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Curtin research to assist people with disabilities in South-East Asia

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Curtin University has been awarded a grant to research how to improve social and work opportunities for people living with disabilities in Laos.

Curtin’s Centre for Research into Disability and Society has received $467,724 from the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) for the three-year research project in Laos – a country of around six million people.

Dr Angela Fielding, from Curtin’s School of Occupational Therapy and Social Work, said the project would identify barriers and facilitators to social and economic participation and development for people with disabilities in developed or developing countries.

“Living with disability is associated with lower education results, income, health and quality of life, and those with disabilities experience higher unemployment rates and social exclusion,” Dr Fielding said.

“Currently, there is limited research into this field so our project will identify opportunities to improve services for people with disabilities in order to enhance their participation in education, training and employment, as well as social and community activities.

“Our aim is to improve their quality of life for the long term.”

The research team consists of Curtin’s Dr Angela Fielding; Dr Sue Gillieatt (Senior Lecturer in Social Work, Faculty of Health Sciences); Dr Stian Thoresen (Research Associate, Faculty of Health Sciences) with Joanne Durham of the University of Queensland and Dr Vanphanom Sychareun of the University of Health Sciences in Laos.

The project will commence this year and finish in 2016.

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