TYEE together with the Tonga Mental Health and Disabilities Association (TMHDA), hosted the Students Social Work Field Trip from Auckland University.
Monday 3rd September 2018: TYEE together with the TMHDA hosted a group of third year undergraduate students from the Bachelor of Social Work programme within the Faculty of Education and Social Work at University of Auckland. A few of their cohort students and faculty staff are visiting the Kingdom of Tonga from 30th August to 5th September 2018. The group consists of approximately 10 students and three Senior Staff from the faculty with the support of Faculty Staff, as well as the Associate Dean for International, Dr Marek Tesar and Associate Professor for Pacific Studies, Professor Damon Salesa.
The initiative to visit The Kingdom of Tonga has been student driven, it is to enhance their learning and knowledge by meeting with individuals and community groups from both the public and private sectors and NGOs in relation to delivery of services that align with the field of social work.
Having work experience in front line services within the Ministry of Social Development here in New Zealand, I am aware of the vast discourses and challenges of social issues that impact our Pacific Island people. -Mrs. Clare Mafi
The exposure and cultural immersion at grass roots level with a population group that represents a high proportion of service users within social services in New Zealand, would be a great learning and cultural exchange opportunity for our social work cohort, to better assist and apply theories and models for appropriate interventions.
Their visit to Tonga is timely, that student participants have recently completed 12 weeks of placement with various NGO's that deliver services ranging from Mental Health, Child and Family Protection, Elderly support and advocate services, Domestic violence, LGBTQI community, to name but a few. In their last year of study in 2019 for the BSW programme, students will be in practicum within the diverse areas of the field within the Public Sector, this will be towards the end of the year.
For Social Workers, it is important for them to ensure that they are well informed in their practice, as students, exposure to as much of their field of practice in the role of advocacy and support for those in need, as well as broadening their impartiality and views through different lenses and contributing to positive change that affect the most vulnerable in our society.
Present at the event was the President of the TMHDA, Mr Leo Hoponoa and members of the TMHDA Board, also TYEE President, Lusia Latu-Jones and Vice-President of TYEE Board, Sela Bloomfield.
Both of the organisations' Presidents; TYEE and TMHDA were presented with Certificates of Appreciation and Thanks accompanied with small gift products of NZ by the Faculty Staff from the Education and Social Work of Auckland University.
TYEE President thanked the group for the opportunity to meet and discuss social issues that matter most to us and its impact on youth work in Tonga. The visit also enhance the need and interest to foster relevant networks and a closer working relationship between TYEE & TMHDA and the Faculty of Education and Social Work at Auckland University for future collaboration and partnership opportunities.
The event was held at TYEE's new facility, Tonga Youth Market Connect (TYMC) at House of Tonga.