The expectations and experiences of volunteers offering psychosocial support to vulnerable children.
This qualitative study is an exploratory investigation aimed at understanding the expectations and experiences of volunteers offering psychosocial support to vulnerable children. It serves as an evaluation of one aspect of the Structured Group Therapy Programme (SGTP) implemented within peri-urban and rural communities in KwaZulu-Natal. Volunteers from within these communities are involved in facilitating this community-based programme, and in order to ensure the long-term sustainability of this project, it is important to understand what (i) motivates an individual to volunteer in the programme, and (ii) what keeps them involved. Two groups of research participants were selected to participate in this study. The first group comprised of five volunteers who were more experienced in their work with vulnerable children than the second group of participants. The first group of participants had been involved in the Vulnerable Children's Programme (VCP) for a longer duration, across all the communities in which the programme operates, and were involved in training new facilitators. The second group of participants consisted of eight community facilitators, who were involved in implementing the programme within their local community alone, and were less experienced than the first group. The nature of this study required careful consideration of ethical principles before, during, and even after the study was complete. A focus group was run with each of the groups with the aim of exploring the volunteers' expectations before entering the programme and their experiences within the programme. The focus groups were transcribed and analysed within an interpretive, phenomenological framework.