The Lived Experiences and Needs of Children In Child Headed Households In Resource Poor Communities In Soshanguve, South Africa
One of the effects of HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa is the alarming increase in the number of orphaned and destitute children. Relatives of these children and even their immediate communities are unable to cope with the upkeep of affected children, who are consequently forced to look after themselves. This has led to the emergence of a new type of family termed child headed household. Our study aimed at determining the lived experiences and needs of children in child headed households (CHHs) in the resource poor communities of Soshanguve Extension 12 and 13 in Pretoria, South Africa. The study followed a qualitative, explorative design with a descriptive component for demographic data; and was conducted in the resource poor communities of Soshanguve Extension 12 and13 in the Gauteng province of South Africa. The research question: “What are the lived experiences and needs of children of CHHs” guided the process to explore the lived experiences and the needs of children in CHHs in the resource poor communities. The participants for the study were purposively selected, and the criteria for inclusion in the study were children from 8-19 years of age and adult community members resident in the child headed households in Soshanguve Extension 12 and 13 as well as willingness to participate in the research. Data was collected using personal in-depth interviews and focus group interviews. From the data obtained, themes, categories and sub-categories were formed. The procedure for data analysis was adapted from the 8 steps Tesch’s protocol. The following themes emerged after data analysis, (1) lived experiences of children in CHHs, (2) needs of children in CHHs and (3) resource poor communities’ perceptions about CHHs. Based on our findings, government’s response in terms of care and support for children of child headed households is recommended considering the serious socioeconomic problems faced by these households.