• Mziwandile Sobantu Social Work, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.
  • Ajwang Warria Social Work, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.


Children who flee home face numerous challenges to their development and survival. A recent report by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) (2012) stated that 46% of refugees are children under the age of 18. Political instability (Ong’ayo, 2008), climatic changes (Afifi, Govil, Sakdapolrak & Warner, 2012), ethnic cleansing and civil wars (De Jong, 2002), post-election violence (Adeagbo & Iyi, 2011), and socio-economic challenges (Adepoju, 2002) in Africa have forced many of these young people to leave their communities and countries to search for a better life, safety and security in other countries. It is apparent that being resettled as a refugee in another country does not in itself ensure stability or achievement of a sense of belonging, or that those psycho-emotional wounds will automatically disappear (Gomez & Christensen, 2011; Kimi & Mwaruvie, 2012). Certainly, special protection ought to be accorded to refugee children, because their growth and development have been hampered. Traumatic ordeals leave them vulnerable and they have to face additional challenges not experienced by other children in their age group.


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