“I don’t think I chose this profession, the profession chose me. I think being a social worker is a calling and it goes beyond academics; it was a personal decision to help the helpless, be a voice for the voiceless and to help those in need because we are living in a serious world,” Cameal Jeffrey, a Child Protection Officer (CPO) serving the community of Kwakwani, told INFO 10.
The duty of a CPO is demanding but yet rewarding, as they daily assist persons, mainly women who have become victims to social issues.
The passionate and self-driven Jeffrey, hails from the mining town of Linden and has been serving selflessly as a CPO for six years.
To better meet the mandate of the agency, she served a fraction of her career in the Upper-Berbice River district, where there is a greater need for social workers as a result of an increase in social cases.
Jeffrey said she found tremendous joy and a sense of accomplishment from serving the district. “I would have helped a number of children to either be integrated or to be placed in the school system and assist in school supplies,” she said, while adding that seeing children in school brings her a very satisfying feeling.
Like every profession, there are always hurdles and setbacks, Jeffrey have had her dosage of challenges but manages to maintain a stable mindset as she seeks balance between work and her personal life, more so that she recently became a mother. “It’s difficult at times to separate the two, I do find it challenging but the challenges exist solely because of the passion I have for the work but with everything that we do and to be a holistic individual, you need a balance, so I strive very hard to have that balance so I can serve effectively, so I wouldn’t get burnt out so that I can serve from a full cup and not an empty cup,” Jeffrey said.
One of her greatest challenge is experiencing the daily trauma and anxiety that come with dealing with inhumane cases such as sexual abuse meted out to young children. “Everything has challenges in life but if you love what you do, you’ll work to overcome them and having a son now further motivates me to keep pressing on.”
Jeffrey holds a Bachelor’s in Social Work but is seeking continuous training to serve in her capacity more efficiently. “I see myself evolving more into the profession. I want to be specialised in providing counselling services so I would have to academically improve myself, so that I can be specialised in counselling and working more with children,” Jeffrey posited.
Prospective social workers are being encouraged by Jeffrey to not join the profession for their own selfish desires. “Social work is not about the money, fame, prestige or about you; but if that is your goal, trust me, it will not last. Child Protection is a selfless profession; it’s about giving without getting recognition,” Jeffrey encouraged