The antecedents of resilience among street children
Malindi, Macalane Junel
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The chief focus of this study was on unearthing the antecedents of resilience in children on the street and street children in institutional care. This study was motivated by the desire to understand what made some street children function resiliently in spite of the individual, familial, environmental and wider community risk process that threaten resilience. I was alerted to the participants' resilience by the unexpected positive findings after they completed the Child and Youth Resilience Measure (CYRM). Twenty street children volunteered to take part in this study. Of the 20 participants who took part in this study, 14 were children on the street who still had contact with families and six resided at a shelter with no regular contact with their families. This was a mixed methods exploratory study in which I employed the Child and Youth resilience Measure (CYRM) to collect quantitative data from all the participants, and qualitative data via individual interviews and a focus group interview. I used the interviews to provide a deeper understanding of the antecedents of resilience identified in the CYRM. My findings from this study documented individual and environmental resilience processes that enabled the participants to function resiliently despite the harshness of streetism. Many of the resilience -promoting resources unearthed have not been linked to street children and previous studies on resilient street children have not noted all inter- and intrapersonal resources identified by the street children in my study. These resources included individual resources such as role models, assertiveness, regulating themselves socially, coping mechanisms, community - based resources such as access to education as well as cultural resources which include cultural groundedness and religion. These findings show that some street children are resilient and that they develop coping mechanisms reminiscent of hidden resilience that enable them to cope with streetism. The findings of this study have implications for practice especially asset-focused approaches to supporting street children.
- ETD@Vaal Triangle Campus