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Karene-Anne Nathaniel

Elma Francois (1897–1944) was renowned for her Afro-Caribbean activism against the deplorable living conditions of the poor in the British colonies of the English-speaking Caribbean. She led many public demonstrations to highlight the plight of persons living in poverty. She made her greatest contribution as one of the first women in the trade union movement in Trinidad. Francois worked as a community organizer in grass-roots communities, educating persons about the importance of exercising their voices. Her approach to community organizing followed what has been taught about Jane Addams’ Settlement House Movement, where she immersed herself in communities and built strong relationships with members so she could really understand their plight and so gain their trust. Unlike Addams, Francois was from a very deprived background and was not formally educated. She is renowned as the first woman to be charged and acquitted for sedition in Trinidad during the rise of the trade union movement.

Article

Wassie Kebede

Seyoum Gebreselassie was a founder of the first effort to establish an African Association of Schools of Social Work and served as a vice president of the International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW). He was one of the leaders in the reestablishment of social work education in Ethiopia in the 21st century and achieved the highest academic rank, full professor, in 1995.

Article

Carolyn Noble

Norma Parker (1906–2004) is generally regarded as one of the founders of social work in Australia. In 1925, she completed a BA at the University of Western Australia (UWA), where she was introduced to the idea of social work by the head of psychology at the university. She was instrumental in establishing the national social work association and was involved in setting up the first social work (almoner) departments at several key hospitals as well as inducing the Catholic Archbishop to establish the Catholic Social Service Bureau. She was a key player among a small group of Catholic visionaries keen to develop a professional occupation specializing in helping people with their social functioning, following the upheavals of postwar Australia.

Article

Dionne V. Frank

Frederick Augustus Salvador Cox (April 15, 1944–July 12, 2009) was a teacher, social worker, and lay minister who campaigned for sexual and reproductive rights, advocated for the preservation of the family, and worked tirelessly to encourage men to play a meaningful role in society. Born on April 15, 1944, in the rural community of Freetown, Pomeroon, Guyana, Frederick moved to the capital city, Georgetown, where he trained as a teacher and social worker. He contributed to Guyana’s social development in many ways, including as a principal (Sophia Special School), president (Guyana Association of Professional Social Workers), chairman (Medical Termination of Pregnancy Board) as the longest serving executive director of the Guyana Responsible Parenthood Association and a lay minister with the Church of the Transfiguration. Apart from maintaining an active public profile and addressing various social issues, Frederick gained national attention hosting Social Work and You, a weekly radio program. His activism and contributions were such that in paying tribute to him on his death on July 12, 2009, then Minister of Health Dr. Leslie Ramsammy told the media that Frederick Cox was an asset who would be difficult to replace. Indeed, since the passing of this consummate social worker, Guyana has not seen another male of his caliber assume a public role to advocate for sexual and reproductive health and women’s rights.

Article

Kesharichand Dashrathsa Gangrade (1926–2019) is known for his indigenous writings and application of Gandhian principles in social work practices in India. He developed the concept of Gandhian social work—an amalgamation of Gandhian ideology and values of social work practice. He had an immense exposure to the sociocultural dynamics of different societies and working with vulnerable groups and marginalized communities. Gangrade brought all his wisdom, from experiments to experiences in community organization practices, in his 30 books. He was also an educational administrator par excellence. Imbibing Gandhian virtues in his practices and belief in simplicity and trusteeship as life principles, he learned, loved, and lured values of life with Gandhian ethics. Along with academics, he worked with Mahatma Gandhi’s close associate Jai Prakash Narayan through promoting nongovernmental and community-based organizations for rural development.

Article

Marilena Dellavalle and Carlotta Mozzone

Angela Zucconi (1914–2000) was an expert in community social work and social work training. For many years, she directed the Centro di Educazione Professionale per Assistenti Sociali, a social work education center in Rome. After an early life devoted to literature, she embraced social and political commitment after World War Two.

Article

Vimla Nadkarni

Gauri Banerjee instituted the first department of medical and psychiatric social work in the field of medical and psychiatric social work in India. She laid the groundwork for indigenizing social work education by modifying and linking concepts from Indian traditional literature, religious texts, and Indian social reformers into her teachings and practices.

Article

Helga Johannesdottir and Michael Seltzer

Gerd Anna Dorothea Hagen (1928–2007) was an eminent social worker, educator, innovator, administrator, and campaigner for children’s rights in Norway. She worked tirelessly her entire professional life pioneering, developing, and promoting educational programs for child protection and social work professionals. Her creativity, enthusiasm, and leadership greatly contributed to establishing Norway’s reputation as a champion of children’s rights and well-being.

Article

Ruchi Sinha, Roshni Nair-Shaikh, and Vijay Raghavan

Jagdisan Mohandas Kumarappa (1886–1957) was an erudite scholar and a passionate social reformer. He championed the cause of social work education and criminology as the director of Tata Institute of Social Sciences, the first institution to impart social work education in Asia. He was also a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Parliament. Kumarappa’s contribution to social work and criminology in India is immense.

Article

Marilena Dellavalle and Carlotta Mozzone

Paolina Tarugi (1889–1969) is considered the founder of Italian social work. Her experience started with the struggles for women’s emancipation at the beginning of the 20th century and continued with social welfare work as a feminist political philanthropist. In the early 1920s, she was instrumental in introducing social workers in factories. Thenceforth, she worked unceasingly in many political settings to legitimize the social work profession and promote quality training programs until the end of her life.