The following blog post was originally posted at the link below:
India has many differences to the United States, but there are also many similarities, especially when looking at social and health challenges found within the two populations. Addiction and youth homelessness are prevalent social challenges that can be found within both the USA and India, and there are social programs that target these social challenges within both locations. While the umbrella-ing terms appear the same, like jolly ranchers found within a bag, the flavors can all be different. Within the USA we have places like the Salvation Army and mental health facilities with addiction centers as examples of supportive services for children dealing with either homelessness or addiction. And, thankfully, there are social agencies like Salaam Baalak Trust and the Society for Promotion of Youth and Masses within India. Per the experiences learned on this day and knowledge of how our own USA agencies work, the beauty of all of these social agencies is that they work with their communities in order to identify and meet the individual’s needs. As a social worker learning the trade through USF, it is constantly reinforced that best social work practices are to follow evidenced-based practice while keeping in mind the cultural impact of the individual and what their specific needs are. Having children become survivors of substance use and homelessness can tug at a person’s heart, and it is evident that while the social challenge appears to be the same, these social agencies do an amazing job at meeting the specific needs of their community and applying it in an appropriate, evidence-informed system of practice. At the same time, it is invigorating to get a new perspective of the social challenge and come back to the USA with a broader sense of how to positively and humbly serve individuals.