Radhika is a 14-year-old Sri Lankan girl who fled her home in Jaffna on the north-east tip of the country when she was seven because of the separatist conflict involving the Tamil Tigers. For five years her family lived in the capital, Colombo, but when the fighting followed them there they decided to leave Sri Lanka.
Now Radhika is in England and her story has been chronicled by Mano Candappa of the Thomas Coram Research Unit at London University's Institute of Education.
The sometimes harrowing study of 35 refugee children, "Building a new life: the role of school in supporting refugees", shows how important schoo is for such children. It is available at: http:www.hull.ac.ukchildren5to16programmeconferencecandappa.pdf The report draws three conclusions for schools. The stable and orderly environment of a school is a big help for refugee children. Continuing support may be needed as past traumas haunt them. And learning English as soon as possible is vital.
Other papers from the Children 5-16 conference held by the Economic and Social Research Council last October are at: http:www.hull.ac.ukchildren5to16programmeconference.htm Readers can email suggestions on future Internet Insights at J.P.Saunders@leeds.ac.uk