A Day in the Life of a Social Worker: Khurram Malik

In this week’s (22 May 2020) ‘A Day in the Life of a Social Worker’ I spoke with Auckland based qualified Social Worker Malik. Malik is the founder and director of HOPE, the father of three children and husband to his lovely wife. Malik works almost full time hours within the country’s largest psychiatric service as well as volunteering his time and services to HOPE. HOPE Worldwide-Pakistan is a faith-based Humanitarian Organisation for Poverty Eradication that operates in Pakistan, Thailand and New Zealand. HOPE’s mission is to support, promote and safeguard the fundamental human rights of vulnerable groups whose lives have been traumatized by disasters, poverty, persecution or discrimination. Transforming lives by acknowledging people’s strengths and needs, HOPE walks alongside people on their journey to improving their livelihood.

HOPE helps individuals and whānau realise their potential by providing social, moral and financial support as well as educating the public on the experiences of vulnerable groups. Here in Aotearoa, HOPE runs the Food Watch Program which supports the community’s most vulnerable, the volunteers of the Food Watch Program are front facing and connect with individuals and whānau. HOPE also facilitates events that bring together cultures and celebrate diversity and inclusivity within our communities. Malik explains that through the programs run by HOPE that they “strive to see the volunteers, recipients and wider community feel a real sense of pride in who they are. Be proud of their community, their culture, and have the opportunity to give back to others”.

Speaking with Malik, what stands out is his drive and commitment to making a stand for social justice. He explains that his passion is “to support people and to find ways to help families and individuals in times of need or crisis”. During the Covid-19 period, Malik and his team have been able to assist people who find themselves in need of some extra support. Through the assistance of The Community Awareness and Preparedness Grant Fund (CAPGF), HOPE has been able to help many families navigate the challenges associated with COVID-19.

An example of the extraordinary measures that social workers such as Malik have gone to in order to support those in need during the COVID-19 period was a time when he received a phone call late one afternoon from a woman of migrant background who suffers significant health complications and had no means of transport. Malik made the 62 km drive to Warkworth to drop off a food parcel while conforming to the lockdown restrictions that were in place.

Moving forward, Malik explains that HOPE is currently launching a project which will encourage community resilience and recovery in response to COVID-19. Such programs will enable them to bring communities together and facilitate community-based support networks that will allow people to connect and support one another.  As the country starts to navigate what the new normal might be, Malik comments on the increasing need for social support and connectedness.

ANZASW will be featuring social workers and their work regularly from now on. If you or someone you know has a story to tell and  would be interested in being featured, please contact Rosa Hill at voice@anzasw.nz