The perception of the profession of social work, both within state agencies and in the public, is a leftover of the Soviet-era social system. Most people see the social worker as a home healthcare aide, someone whose task it is to do invalid care, housekeeping, and shopping.
The understanding of the profession of social work common in the West is hardly known: Uzbekistan is the last part of the former Soviet Union not to have revised its perception of social work. Because of that, and the correspondingly low salary levels, Uzbeks trained in social work are not working in their field.
A public relations campaign combined with the lobbying of the GoU to increase social worker pay is needed. A pilot project addressing this is part of Vatandosh’s proposal for the reformation of the orphanage system. Integral to the overall effort will be establishing a Ministry of Social Services.