Coping strategies for orphans and vulnerable children in Kawempe division, Kampala district
Wagoba, Louis Julius
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Generally, OVC are sizeable and their number continues to increase due to HIV/AIDs and other uncertainties. It is established that they face a wide range of challenges. The aim of this study was to identify the coping strategies of orphans and vulnerable children with specific objectives of; to identify challenges faced by orphans and vulnerable children, to identify strategies adopted by orphans and vulnerable children to mitigate the challenges they face and to suggest measures that can be implemented to help orphans and vulnerable children cope with their challenges. A cross sectional survey design was used with both qualitative and quantitative approaches. A total of 85 OVC were recruited in this from Bwaise 1. The study with evidence from the findings showed that OVC face physical challenges of limited water and food, insecurity, poor accommodation, lack of drugs, poor transport, natural disaster of floods, limited access to electricity, sexual violence, and poverty, lack of jobs, child abuse and Lack of school fees. The OVC also face behaviour challenges of denial of food, community misconception and stigma, prematurely entry into adulthood, missing parents, wrangles with family, deprived from an opportunity, insults and verbal abuses, over working, punishment, social isolation, rejection to use home things and lastly, the OVC are faced with psychological challenges of lack of peace, HIV stigma/ internal depression, hopelessness, nepotism, school dropout, sadness, discrimination/isolation/social exclusion, lack of someone to play with, little attention, low self-esteem and loneliness. The study also found that OVC adopted a wide range of strategies such as engaging in farming, combine working and school, begging from people, reducing on the number of meals at home, sharing resources with all the children in the house, micro enterprising charcoal and alcohol, removing some children from school and seek for financial assistance from relatives to cope with physical challenges. The OVC became assertive, resilient /hardcore, made friends and sought assistance from NGOs to cope with behaviour challenges while participated in sports activities, made friends, believed in God and played music instruments to cope with psychological challenges. However, change in government, provision of cash transfers, provision of free education and scholarships, improving security and introduction of more non-government organizations are important strategies to improve the wellbeing of OVC.