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The Impact of Education on the Lives of Young Persons with Disabilities after University Graduation in Cambodia

Author:

Sophak Kanika Nguon

Department of Social Work, Royal University of Phnom Penh, KH
About Sophak Kanika

SophakKanika Nguon is a lecturer at Royal University of Phnom Penh, Department of Social Work. She has graduated in Social Work from University of Washington and also has a Masters of Business Administration degree from Punnasasstra University of Cambodia.

She has extensive experience as an organizer and advocate for disability and gender issues. She is particularly interested in strategies and policies that address the needs and rights of men and women with disabilities and promote their access to higher education and employment. She lectures on diverse courses such as policy analysis, leadership, governance, grant writing etc.

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Abstract

Purpose: In 2009, the University Scheme Programme, managed by Cambodia Trust, was initiated with the objective of giving young persons with disabilities access to higher education in order to increase their employment prospects. Of the 40 young persons with disability who received scholarships through this programme, 15 have graduated from university. This study aimed to explore the possible impact of education on this target group, their families and immediate community (defined as people in the neighbourhood and village), and the broader community of potential employers.

Methods: Data was collected by conducting in-depth interviews with 14 participants (9 of them female) from the first cohort of graduates from the universities in Cambodia.

Results: The study found that education had a very positive, empowering impact on the lives of the graduates due to changes in their self-perceptions and perceptions of them by family members, neighbours, and colleagues. However, their educational accomplishments had less impact within the broader community, as some participants continued to experience discrimination when seeking employment.

Conclusion: Although education seemed to positively impact the young persons with disabilities in this sample, within the broader community there remained discrimination related to finding employment.

Limitations: The small non-representative sample size limits generalisation from this study.

How to Cite: Nguon, S.K., 2015. The Impact of Education on the Lives of Young Persons with Disabilities after University Graduation in Cambodia. Disability, CBR & Inclusive Development, 26(2), pp.120–127. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5463/dcid.v26i2.432
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Published on 22 Jul 2015.
Peer Reviewed

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