THE REALITIES OF ORPHANED CHILDREN LIVING IN CHILD-HEADED HOUSEHOLDS
AbstractThe HIV and AIDS epidemic has drastically changed the world in which children live in (Gruskin & Tarantola in Foster, Levine & Williamson, 2005:135). As a leading cause of adult mortality, the epidemic has led to many children becoming orphans worldwide. This disrupts children’s social roles, rights and obligations because as children become orphaned, there is often a premature shouldering of the burdens of adulthood without the rights, privileges and strengths associated with adult status (Barnett & Whiteside, 2006:223). The burdens of adulthood include taking care of younger siblings, providing psychological support for one another, providing for the economic needs of the family and household management (Department of Social Development, 2008:141; Mkhize, 2006:74-82). Germann (2005:364) and Mkhize (2006:82) assert that these children experience difficulties in performing these adult roles because of their tender age.
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