Tuesday, May 19, 2009

WEEK 15: Social Action at its Best

This week we got the opportunity to meet with a social worker in one of the communities here in Cuernavaca. Her name is Marta Delgado [1]. She has been a social worker for over 30 years now. The social work she is doing in her community is a bit different than the social work we might think about in the states. Marta is a community organizer. She talked with us a bit about her work as a community organizer and her reflections on social work here in Mexico. It was interesting to hear what she had to say about what other people think of Social Workers here in Mexico: ¨they say social workers are leftists, and trouble makers, and it´s true.¨

She also talked about the differences between social work in the United States and here in Mexico. Up until this point I had heard from UNAM students and our own professors here say that social work was very different and much more community based, but this was the first time I got to hear about a social worker practicing these very things. These were some themes that she talked about:
  • ¨Managed to obtain a lot of resources for the community. ¨
  • ¨As a citizens organization, forcing the government to be more responsible.¨

She also gave us a tour of her community where we saw one of the projects that she had worked on. This project was made to protect the water in the community that was being polluted by garbage and runoff. She fundraised so that they could cover this stretch of water with cement, in attempt to protect the water that would ultimately be going into the river. One of the most touching parts of her speaking was when she told us about how she doesn’t let anyone in her community off the hook. She talked about how important it was that everyone in the community was a part of the action taking place. The people in the community that others may not have seen as useful, she did, people who were looked at as the alcoholics or drug addicts. She made them feel that there was something to do, something they could help with, and afterwards, they were asking her ¨what more can we do?¨

This was a great experience to have because it was inspirational and hopeful to see what one person could do for their community. A social worker or not, everyone can do something to make a difference.

--By Ashley Butler

[1] Marta Delgado, social worker/community organizer in her community; conversation on May 7, 2009, in Cuernavaca, Morelos, México.

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