A lot of people think helping others is social work. It may not be always true. Helping others to make them dependent on you or helping someone when they do not need it, is not social work.
For e.g. if a person earns low wages and cannot support studies of his children, then you may offer to arrange monetary assistance for the studies. This may not be the right approach as he becomes dependent on you and may not have the desire to earn more. This is because his worrying needs are taken care by you. The better way to help him is to offer temporary monetary assistance and help him to find work with more pay or help him to gain new skills that can increase his pay.
I still remember traveling in local trains and watching small children begging in there. These children often have amputated limbs. People in the train including me feel pity on them. Some people offer them monetary help but I don’t. In fact, I discourage people from offering such help. This is how I do social work. While people think they are doing social work, in reality they don’t. On the contrary, they are worsening the situation. They do not know the hidden truth that the hands and legs of this children are cut off by some of the evil minded unscrupulous people in the society. Such rascals force the children into begging and take away all the money that we all give feeling pity. With money coming in easily, they abduct more children, take away their limbs and flourish their brutal business.
Unless you are a qualified social worker, you need to observe extreme care before offering help to others. Even if you are not a social worker you can help others under the guidance of social workers known to you. Look at any problem from future perspective. If you solve people’s current problems, it should not lead to rise in bigger problems later on, nor it should create new problems in the society. Moral support, giving self confidence, and empowering weighs higher than monetary assistance. If you want to help underprivileged children, help by spending time with them, educating them, nurturing them and making them self dependent.
Again, helping others may demoralize them and make them feel dependent. Before you do any social work, equip yourself with the required interpersonal skills in dealing with your recipients. The knowledge gained in social work studies often comes handy in giving you the right technique. If you want to protect the needy, strengthen them so that they can protect themselves. Do social work not because you want to do it, but because there is somebody who needs it.
In one of the parks closed to my residence, I used to see a blind man on daily visits. He was a regular visitor to the park and knew all the narrow lanes, benches, hurdles, and everything about the park. I noticed him talking to one of the other person, his friend i guess. He says, the world is full of good people and there is help everywhere when he needs, but he gets annoyed when he gets too much of attention and care. He dislikes people holding his hands to give him directions about the park that he already knows. He dislikes people warning him about small hurdles over there. He says when I need help I will ask you, but for know let me live my own life. He doesn’t like people feeling pity about him. He says, “When I can see the whole world through my mind and senses, why do people feel there is something missing in me.”
I mentioned the above examples, so that you look at social work differently and try to first understand what is social work.
Many of us considered offering financial support to a father’s child or helping a handicapped child or blind person as social work. But, social work is a complex subject and you need its deeper understanding before you experiment with it. In no ways, I discourage to help others, but I suggest, prepare yourself so that you do social work in the right way.