19-01-2018
OmanPride: Social work, her first love

newsimage“My services for the needy are 24/7, free, and something that I prefer to keep private,” said social worker Rita Samuel who is celebrating her 20th year as a welfare worker in Oman. “I came here in 1996 and connected with the labourers who had some issues and who couldn’t go to the embassy to seek help. I remember going to the Indian embassy with a case and it soon followed with several others asking for help,” said Rita. As the number of people in need increased with time, Rita started arranging one-to-one meetings to listen to people’s issues and accordingly address them. “In 1997 I decided to start a website where people in distress could connect,” she remembered. However, people preferred to call her directly and shared their problems with her. Today from labour and migrant rights issues, Rita has branched out into dealing with other problems. “Earlier it was labour and housemaid issues but those things have been taken care of largely. Now, I deal with issues related to marriage and children’s issues,” she noted. Rita has a unique way of helping people, especially children who go to her. “I meet them at least four to five times. There is no specific or set agenda. In many cases, they just want to be heard, and that makes them feel comfortable. I try to bring them out of the box in sessions, and then give them a break, give them homework, and ask them about how their perceptions have changed,” she stated. Social work, according to her, is inbuilt in her. To date she has helped hundreds of people from across Oman, irrespective of their nationalities or backgrounds. “Twenty years back I maintained a diary. After 2010, I grew spiritually and realised that I didn’t need to maintain files to prove anything to anyone,” she said. While her inspiration is Oprah Winfrey she also aspires to be like her and help those in need. “Anyone in need of help can call me and I will try my best to resolve their issues,” she added.