The experiences of children who are heads of households in Hammarsdale.
Dlungwana, Nomlindo Eunice.
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This dissertation is an exploration of the experiences and challenges faced by children who are heads of households, and are obliged to head families, which entails caring for their siblings, assuming adult roles and taking care of the general running of the households. A review of the literature revealed that research based on the experiences of children who are heads of households is a neglected field of study and there is limited information on the topic. This study aimed to explore, describe and interpret the experiences of children who are heads of households. The study attempted to highlight relevant issues that may provide guidance to different stakeholders in their efforts to deal with orphaned children, child-headed households and children who are affected by HIV and AIDS. Qualitative research processes were used in this study. Data collection took the form of face-to-face interviews, using an interview guide in making the interviews more flexible and at the same time covering all the aspects the researcher wanted to cover. Findings of the study revealed that orphaned children who are heading households experience various problems in addition to material needs. The study revealed that the main problem is poverty, lack of support structures, for example, support from family members, friends and the community at large and secondly, the unavailability and inaccessibility of service providers. The study also revealed that social discrimination experienced by orphans in child-headed households impacts negatively on their social functioning and education. Based on these findings, recommendations are made with regard to the roles of the Departments of Social Welfare, Health, Education and Home Affairs in ensuring satisfactory services to orphaned children who are heads of households.