Written by Dr Jessica Johannisen

I have been a child protection social worker for the past 9 years. Serving the people of South Africa is my passion and fighting for the rights of children has always been my ultimate goal.

I have experienced many difficult situations during my years as a child protection social worker.
I have been chased by dogs and hidden behind a car to dodge bullets during a gang fight.
The screams of a child whilst being removed from his parents has continued to ring in my ears for days.
My life has been threatened many times and I have been escorted by police to homes where the risk was too high for me to go alone.

Regardless of all I have endured over the past 9 years, I have to admit that during this time of the Covid 19 crisis I am scared.

Most days I am in the field; collecting donations, assessing the needs of families and distributing food parcels. I do my best to keep myself safe. I sanitize my hands regularly and wear my mask correctly.

But I am still scared.

I am scared of getting sick.
I am scared of making my family sick.
I am scared for the children who are living in vulnerable conditions.
I am scared when I see that the number of domestic violence cases has doubled in South Africa.
I am scared that I am not able to assess the needs of children and families accurately.
I doubt myself often.

I am scared.

I am also brave.
I am also passionate.
I am also a fighter.
I am also kind.
I am also hardworking.
I am also courageous.

I am scared.
I am a social worker and I will continue to serve the beautiful people of South Africa.