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Social Work Alumna Mariam Raja on her work after the Grenfell Tower fire

Social Work in Disaster Situations 23 Jan 18

Mariam Raja, who graduated with an MA in Social Work from Brunel University London in 2012, has recently been featured in Professional Social Work, the official magazine of the British Association of Social Workers (BASW).

The feature related to the role she played whilst working as a social worker for Chelsea and Westminster Council following the Grenfell Tower fire. Mariam describes how she joined the Grenfell Recovery Team after the fire, and describes some of the key difficulties faced in supporting those who survived or lost relatives in the fire, as well as those who had witnessed the event and the aftermath.

Mariam also describes the community work that she was able to engage with in this role, an area that is often marginalised in contemporary social work practice. However, alongside this, she outlines the key challenges that she faced in this role, including dealing with the, often understandable, anger that many people had towards the council that she was working for.

Mariam has also visited Brunel University London to share her experience and expertise with current social work students, facilitating a seminar on Social Work in Disaster Situations. The event received overwhelmingly positive feedback from students, who noted this is not an area that is considered in social work education ordinarily, but is an area that social workers need to be prepared for. Based on the success of this seminar, it is hoped to build upon this for the next academic year, and develop ongoing training and education in this area at Brunel University London.

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