In 2007, I received my undergraduate degree in Social Work in Greece. During my studies, I had the opportunity to undertake a quantitative research project which explored employers’ attitudes towards people with learning difficulties in an urban area of Crete (Greece). On completion of my social work studies, I worked in residential care providing support to children and families affected by trauma, mental health illness and disability in Greece and later in Scotland.
While working with children and their families, I developed an academic and theoretical interest in childhood studies which influenced me to pursue an MSc in Childhood Studies at the University of Edinburgh. My dissertation research project explored young people’s perspectives on the use of CCTV in schools. I conducted a qualitative study in a youth centre in a rural area in Scotland using a variety of participatory activities (poster making, collage and mind mapping) to investigate their attitudes, responses, resistance and awareness of CCTV in schools.
Being particularly interested in exploring the Global South and young caregiving, I later embarked on a PhD investigating the emotional and everyday experiences of children with caregiving responsibilities in Malawi, Africa, at the University of Hull. My thesis is entitled 'Caring Children in Malawi: Children's work within families affected by disability and chronic illness'. I explored children's caring responsibilities in rural and urban areas in Malawi by employing a qualitative multi-method approach and using a combination of the following methods: ethnography (including participant observation, innovative visual methods, fieldnotes and diaries); semi-structured and unstructured interviews; and a focus group discussion.
As a professional, I have diverse experience of working with children, young people and families affected by young caregiving, disability, mental health illness, domestic abuse, substance misuse, etc. I endeavour to work creatively to support children and families to overcome and resolve challenges, promote empowerment and enable individuals to take action to improve their lives.