Students Staff

21 April 2010

Student provides survey help in Iraq

Colchester Campus

Francisco Perales (right) with computer scientist Ali Ibrahem Al-Attabi (left), and Iraqi academic Rafed Khashan

A PhD student from the Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER) has been helping in a major project aimed at tackling the issues of disadvantage and disability among children in post-war Iraq.

Francisco Perales spent eight days in Erbil, Iraq as part of a UNICEF-funded project run by the Council for Assisting Refugee Academics. The project’s aim is to help the authorities there establish the numbers of children in the country with physical, mental or other disabilities.

The postgraduate student was part of a team helping to train 70 Iraqi academics in how to design and carry out an effective survey that would give them an accurate picture of the levels of disability and disadvantage among children.

Francisco’s work was part of a wider UNICEF project to support the development of contemporary and inclusive policies, strategies, programming approaches and initiatives that will improve the quality of education for children with disabilities and ensure their inclusion at the primary education level.

Describing the experience, the student said: 'It really was a fascinating thing to do if a little daunting at first especially working in a completely different culture and training people who don’t necessarily speak English or my native Spanish. By the end though I felt really grateful to have been able to use the skills and expertise I have developed at ISER and put them to practical use to help with such an important and worthwhile project. I met some fantastic people and I also learned a great deal. I would certainly like to do it again if the opportunity arose.'

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