Committee Welcome & 2018 Theme

As the members of the IASWG organization celebrate their 40th international symposium in South Africa, it is our view that our 2018 symposium theme of “Bridging the Divide: Group Work for Social Justice” is an appropriate and relevant theme in our current global environment. At the core of social group work is the need to bridge the divide to develop mutual aid to foster a socially just society where all members have the same opportunities to attain material goods, income and wealth. The valuing of diverse perspectives and experiences is a heartfelt call to understanding the meaning of Ubuntu in South Africa and all of Africa. Ubuntu is about humaneness, and it embraces values of respect, solidarity, community development, social responsibility, justice, and equality. That said, bridging the divide, in our view, suggests more than just an appreciation of diversity. It is a real recognition of being part of humanity. Bridging the divide for social justice is about people living and working in a globalized society brought together with a common group purpose.

Programme at a Glance

Thursday, June 7th:

  • Outstitute Community Visit with social workers and children of South Africa ($50/person, includes light lunch)
  • Boma Fire (informal dinner & gathering, pay at event)

Friday, June 8th:

  • Welcoming Breakfast Reception & Sumner Gill Memorial Plenary
  • Morning Educational Presentations
  • Lunch (included) & Beulah G. Rothman Memorial Plenary
  • Afternoon Educational Presentations & Invitational Session

Saturday, June 9th:

  • Morning Educational Presentations
  • Lunch (included) & Joan K. Parry Memorial Plenary
  • Afternoon Educational Presentations & Invitational Session
  • Gala includes Game Drive & Bush Braai Dinner ($50/person)

Sunday, June 10th

  • Half-day Outdoor Experiential Session & Closing Ceremony (similar to Group Work Camp)

Pre-Symposium Outstitue: Community Visit 

The Community Visit, on Thursday 7 June, will be to the communities adjacent to the national park. We plan to take attendees with two buses to two different child care centres where children go every weekday after school to receive a meal and play in a safe area for two hours. We will each paint a t-shirt with a child that the child can keep. If in any way possible, attendees will eat with the children – the prescribed government meal for the day on the menu. Through music and art (therapy) attendees will spend time with the children.

The organisation running these centres is Sizabantwana ( The two centres are:

  • Amukelani Centre: Located 5 kilometres from the Impilo Centre, in Marite/ Bushbuckridge, – this project commenced in July 2008. It initially cared for 30 children, but the numbers of children have grown significantly. The project functions from a double garage attached to a private home of one of the volunteer care givers. The facilities are very basic with cooking and storage of food situated all in one area. Minimal outside recreational equipment exists. The plan is to relocate this project to a nearby permanent facility as soon as funding becomes available.
  • Siyakhula Centre: This project is in Alexandria Trust, Bushbuckridge. The project consists of 5 passionate Child Care Workers from the community to support the orphans and vulnerable children. Currently there are 109 children receiving care and support at this centre. This program also functions in a garage where daily meals are prepared for the children, however Sizabantwana continues to do its best to fund raise to buy their own premises within these communities.

Excursion Fee $50, includes:  

  • Travel costs with the bus
  • T-shirt
  • Paint
  • Survival kit (water, wet wipes and sunscreen)

About the Symposium Bags

Local women's groups are making bags for symposium attendees. Your registration fee is helping to support the efforts of local organizations near Kruger National Park, contributing to both social and economic development.

Group 1: The Schaumbag group. This group is made up of unemployed women in the community of Schaumburg in North West Province. Every Tuesday and Thursday they meet to build up their sewing, knitting and crocheting skills. They converse about the social ills and dream of working their way out through these skills. Their names are Miriam, Jerida, Sarah and Elizabeth.

Group 2: The Church group in Xawela block 23, Giyani. The group is comprised of members of the New Life Apostolic Church who are unemployed, and many have no external sources of income except child grants. Learning to use a sewing machine is a skill that they find worthy and discussions about their social affairs forms part of the group. The leader of the church, Pastor MS Valoyi is the mentor and teacher in the group, developing the ladies' skills and knowledge of sewing.


Group 3: The Sizabantwana group - the women in this group, Brenda, Agrinet, Polutio and Doris are all unemployed and have never before done sewing. They now learn the skill in the group and are making bags for the symposium. They have learned very quickly and are very excited about the opportunity.


Plenary Speakers

Information forthcoming.