Shefali Juneja Lakhina

Research

PhD title: Resilient together: engaging the knowledge and capacities of refugees for a disaster resilient Illawarra

Shefali's research examined how refugee and humanitarian entrants in Australia learned about local hazards and find safety as they settle into new homes, cities and landscapes. This is important because people who have been displaced by disasters, conflict and persecution, are most of all, looking for safety. But, in what ways do ‘Refugee Welcome Zones’, such as the Illawarra region in New South Wales, consider the safety of refugee and humanitarian entrants? Or, is safety assumed once people have been resettled in Australia? And, in the near absence of such provisions and services, what do refugee and humanitarian entrants do on an everyday basis to feel safe and secure? Shefali's research shows that if global commitments towards ensuring the inclusion, safety and protection of refugees are to be achieved, it will be necessary to innovate with person-centred approaches that can facilitate the telling of past and everyday experiences from the perspective of refugees, and the displaced, themselves. To facilitate this kind of telling and centring of refugee perspectives, earlier this year, Shefali put together the ‘Co-learning disaster resilience toolkit: a person-centred approach to engaging with refugee narratives and practices of safety’ (2018). This research is also informed by my past experiences of contributing to a range of policies and programs for strengthening disaster resilience across South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, and South-East Europe since 2005.

Publications

Lakhina, S. J., et al. 2019. People from refugee backgrounds contribute to a disaster-resilient Illawarra. Case study. AJEM April 2019. Vol 34, No.2. pp. 19-20.

Drakopulos, L. and Lakhina, S.J. (2018). How ‘story maps’ redraw the world using people’s real-life experiences. The Conversation (US).

Lakhina S J (2018) Co-learning disaster resilience toolkit: a person-centred approach to engaging with refugee narratives and practices of safety. University of Wollongong, Australia.

Co-learning disaster resilience: a person-centred approach to engaging with refugee narratives and practices of safety. DRR Voices Blog, Preventionweb. 4 April 2018.

Lakhina, S J (2018) Book review. Reimagining Home in the 21st Century J. Lloyd and E. Vasta (eds), Geographical Research, 56: 116–117. 

Lakhina S J and Eriksen C (2017) ‘Resilient Together: Engaging the knowledge and capacities of refugees for a disaster resilient Illawarra’, in Migrants in Disaster Risk Reduction: Practices for Inclusion, 32 – 35, International Organisation for Migration, Geneva.

Research funding

Resilient Together: Engaging the knowledge and capacities of refugees for a disaster resilient Illawarra’ - with Dr Christine Eriksen.
$40,893.
New South Wales Department of Justice, Office of Emergency Management, Community Resilience Innovation Program (2015-2017).

Awards

Best Abstract, Higher Degree Research Conference 2016: Empowering Communities and Individuals. University of Wollongong, Australia