Now that I have been back for over two weeks and taken some time to reflect, I am truly starting to fully grasp the learning and insights my time in South Africa has provided. A huge standout and opportunity for growth was during my time at Afrika Tikkun.
Located in the township of Delft, Afrika Tikkun aims to offer a sustainable future to the youth of many South African townships. The NGO provides many wrap around services for the youth of Delft and adopts a cradle-to-career model which invests in the development of disadvantaged children from early infancy through young adulthood and into the world of work. Over the course of the two days I spent interning at Afrika Tikkun, I had an opportunity to shadow a Western Cape Government social worker and participated in home visits, intake, interventions at the local medical clinic, assisting at a local food bank as well as providing general services and aid to youth and adults who need assistance and care within the Delft community.
My experience working here was extremely impactful and offered me a glance of the kind of international social work South Africa is currently employing from both a community and clinical perspective. Academia tends to provide only one perspective into what social work looks like, but having an opportunity to really dive in provided me a tangible, real-world insight into the work that is happening in South Africa. I was pleasantly surprised at the variety of systems and programs South Africa has in place, and felt that there were many lessons to learn and implement in my personal social work practice. Ultimately, this experience has helped me in my professional development as a social worker as well as preparing me to continue to be a global citizen serving the public good. Immersing in local communities and culture is an essential piece in truly beginning to see and understand many of the clients I have and will continue to work with in the future. I am very thankful for my experience in South Africa.