When I enter the HOOP office at 10am, HOOP’s social worker Silvia Mattiuzzi is already buzzing around. She did five phone calls and arranged three meetings. “So we’re gonna meet the mayor of the municipality to talk about the stray dog problem in Flora Tristán, later we’ll see the psychologist who is working with one of the HOOP mothers, and then we have to talk with one mother about her case”, she explains in her Italian accent. Yep, it doesn’t get boring at HOOP’s Social Work department.
Since Sivlia started HOOP’s social work program in April, a lot has evolved. Now, by the end of December, the mothers get together every day to do sports, to talk and chatter, and take part in different workshops and presentations. To me, knowing their circumstances and backgrounds, it’s surprising yet encouraging to feel the positive attitude of most of the women in these gatherings.
Working one-to-one with the mothers and families in Flora Tristán is an essential part of the social work program offered by HOOP. Discussing family related issues, and building connections with institutions or professionals like psychologists and lawyers is how we try to support the mothers.
So what’s the part of an intern in this? Well, basically I’m here to support Silvia by writing reports, organizing documents, you know, basic intern stuff. But I also get to be a part of a community-based social work project and to learn how it’s run. Through meetings with local authorities and professionals, I’m getting a valuable insight into the Peruvian social system. By talking to the mothers and by working on a survey HOOP did among the community members in Flora Tristán, my understanding of the needs and issues of people living in an impoverished community is growing enormously.
I’m grateful for the opportunity to spend my placement as an intern in HOOP’s social work program. I definitely benefit from working in a professionally run project led with enthusiasm like this. Putting into practice what I learnt at university so far, being supervised by a certified social worker and working side-by-side with her in the community is a huge step on my path towards becoming a social worker myself. And by the way, being an intern doesn’t mean you have to make coffee all the time; the staff at the HOOP office are well-trained with the French press!
Find out more about HOOP’s internship opportunities at www.hoopperu.org/internships
Words by Daniel Fetzer, Social Work intern
Photos by Elise Fjordbakk and Maggie Shui, Communications interns