In the same time-frame that I have set up my programme, Anthony has set up a social work department at the hospital, starting from scratch, in an environment where social work is not well understood. This is typical of Cambodia, not just the hospital. He began in October last year, working alone initially, developing policies and writing procedures to set the department on a good footing to a professional standard.
A translator joined him and together they worked on making all the documentation bilingual, as there is very little by way of social work resources in the Khmer language. This is due to the fact that it is a relatively new discipline in Cambodia, the first students graduated from a degree programme run in Phnom Penh in conjunction with a Washington university as recently as 2012.
Two fulltime social workers and a counsellor have since joined the team. They have found, as they visit patients in the wards, that there is a huge need for their services. The lives of so many at the hospital have changed forever because of the accidents or incidents which they have experienced. The social work team works to try to help them overcome the difficulties and challenges they will face in their daily lives when they are discharged from the hospital.
Training and mentoring the social work staff is a big part of Anthony’s work and is an aspect that he enjoys. He has developed connections with social workers in other organisations and they join his team for monthly training sessions.
Anthony feels that, like me, he is putting his past training and experience to good use and the result is lives better equipped to face a different future.
Anthony's social work team is pictured above: Sothea (translator), Sreymom (social worker), Sitha (Counsellor), Visal (Social worker)