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News: International: December 2009
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December Newsletter, International Network for School Social Work

Monday, December 28, 2009



International Network for School Social Work
Electronic Newsletter December 2009
Editor: Marion Huxtable
Communicating with School Social Workers around the World
Michelle Alvarez, Associate Professor of Social Work, Minnesota State University
            At the 4th International School Social Work conference in Auckland, New Zealand I committed to several projects that would help support school social workers across the world. The first commitment was to start a listserv that would allow school social workers to send out an email and ask for ideas from fellow school social workers. This networking can build strong professional relationships, broaden our knowledge and support our colleagues.
                        To subscribe to the International School Social Workers’ listserv go to the information page at and enter your email address and name. You will be presented with the option of setting your privacy password. If you choose not to enter a password, one will be automatically generated for you, and it will be sent to your email once you have confirmed your subscription. You can request a mail-back of your password when you edit your personal options.            To post a message, send the information to If you have questions or comments concerning the listserv please contact the listserv administrator Dr. Michelle Alvarez at michelle.alvarez @
            The default language for this listserv is English. If users choose to use another language they can select their own preference for the language they would like to use. To change the language go your listserv account and click on the language option. 
            I hope that you will take time to join in our discussions!
Vienna to have 30 school social workers
By David Rogers??
Vienna will eventually have as many as 30 school social workers, it has been revealed. Nine have already begun to work in a pilot project in primary schools in areas outside the Gürtel. City Social Democratic (SPÖ) education councillor Christian Oxonitsch said, according to the online edition of newspaper Der Standard, that the social workers would be active not only in schools but also in students’ surroundings. He added they would work regionally rather than at just one school. ?Oxonitsch said an investigation of problems in a number of primary schools in Vienna-Rudolfsheim-Fünfhaus had prompted him to use social workers. Until now school psychologists and outside institutions had been responsible for their new work. ? He said the social workers would visit students’ residences to help resolve conflicts, provide "social learning" in classrooms and take measures to build students’ trust in education.
Asian School Social Work Seminar
Abe Yamashita, President of the School Social Work Association of Japan
            The Asian School Social Work Seminar was held on December 11th and 12th, 2009 at the Japan College of Social Work. Abe Yamashita, Professor at the Japan College of Social Work and the President of the School Social Work Association of Japan, received a grant for hosting the seminar at the College. The purpose of the seminar was not only to share information regarding school social work and the children’s issues in Asian countries, but also to build a collaborative relationship among school social work colleagues, both practitioners and scholars.
The participants from Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mongolia, Singapore and Sri Lanka presented a history and current status report of school social work in each of their countries and addressed the issues its children are facing. Although Asia is diverse in terms of culture, ethnicity, religion and socio-economic status, we found a lot of common problems among children such as bullying, violent behaviors, sexual activities etc., and thus felt a need to build a cooperative network in the region. We will invite other Asian countries to join this new community and expect to have more workshops or seminars.
            It was a fruitful seminar for us all. We are convinced of the value of extending and maintaining our connection.                  Abe will be a coordinator of the network for the time being. If you are interested in participating, contact him at Abe Yamashita.
HOPE in Sri Lanka
From LMD The Voice of Business, October 2009, page 147
In Sri Lanka, agencies such as SERVE and HOPE (Helping Orphaned, Poor and Exploited Children) are providing social work services for school children. A leading Sri Lankan business magazine recently interviewed Sanjeeva de Mel, who directs both agencies, about the challenges facing the nation’s children. He explained, “Much like children in other developing countries, Sri Lanka’s kids face day-to-day challenges. Poverty is perhaps the number 1 challenge, followed by neglect and abuse in the community or at school. Impoverished parents find it impossible to provide proper homes, the right environment, clothing and education for their children”.
HOPE supports the Sarvodaya day shelter for street children, which provides a number of services to meet basic needs in a holistic approach. This includes pre-school, day-care, catch-up learning classes, skills development, needlecraft, health and medical surveillance, housing assistance, micro enterprises, crisis intervention, aesthetic education, counselling and awareness programs.
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