implement
preventive and treatment strategies in the community were discussed.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.15270/46-2-172

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