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UBUNTU: I Am because We Are

I am Kira Rojas, social worker at Matia Orienta, the information and guidance service of Matia Fundazioa. With these words I would like to join in the celebration of World Social Work Day, which this year is celebrated with the slogan "Ubuntu: I am because we are", grounding it in my day-to-day work at the Matia Orienta Service and which I would like to begin with this reflection: "I am because we are", therefore "Matia Orienta is because Matia Fundazioa is" and Matia Fundazioa is, because we are COMMUNITY.

Since I started working in the Matia Orienta service, it has seemed to me to be a resource that is offered to the community as a whole, without exception. And this is where I do my bit to build the collective in Matia Fundazioa in response to its aim of accompanying people in their ageing process to improve their wellbeing.

This year, the motto of the social work day is to highlight the concept of "UBUNTU", a broad word, a philosophy of life, as Nelson Mandela considered it when he was asked about it. The "I am because we are" is a nod to group thinking, teamwork, mutual respect, which includes trust, sharing with others, care, etc., leaving aside and moving away from individualism and promoting and emphasising solidarity and generosity towards others.

Matia Orienta is fully in line with all this, it is a service oriented to the whole community. From the perspective of my experience, I have realised the lack of resources such as these in society.

Services where, on the one hand, we provide people who need guidance with information about the services, resources, public and private benefits that are offered in the area, as well as all the contribution of voluntary action and associations that complete the network of support in the process of Long Term Care. And on the other hand, we become sustenance, the shoulder to lean on, the hand to hold on to, that support that we have all sought at some point when we have felt lost, disoriented, overwhelmed and in need of light to guide us on that path.

Looking back, I remember that when I decided to study social work, my motivation was very much oriented towards accompanying others, a feeling that I think many social workers share when they ask us, "Why did you decide to study social work?” After these 4 years, 1 of them as a trainee and 3 as a professional, I have come to the conviction that many times we don't appreciate enough all that the people who come to us bring to us. You guide them in their process but we have to appreciate that, fortunately, this human relationship reminds you every day why you decided to do what you do and makes you grow and believe in yourself.

Trust, collaboration and recognition are values that underpin Matia Orienta, and therefore Matia Fundazioa. When you start a relationship with a person, often without knowing you, without putting a face to you, only accompanied by their voice, they place a "blind" trust in you, making you a participant in their life stories, and telling you part of themselves.

From my experience, I can say that as a social worker, we bring a lot of light, we enlighten many of the families who arrive, who we reach and who we accompany in the process of recovering personal and family wellbeing. For this reason, it is essential to make Matia Orienta and its work visible, and as it is part of the Ubuntu philosophy, we take advantage of this day to do so. Because Matia Orienta is yours, it is ours and it belongs to everyone.

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