“I love making a difference every single day”

We sat down with Julie on a hot Wednesday afternoon; she had just come from visiting one of the families she is supporting in the community. “It is days like this I am glad I am a social worker, seeing real change in families,” Julie told us as she settled down for our interview. “As a social worker, family visits make the most of my time. Seeing a family empowered makes me realise that this is my passion.”

Growing up, Julie always dreamt of becoming a lawyer. “Lawyers are important people and so are doctors,” she says, as we both laugh to the all-familiar words we grew up hearing from our parents. Turns out, a few years after completing high school, Julie is at the beginning of a different path for her career.

“I joined social work studies at the university after my secondary education. It is the best decision I made,” she tells us with a smile. She began volunteering while still in school. “I was lucky enough to practice my career while still in school. It boosted my confidence, I was a little shy, but the more I volunteered, the more I gained confidence.”

Having graduated last year from Kyambogo University, Julie is at the beginning of her career. She is a full-time volunteer social worker with us at Child’s i Foundation. “I am glad to work with a group of passionate social workers. I have been mentored and I have learnt a lot,” Julie said about her experience so far.

“The family has made great milestones,” she tells us of the family she has just been visiting, “initially the parents were hesitant, sometimes it can be overwhelming for parents of children with disabilities especially in our community where such families are discriminated against. It took a while before the family could trust me, but I did not give up. Now they call me regularly to give me an update of the milestones that their child is making. And that’s the joy of being a social worker,” she smiles. “The family is now part of a Village Savings Group, they are empowered and I couldn’t be happier.

In her free time, Julie loves reading. Currently, she is reading two books: The Rules of Life and The Rules of Work both by Richard Templar. I ask her what lessons she has picked from the books.

“The Rule of Life book has taught me that as much as we feel important in life, it is important not to exaggerate one’s self-importance because life is very dynamic. There is so much need to recognise and appreciate others. And that right there is the soul of social work,” she brightly says, “The Rule of Work, has taught me to work smart and always put in extra time and commitment to understand my work.” These are my two rules of thumb in my life going forward.

Although she is just at the beginning of her career, Julie has big dreams “I would like to focus on young people, empower young adults leaving care so they can achieve their potential.”