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Spring 2017

On 8 February 2017, decisions were taken regarding the latest round of SASA Travel Grants for Lund University students. For the Spring semester 2017, SASA awarded travel grants to three Lund University students in order to undertake a field study in any of the eight South Asian countries.

The successful candidates were: 

  • Riya Raphael, PhD student at the Department of Gender Studies. Riya will travel to Delhi in India for her project which aims to investigate how neighbourhood traders in Delhi, called bartanwale, navigate and cope with the fast-changing globalising Indian economy, while continuing to practice their barter-based practices. 
  • Celia Ahlqvist Boltes, student from the Journalist programme. Celia will travel to Nepal to make a reportage that deals with post-distaster life for Nepalese trekking guides.
  • Therese Boje Mortensen, Masters student in European Master (E.MA) of Human Rights and Democratisation (taking courses at the Master of Human Rights Law at Lund University). Therese will travel to Rajasthan in India for her project which aims to investigate to what extent rights-based approaches to poverty reduction could faciliate the best interests of the child in a way that reduces instituationalisation of children in situations of poverty in India. 

The application round was open during January 2017 for students enrolled at Lund university at full time study programmes, preferably including a South Asia focus. The purpose of the travel grants is to give the students the opportunity to visit South Asian countries to carry out their field work and directly engage with local actors to achieve more objective and thorough results. The funding comes from SASNET, that also provides the students assistance with connections and resources needed to complete high quality field work.


Therese Boje Mortensen

Group interview with HIV outreach workers
Group interview with HIV outreach workers

Therese wrote some words about her trip:

"I spent two weeks in Jaipur, Rajasthan, India, to conduct interviews and participant observation of an institution for HIV-infected/affected children. The purpose of the field trip was to explore local practices and perceptions of institutionalisation, in order to compare them to international human rights law, specifically the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and its Article 20 that provides for special protection for children ‘deprived of a family environment’. During the trip, I interviewed children, their families, care home staff, authorities, experts and medical professionals specialised in HIV/AIDS counselling. The main findings were that there exists a significant gap between international (and national) law, which prioritises the ‘family environment’ and encourages de-institutionalisation, and the local practices. In reality, children were placed in institutions quickly by the district’s Child Welfare Committee, without considering family-based alternative care options. The local perceptions of institutional care was also in stark contrast to the international human rights norms, as most care home staff and parents considered institutions to be the ‘best care’. Families put their children in institutions due to the social stigma the children would otherwise experience being infected or affected by HIV/AIDS; due to the poverty in rural Rajasthan; and due to the genuine conception that children would get better education and care in an institution than at home". 

HIV-AIDS Care and Support Centre
HIV-AIDS Care and Support Centre
New care home being built
New care home being built