The hidden resilience of street youth
Malindi, Macalane J.
Theron, Linda C.
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The phenomenon of resilience among street children as a group of at-risk youth goes unnoticed, since they are not typically regarded as resilient. Street children are mostly categorised as vulnerable youth who need care and support, and this deficit view ignores the assets and resources that enable them towards resilience. Nevertheless, street children are remarkably resilient. Using a qualitative approach (semi-structured and focus group interviews), we explore the hidden resilience of 20 street youths in the Free State and Gauteng. The findings transform the popular conceptualisation of street youth as vulnerable and, instead, paint a picture of young people who negotiate resilient trajectories, strengthened in part by personal resources (that are typically unconventional), bonds to their peer groups, and religiosity, to cope resiliency with the multiple challenges of streetism.