World Social Work Day: “I Am Because We Are!”

World Social Work Day (hereafter referred to as WSWD) is that salient day of the year where social workers worldwide are recognized for their tireless efforts to improve society’s condition. It is usually held on the third Tuesday of March. Hence, it is observed on March 16 in the year 2021. Social work is an enriching career option for those interested in sincerely helping people and desire to address various social issues. The majority consider social work to involve working with Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), either part-time or full-time. Practically speaking, this line of work is much more than that. Social workers work and tackle problems faced by various public levels, ranging from an individual to a large community.


In the race to climb the ‘social leader’, people often fail to recognize those who genuinely work to sustain humanity. The functions of a social worker are vital to help any society to survive. This unique line of work involve:-
1. Upliftment of poor people;
2. Assisting people with special needs;
3. Promoting women empowerment;

According to the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW), the following are the main aims of celebrating WSWD:-
a. Highlight the achievements of social work;
b. Raise the visibility of social services for the future of societies, and
c. To defend social justice and human rights.

Theme And Poster

This year’s celebration’s beautiful highlight is the theme, “Ubuntu: I am Because We Are”. IFSW has mentioned this as the first theme of the “2020 to 2030 Global Agenda for Social Work and Social Development”. The theme was chosen for “strengthening Social Solidarity and Global Connectedness.” The term “Ubuntu” is derived from the indigenous peoples of South Africa and was highly publicized by none other than Nelson Mandela.

Silvana Martinez, the President of IFSW, went on to comment, “The theme comes from extensive consultation within IFSW and beyond. At a time when global politics has retreated into nationalism, Ubuntu is a powerful message on the need for solidarity at all levels: within communities, societies and globally. It is a message that all people are interconnected and that our future is dependent on recognizing all peoples involvement in co-building a sustainable, fair and socially just future. IFSW invites all social workers, partner organizations and people who care about the future to co-brand the poster. Together we can change the world for this and future generations.”

IFSW creates and produces a poster announcing WSWD being translated to more than 70 languages each year. The same is presented to governments, political bodies and social work classrooms around the world.


The very first WSWD was observed in 2007, with the theme, “Social Work – Making a World of Difference.” However, this worldwide celebration’s origin should be traced back to 1983, which marked the beginning of an annual observance called “Social Work Day at the United Nations”. Since then, the IFSW United Nations (UN) representatives began to organize these days either in March or April every year. Minor changes were made along the way, including the themes and their frequency, to bring it to the current event internationally approved and co-ordinated.

Significant Roles Of A Social Worker

Social workers deal with matters involving unemployment, education and poverty. A few job profiles executed by a modern-day social worker are as follows:-
1. Welfare Officer;
2. Social Scientist;
3. Medical Social Worker;
4. Community Development Officer;
5. Probation Officer;
6. Rural Development Officer.

A social worker can get employed in government and private sectors, involving the Medical and Healthcare sector, Education and Research sector, NGOs.

Recognized Organizations Promoting Social Work

HelpAge India

This leading Indian NGO, focused on the concerns of the elderly, was established in 1978 and is located in New Delhi, India. Its primary mission is “to work for the cause and care of disadvantaged older persons and to improve their quality of life.”

A standout about HelpAge India is that it became the first NGO to be selected for the ‘2020 UN Population Award’ under the Institutional category in December 2020. Moreover, the organization’s tireless attempts to provide and care for the old aged people, especially during the pandemic and vaccinations, is nothing short of loud applause.

United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF)

UNICEF was founded in 1990, and its present headquarters lie in New York, United States of America (USA). On a larger scale, it operates in more than 190 countries and territories, with the sole objective to save lives, defend rights, help in the growth of precious children right from their childhood.

Green Peace

This NGO was set up in 1971 and is situated in Amsterdam, Netherlands. It has offices in over 55 countries to ensure the earth’s ability in nurturing life in all its diversity. To put in their own words, their mission is to:-

Protect biodiversity in all its forms;
Prevent pollution and abuse of the earth’s ocean, land, air and fresh water;
End all nuclear threats;
Promote peace, global disarmament and non-violence.

Smile Foundation

Since its inception in 2002 in New Delhi, India, this NGO seeks to smile on the face of underprivileged children by providing them education. As per the data available on their official website, its reach goes up to 15 lakhs children and their families every year, with more than 400 live welfare project, in over 2,000 remote villages and slums across 25 states of India! The hard work has earned the Smile Foundation the title of being ‘the best NGO in India’.

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