What’s in it for me?

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It is not known whether the expression “to have your cake and eat it” was invented specifically to describe the ‘social work’ situation in this country but it certainly does fit the bill. We are tempted to add: “and be thanked for it too” for good measure.

Because we do thank these good people working in the cause of goodness…for having a cushy, well-paid job where they care for the vulnerable…at someone else’s expense. That someone is you and me – the taxpayers.

There are as of today – hold your breath– 9,429 Non Government a lOrganisations (NGO) in Mauritius.To put things inperspective ,in the whole of the UK, there are 4,500 NGOs for 62m people. The number of NGOs here has increased byover1,200 since 2011. The economic crisis may have had something to do with it but the CSR may also have pushed a lot of people to become more‘caring’. With the number of the sector employs, social work has to be one of the fastest growing sectors of the Mauritian workforce today.Yet,hardly any control is exercised.

The appalling case of Foyer Namasté, where there are allegations of heinous practices against the most vulnerable children of our society should pushus to pause and revisit the way this whole sector operates. Mireille Martin,who looked us straight in the eye,telling us that the person in charge of Foyer Namasté is so genuinely good hearted that he takes children to his own house “so that they see things other than the confines of the shelter”, should have known better and therefore has a lot to answer for.

And let’s not be myopic enough to think that Foyer Namasté is anisolated case. Similar allegations were made about another institution where disabled children were all egedly being taken to bungalows for weekends. We don’t know whether there was an inquiry after these allegations but it would seem that some people are so committed to ‘serving’ these vulnerable children that they have been hanging on to their seats for decades,at times in defiance of the rules regulating the NGOs. As we speak,the board is in involved in a serious dispute – once more– over elections.

Add to this the élan of solidarity which came after lack Saturday and the amounts of money collected with no questions asked and you will understand the extent to which self seeking can bewrapped in concern with the bonus of even having something to share on your Facebook page.

Isn’t it time for better regulation and some order to be established in the social work jungle to sift the professional and hard-working social workers from the self serving globetrotters and abusers? Isn’t it

time everyone was submitted to a scrutiny of performance in the same way the rest of us are? After all, workers inmost industries are ultimately subject to the needs and desires of consumers and their job sare,therefore,never secure. Make the wrong product or provide the wrong service and your job could disappear.In‘social work’,nobody dares ask the workers and globetrotters for the output of the money invested. It is time someone did - for the sake of those they are serving.

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