NOVEMBER 8, 1958
NEW YORK—In writing about the work of the Society of Brothers in Rifton, N.Y., I forgot to tell you that the group publishes a little magazine, called "The Plough," which goes to all their communities around the world in three languages—Spanish, German and English.
There is an interesting story about the establishment by the brotherhood of a hospital in Paraguay for which they are trying desperately to raise money. They not only bring medical care to the people near their hospital, but they have to grow much of the food for their patients. Therefore, they acquire modern machinery and are teaching modern methods of agriculture, so that this is a double experiment in education. You learn how to produce food better and you learn the value of modern medical care.
Malnutrition is apparently one of the causes of many of the illnesses in this area of Paraguay.
Transportation in northern Paraguay is very primitive, and people reach the hospital riding on horseback through the swamps and forests or over the prairies, or they come by ox cart or horse-drawn wagon and occasionally by truck.
There are only 30 beds in the hospital, though their outpatients average about 7,500 each year. If it is necessary, however, to go where specialists can be obtained, Asuncion is 100 miles away. And to speed this trip an air strip has been hewn out of the forests so that patients can be transported to a bigger hospital by air.
You can well imagine what a hospital in this area must mean, and one wonders at the remarkable work which has been done by this little Society of Brothers.
On October 28 a dinner was given in honor of Leo Perlis by the Council of Social Work Education. Mr. Perlis Director of the Community Service Activities AFL-CIO, was honored "because of his pioneering leadership in establishing trail-blazing achievements in securing the participation of trade unions in community welfare activities and in integrating social services as basic features of trade union life."
The Council of Social Work Education is the accrediting body for 62 graduate schools of social work in the United States and Canada, and it is concerned with the effort to get a larger number of qualified people coming into the social work field.
Mr. Sidney Hollander, who is a member of the council board, said at this dinner that the nation needs about 12,500 new social workers each year. Yet, our schools for social work graduate only about 1,800.
There are times when people think that social work is being turned over too much to the professionals, but these figures would indicate that there are not enough professionals to do the job and that probably they are overworked to the point of not being able to really meet the demands that are made upon them. We need more trained people, not less, and with the professionals we could no doubt use more volunteers.