Celebrating World Social Work Day at ARU

Abigail Davey

Faculty: Health, Education, Medicine and Social Care
School: School of Education and Social Care
Course: BA (Hons) Social Work
Category: Social sciences and social care

22 March 2021

Tuesday 16 March 2021 was World Social Work Day - an opportunity to celebrate social work - and this year's theme was Ubuntu: I am because we are. The team at ARU made sure it was a day to remember.

Despite being in the middle of a global pandemic, we had a fantastically inspiring day! We had the privilege of attending an event exclusively for ARU students, staff and associates. Over 150 delegates joined together virtually to listen to the insightful, and passionate voice of Lemn Sissay.

Lemn Sissay, poet, author and TV broadcaster, has a place in the heart of almost every Social Work student and all of the staff. Lemn’s work around children in care features in our Social Work course.

Social Work student Abigail watching an online presentation - the broadcaster Lemn Sissay is seen on Abigail's laptop

Listening to Lemn read segments of his book, My Name is Why, was a really humbling experience. Lemn shares in the book his journey through local authority care for the first 18 years of his life. For me there are many lessons to be learnt about the losses experienced by children in care, for example Lemn lost his identity when a social worker re-named him after himself aged three months. Lemn also shared with us the loss of relativity, not having a family of his own at such a young age and not having anyone to share in memories of his life. But as Lemn told us himself, he does not want to bring social work down. In fact the hero in his book for him was his social worker. Truly inspiring to us as students on this day and every other.

Lemn's messages came through loud and clear. Dysfunction is part of the function in families. He was very clear that all families have things they’d rather others weren’t party to… 'what goes on behind closed doors'. Most importantly I think to share was that Lemn wanted us to know, 'I am not measured by how I deal with the crisis and trauma I survived'. Children in care can be whatever and whoever they want to be. Lemn carries on his blog an ‘incredible list’ of people he has met along his journey who have all spent time in care and have gone on to do amazing things.

As a student social worker at ARU we have so many fantastic opportunities to learn, and this has to be one of my highlights from this year. I have to say a huge thank you to the staff that arranged this for all of us.

Being at ARU gives you new inspiration every week, and I know that this journey we are on is an incredible one to becoming social workers. Thank you, ARU!




Abigail studies BA (Hons) Social Work at ARU in Chelmsford. We also train social workers in Cambridge and Peterborough. Find out more about this, and other degree courses, at one of our Open Days.

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