Ruby Bishara

Social Work practitioner with Te Runanga O Ngai Te Rangi Iwi Trust - Tauranga, Bay of Plenty

Key Info

Ngāti Wai, Ngāti Hine, Ngāi Te Rangi

  • Bachelor of Social Work
  • Social Work

Like many Kiwis, Ruby Bishara’s dream was to own a home for her family. But, as a single mother raising two daughters while working part-time to supplement her Work and Income benefit, that dream seemed unattainable.

“I needed to get my affairs in order to realise my dream of buying a home,” says Ruby. “I was the only one that could change my circumstance.”

Ruby Bishara had heard good things about the University of Waikato and the credibility of its social work programme in Tauranga so she enrolled in the four-year degree.

Ruby admits going back to study as a mature student had its challenges. She had to get her head around academic writing and despite being excited to meet new people, she was anxious too. A standout memory was the first ‘icebreaker’ assignment where the class introduced themselves and shared details of their lives.

Ruby says along with the connections you make, the highlight of the programme is the placements where students get to put theory into practice.

Since graduating, Ruby has had roles with Oranga Tamariki Ministry for Children, Family Works Northern, and Nga Mataapuna Oranga PHO.  She is currently working with Te Runanga o Ngai Te Rangi Iwi Trust.

She offers a few words of wisdom to students considering a career in social work.

“I would 100% recommend this programme of study. It expands your mind, makes you see and hear things differently and shifts your thinking. I am really appreciative of what it’s taught me about myself. It’s not an easy path but it’s worth it. Just remember who you are, ask for help and love your whānau.”

“Going to university taught me so much but, most importantly, it taught me to aspire, to dream. As social workers, we can aspire to be anything. Now I aspire higher in everything I do.”

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