“If it is calling you, go for it”
Caregiving is something which flows for natural-born caregivers. The actions can of course be taught but not the compassion and the empathy; those are gifts and not everybody has these gifts. Nurturers have a special bond with those they care for.
Rita Antat is a former social worker turned counsellor after having worked with the social services for over 25 years.
She currently works as the senior counsellor with the National Council for Children (NCC), at the President’s Village where she has been based for the past six years, she is known as Miss Antat or Miss Rita amongst the staff and children.
Antat describes herself as a natural caregiver and says that her love for children came from the love she got from the people who raised her.
“I lost my mother at a very young age and the people I grew up with gave me the type of love and care that I wanted to just give back to the community; especially children,” she said.
In her 25 years as a social worker before joining the President’s Village, she worked with different families.
When asked if she has ever been discouraged while on this path, she explained that at times she has felt like forfeiting and she probably would have if she listened to the people around her instead of the voice of the children whom she was meant to help.
“It is the kids, they keep me going. True, sometimes it gets heavy and but at the end of the day I always keep an open-mind and say to myself that I am doing this because these children need me. Besides in my professional career, I have opened my door at home for many children to find solace. I have been a mother, an aunt, a mentor to many children whom I am proud of today,” shared Antat.
She went on to add that none of this would have been possible had it not been for the undying support of her family which on its own helped her to remain firm in her choices
To work in an institution that helps children has always been the goal for Antat, and when the opportunity presented itself to permanently join the President’s Village – which was then still under the management of the Children’s Foundation, she grabbed it with both hands.
Her alternative career choice had she not been a social worker would have been to teach and this is something that Antat described to be close to her heart even to this day.
“I love working with people, I love seeing the transformation in people and how they turn their lives around. It brings me a sense of satisfaction,” she proudly said.
Rather emotional, she disclosed that sometimes it pulls at her heart when people do not take the time to understand and comprehend the needs of our children, but she also added that not everyone has the vocation for this work but it was okay because we all have our passions.
Her advice to young people planning to venture into this field of work is to go for it but only if their hearts are in it completely.
“We often hear people say that to work with children is a vocation and I could not agree more, it is not for everyone but if your heart is screaming yes do not turn away from the calling, go for it,” she concluded.