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Myriam Siebenaler - Teamwork is important

Thursday 7 March 2019

Myriam Siebenaler is a social worker at the Caritas' Atelier Zeralda in Pfaffenthall and works daily with the people of the neighbourhood.

Why did you become a social worker?

Quickly, around the age of 17 or 18, I noticed that many people came to me to ask me to help them solve their problems. As a result, it was quite naturally towards social professions that I turned, initially towards that of the graduated educator, then towards that of the social worker, who allowed me to go even deeper into the issues.

What do you like about what you do?

It is the systemic approach we apply when we do community social work, as is the case at Atelier Zeralda. To improve a person's situation, we look at the person as a whole and mobilize all the relatives and institutions that could help them solve their problem.  In addition, here at Pfaffenthall, we work with children, young people, parents and the elderly. It's very varied and rich, and what also motivates me is to see that it works, that people evolve and that they even go further than we thought at the beginning.

What I don't like so much is when people think it's an acquired right and all they have to do is come to us and their situation improves. If contacting us is a first important step, people must nevertheless be ready to work on themselves. Our main objective is to motivate people to help themselves.

What qualities do you need?

You certainly have to be very sensitive and tactful and know how to listen to people, but above all you have to love people, otherwise you can't be 100% committed to your work. Of course, you have to be very organized and very well structured not only because there is administrative work to be done, but also to serve as a model for the people you are trying to help.

Is it because these are qualities considered feminine that few men choose this profession?

No, I wouldn't say so. There are more and more men choosing this profession. We have men in training for social workers at the Atelier Zeralda. I find that what they bring is very complementary to what a woman social worker brings. For example, they are often more relaxed and know how to put people at ease with their sense of humour, while women are generally more rigorous and more attentive to safety aspects. Finally, I would say that it is teamwork that makes our team strong.

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