Don't be afraid to push doors!

Thursday 7 March 2019

Stéphanie Silva is a social worker. Since 2002, she has been working for Caritas Accueil et Solidarité and takes care of people living on the streets at the Streetwork.

What motivated you to become a social worker?

I knew nothing about the profession when I started my studies in Liege. I had no one around me who worked in the social environment. I only knew that I was very interested in social issues. It was only during my studies and internships that I discovered that the job of social worker was right for me. Even today, I am convinced that I could not have done anything else but work as a social worker.

What do you think are the qualities you need to have to do this job?

I think that to be a social worker you have to have great respect for people and not be prejudiced. On the contrary, you have to take the time to discover the person and make up your own mind. We are often positively surprised. A social worker must also have a lot of patience, especially when working with people who live on the streets and who, for the most part, have long since lost all reference points. Finally, you have to like to find solutions and not be afraid to push doors.

What do you particularly like about what you do?

It's just that it's very diversified. The people we meet have their own stories. I also like the challenge of finding the best solutions for each of them.

And what do you like the least?

Unfortunately, I can't always help as I would like. For example, there are sometimes no more free beds in emergency reception facilities and people have to spend the night on the street. Another thing that is difficult is to try to help people who do not let themselves be helped.

Why are more women than men choosing the profession of social worker?

Probably because it is a traditionally very feminine profession. However, I see more and more men making this career choice. At Caritas Accueil et Solidarité, we have several men social workers and also welcome more and more young students on internships.

Do you think men can do this job as well as you?

 Yes, I don't think there's any difference.

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