South African landscape

Social Work Student Serves Refugee Youth in South Africa

  • May 24, 2022

Committed to working toward systemic change in society, Dominique McGaha is making a difference in South Africa. The grad student, who is pursuing a Master of Science in social work at The University of Texas at Austin, provides counseling, support and education to refugees and asylum seekers in Wynburg, just outside of Cape Town.  

Dominique McGaha, UT Austin, Steve Hicks School of Social Work

McGaha works with the Adonis Musati Project, which steps in to "encourage, equip, empower” refugees and asylum seekers in the many gaps where the government provides no help.  

McGaha has conducted counseling sessions with the clients and assisted with the youth program. The counseling sessions have allowed her to support people in their most vulnerable moments, and her equally rewarding engagement with young people has helped her understand their perspectives and offer education and empowerment in return. She's found that the children are well aware of their situations and have much to say, but they lack adequate representation.  

This was McGaha’s second time overseas as a student. Her first was a semester studying abroad in Hong Kong, where she was part of a minority population. The experience helped influence her subsequent choice of location in Cape Town, as she wanted to experience a field placement where she would be among the majority population.  

As a Black woman, McGaha knows the importance of representation and wants to lead by example to empower other women and children of color to succeed. As a social worker, she intends to act as an agent of change.  

“We can’t just continue to put band-aids on problems and expect them to not continue to get bigger or not to need fixing,” she said.  

Read more on the Steve Hicks School of Social Work website.