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A conversation with social workers Kehinder Ekpudu and Neisau Ramcharan

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In our Fall Edition last year, we featured the Alberta Association for Black Social Workers (AABSW). One of the issues that was raised was around the take-home pay of their members. I am publishing the question and answer here in light of the provincial government press release that social workers will get a pay rise.

Tell me a little bit about you and your organization

Kehinde: My name is Kehinde Ekpudu, MSW. I am a registered social worker (RSW) and mental health professional with a background in business. I am from Nigeria. I am one of the co-founders of AABSW. AABSW is a non-profit org. It’s mandate is to support Black Social Workers and the Black community in Alberta. ( see website for mission, vision and values).

Neisau: My name is Neisau Ramcharan, BSW, MSW, and I am a registered clinical social worker (RCSW) in Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario and Northwest Territories. My family is originally from Guyana. I have been a social worker for over 10 years, working with populations including children and youth, adults, couples, workers, soldiers and veterans. My career encompasses social work in rehabilitation, primary care, education and private practice, where I have supported people experiencing anxiety, depression, relationship issues, identity issues, life transitions, stress, trauma, anger issues, parenting issues, workplace issues, long and short term disability, and grief and loss.

Neisau: The AABSW is about connection, belonging, support and development as professionals and members of Black community in Alberta. The 130 connections in our network encompass many languages and cultures, and specializations. The AABSW network is a rich professional community of clinicians, consultants, researchers, instructors, professors, advocates, community developers, facilitators, collaborators, equity diversity and inclusion specialists, therapists, community capacity builders, healthcare workers, and non-profit and public administration leaders. 

Why was it necessary to start the Black Social Workers Association?

Kehinde/ Neisau: An informal group was established in 2018 through grassroots community organizing efforts. After the death of George Floyd in 2020 and multiple previous violence, there was a need to come together and create space to unpack the complexities of the experience; especially when many of us were working and continue to work in places that are silent on social issues. In addition to this, we recognized the community’s need for culturally specific approaches to serving people of African descent in Alberta.


What are the issues your members are facing?

Systemic racism
Workplace discrimination
Barriers to career advancement
Employment issues
Lack of mentorship, cultural-specific professional development, burn out and barriers to working to  full scope of practice


You talked about social isolation in the audio chat – can you talk more about this?

Neisau: Social workers sometime work in isolation. They may be the lone social worker in their office. They may be the lone Black social worker or employee in the workplace. It can be particularly difficult to navigate workplace issues, professional advancement and systemic issues and establish a sense of community and belonging while working in settings that may have a very limited understanding of what social work is and our professional capacities while working to support the well-being of clients. 

Can you talk about the services you offer to the public?

Neisau / Kehinde: At the moment, our services are voluntary in nature. We receive requests from the community, which are shared with our network of Black Social Workers and individual professionals then reach out to those seeking assistance. We are in the process of becoming more accessible to the public. October 27th, 2022, is the official launch of the Alberta Association of Black Social Workers. In the future, the Alberta Association of Black Social Workers is working towards becoming more accessible to community members seeking social work services either privately, through employee benefits and/or through publicly funded services.

What conversations would you like the public to be having around social work?

Neisau: In practice, there is quite a bit of confusion about what Social Work is, what we do and our approach to understanding issues. Social Work is interdisciplinary in nature, utilizing psychology, sociology, health, political science, community development, law and economics to understand and approach issues in order to enhance the social functioning of individuals, groups, communities and populations.

Where can we learn more about your organization?


Neisau / Kehinde: Contact us at and check out our website: 

Those interested in volunteering, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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