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stephenmendel
Bethlehem, Palestine

Bio: I decided in October 2013 to give myself a break from paid social work. Since then I've kept myself busy continuing to coordinate for the Hackney Autumn Night Shelter in the Round Chapel, Clapton and for 3 months supervised 2 newly employed link workers. I remained involved with the Eastern Curve Community Garden in Dalston Central which is very popular with local residents, a quiet space in an urban jungle for everyone. Since February 2013 I've been involved in organising a successful Conference in London on social work in Palestine with 2 speakers from there the Palestine-UK Social Worker Network funded to attend. From this Conference I've taken the opportunity to commit to 2 months in Palestine, volunteering with the Union of Social Workers and Psychologists in Jerusalem, Hebron and Bethlehem for a 'practice supervision project,' meeting social workers and managers to develop a staff supervision model which will work for them, to provide training to prepare them and support the implementation until I leave Palestine on 17 March. Since 21 January I've been based in Bethlehem. When I return to London I'll be there until 23 March when I fly to South Africa where I'll be until 10 June. My aim is to volunteer with a group with which I have links in Johannesburg, celebrate 20 years of democracy, consider the changes there have been since then, visit with family and travel with a friend of mine from Soweto from Cape Town on the garden route to Port Elizabeth and back to Johannesburg through the Eastern Cape and Karoo. On the way back I want to visit Graff Reinet to see Robert Sobukwe's grave, he led the Pan Africanist Congress until Sharpeville and Nieu Bethesda near there, a quiet 'one horse town' where a self trained artist Helen Elizabeth Martins, a self trained artists and her assistants created the 'Owl House' statues.

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